• KYODO, Staff report


Nearly 60% of newlyweds did not hold wedding ceremonies amid the coronavirus pandemic, and for those who did, the event was considerably scaled down, two recent surveys have showed.

The surveys provide a glimpse into the degree to which COVID-19 has affected how couples celebrate their marriages.

A Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Co. survey released on Nov. 15 showed that 58.8% of newlyweds who tied the knot since the start of October 2019 did not have a wedding ceremony while 68.8% said they did not go on a honeymoon.

The survey was conducted online from Oct. 12 to 15 ahead of Good Couples’ Day, which falls on Nov. 22. Some 1,620 people from their 20s to 70s responded.

“The coronavirus pandemic has brought about a major change in the lifestyle and demands of newlyweds,” said Yuichi Kodama, chief economist at Meiji Yasuda Research Institute.

Kodama pointed out that because couples were not able to hold wedding ceremonies, they were able to spend more on other things, such as wedding rings and furniture for their new home, which could lead to a shift in demand.

“There is a possibility that couples may continue to choose not to hold weddings in the future,” he said.

With fewer couples in a celebratory mood, the money spent on wedding ceremonies that did take place also decreased during the pandemic.

According to another survey conducted by Recruit Co., publisher of bridal magazine Zexy, the average cost of weddings and receptions held between April 2020 and March was ¥2.92 million per couple, down ¥700,000 from the previous year.

The figure was the lowest since the survey was first conducted in 2005, with many couples scaling down their ceremonies and spending less than they had originally planned.

More than 70% of the couples who held weddings and wedding receptions also reduced the number of guests they invited, largely due to a government-imposed cap on the number of people allowed to attend events, the survey released on Nov. 4 showed.

The average number of invited guests was a record low at 42.8, a decrease of 23.5 people from the previous year.

To prevent a large number of people crowding into a single room, some couples had some of the guests join the festivities online or held two receptions.

And even though some of the newlyweds didn’t hold a wedding at all, nearly 40% said that they intend to hold one in the future. An additional survey conducted in the areas of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka showed that since April more couples have been holding weddings, and inviting more guests and spending more.

“The percentage of couples who want to hold weddings has not changed significantly compared to before the pandemic,” said Ayumu Ochiai, director of Recruit Bridal Research Institute, adding that he expects the bridal market to recover once the pandemic is over.

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