No Groom? No Problem! Newest Trend In Japan – ‘Solo Weddings’
If you missed the boat on getting the perfect gift for the Cat Lady in your life, well, look no further than this.
Proving the power of marketing and how to repackage something for a niche market, one Japanese travel agency, Cerca Travel is offering all the single ladies…all the single ladies, a bridal portrait session (groom optional) “to have some pictures of yourself in a wedding gown or in a gorgeous bridal kimono now, when you are young and beautiful.” With prices starting at £1,706 ($2,645), the bride will get the ~KYOTO SOLO WEDDING~Japanese Luxurious Wedding Kimono or Dress + Location Photo Shoot Experience Tour package which includes 2 days and 1 night in a hotel.
Upon arrival, the bride will be whisked away to a dress shop to be fitted with her dream wedding gown or kimono and a florist will create a matching bouquet. The next day, the bride will meet with a stylist for accessories, hair and makeup, proceeded by a photo shoot with a professional photographer. After the shoot, the bride is invited to preview her images and have a cup of tea with the photographer and stylist. Within a few weeks, she will get her photos via USB and a mini album, and the memories, of course.
Optional add-ons include, a Japanese man to pose as an ‘image partner,’ dinner with the tour guide (if you can’t stand to dine alone), or a spa treatment.
The founder of Cerca Travel came up with the idea of ‘Solo Weddings’ to help women feel better about themselves. 39-year-old Tomoe Sawano, Cerca’s first client to book this package, describes her solo wedding experience as a “holiday”and said, “I was really entertained and reinvigorated by this package. It boosted my self-esteem. I had always looked tired, but with the help of the staff I managed to capture the beautiful shape I have while I’m still in my 30s.”
As of this year, the company has sold about 30 of these packages and not all of them to lonely, single, Pinterest happy women. About half of the clients are already married and because they either had no wedding ceremony or were unhappy with their photos, booked a session.
Says Sawano, “Being single at this age, I was frustrated by pressure (to get married), but after this experience I left my worries behind me. I hope to find a partner but now believe that even if I can’t, I can enjoy life. If women take the initiative to enjoy themselves, I think new forms of wedding-related services can be generated.”
Love the idea or hate it, the ‘Solo Wedding’ experience is basically a repackaged ‘Glamour’ portrait session appealing to the women who have dreamed of being a bride since they were little girls, and are probably nearing an age when it is socially unacceptable to be single and not a divorcee. This woman gets pampered and treated like a princess for a day or two, her self esteem gets lifted and she gets lovely photos of herself.
Cerca Travel has teamed up with industry vendors to create an experience for a niche market, that is remarkable and different. From an industry standpoint, it’s a win – you have a whole new niche market and you get to collaborate with your friends. From the client’s standpoint, if it empowers the woman and no one has put a ring on it yet, well, then why the heck not.
Personally, I wouldn’t do it, but I would be happy to photograph it.