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 A bride-to-be is being touched up by her wedding photo studio's makeup artist.    Having wedding photos taken before the magic day actually happens, has become a ritual fashioned by Chinese couples today whose parents might not have had the money for a picture when they got married 30 years ago.   My hometown, Qingdao, on the east coast of China, is one city that happens to lead in the business of preserving happiness with photographs, because of the natural photo sets the coastline provides.     

A bride-to-be is being touched up by her wedding photo studio's makeup artist. 

Having wedding photos taken before the magic day actually happens, has become a ritual fashioned by Chinese couples today whose parents might not have had the money for a picture when they got married 30 years ago. My hometown, Qingdao, on the east coast of China, is one city that happens to lead in the business of preserving happiness with photographs, because of the natural photo sets the coastline provides. 

 

 A woman walks in Crocs under her long-tail gown provided by the photo studio. 

A woman walks in Crocs under her long-tail gown provided by the photo studio. 

 A couple from Qingdao poses in front of a horse on the beach, part of the wedding photo package. After their shoot wraps up, the horse remains on the set for the next couple.  

A couple from Qingdao poses in front of a horse on the beach, part of the wedding photo package. After their shoot wraps up, the horse remains on the set for the next couple.  

 Zhang Lin and her fiancé Xue Peng are from Tai'an, a city in western Shandong Province. It took them four hours to ride across the province on a bus to arrive in Qingdao in eastern Shandong. "My partner has been longing to see the sea. That's why we are here," Peng said. Their package costs over 3,000 yuan, about $500.   The couple was introduced to each other by a common friend a little more than a year ago. They are getting married on October 7th in lunar calendar, a date marked as "auspicious" for hosting weddings. In China, people often consult the lunar calendar for planning important events such as wedding and funerals. The calendar also indicates things such as which day is okay to install bridal bed, if one wants to be over-the-top careful. 

Zhang Lin and her fiancé Xue Peng are from Tai'an, a city in western Shandong Province. It took them four hours to ride across the province on a bus to arrive in Qingdao in eastern Shandong. "My partner has been longing to see the sea. That's why we are here," Peng said. Their package costs over 3,000 yuan, about $500. 

The couple was introduced to each other by a common friend a little more than a year ago. They are getting married on October 7th in lunar calendar, a date marked as "auspicious" for hosting weddings. In China, people often consult the lunar calendar for planning important events such as wedding and funerals. The calendar also indicates things such as which day is okay to install bridal bed, if one wants to be over-the-top careful. 

 Daughter, mother and aunt celebrate their birthdays by having their photos taken wearing wedding dresses.  The three women have birthdays respectively on August 10, 11 and 14 in the Chinese lunar calendar. The daughter is still single, and the family doesn't think that white gowns are just for weddings. Although white has been the color traditionally associated with death and mourning in Chinese culture, white gowns have become completely acceptable. Today they are worn on various occasions for celebration, even at college commencements. 

Daughter, mother and aunt celebrate their birthdays by having their photos taken wearing wedding dresses.

The three women have birthdays respectively on August 10, 11 and 14 in the Chinese lunar calendar. The daughter is still single, and the family doesn't think that white gowns are just for weddings. Although white has been the color traditionally associated with death and mourning in Chinese culture, white gowns have become completely acceptable. Today they are worn on various occasions for celebration, even at college commencements. 

  Ji Lulu, 28, and his girlfriend Jie Xinyuan, 27, were classmates in graduate school. "We didn't have feelings for each other in the beginning," Ji said. "Then we started studying together, preparing cheatsheets for exams together, that was when it clicked."    When asked what the photos would mean for them, Ji said, "We are getting married next year, so technically we are still 'lovers.' We are going to get our real wedding photos taken next year. This is more or less a practice, or a way to memorize our status as an unmarried couple."    

Ji Lulu, 28, and his girlfriend Jie Xinyuan, 27, were classmates in graduate school. "We didn't have feelings for each other in the beginning," Ji said. "Then we started studying together, preparing cheatsheets for exams together, that was when it clicked." 

When asked what the photos would mean for them, Ji said, "We are getting married next year, so technically we are still 'lovers.' We are going to get our real wedding photos taken next year. This is more or less a practice, or a way to memorize our status as an unmarried couple." 

 

 A few pairs relax on the beach in photo-ready costumes, waiting for the photographer to call their turn. They are all from Hebei Province and came to Qingdao on a pre-arranged "wedding-bus" full of other couples.    Because Qingdao is a hot destination for vacations, many photo studios from inland China have started offering combo packages that bundle the shoot with a travel plan that give the couples one or two extra days to tour the city. According to local newspaper, n early one third of couples having their photos taken on the coastline of Qingdao is from outside the city and sometimes even outside Shandong Province.                

A few pairs relax on the beach in photo-ready costumes, waiting for the photographer to call their turn. They are all from Hebei Province and came to Qingdao on a pre-arranged "wedding-bus" full of other couples. 

Because Qingdao is a hot destination for vacations, many photo studios from inland China have started offering combo packages that bundle the shoot with a travel plan that give the couples one or two extra days to tour the city. According to local newspaper, nearly one third of couples having their photos taken on the coastline of Qingdao is from outside the city and sometimes even outside Shandong Province. 

 

 

 

 

 

 A couple sits boredly on the beach, waiting to be called by their photographer. 

A couple sits boredly on the beach, waiting to be called by their photographer. 

 A man holds his fianceé up at the direction of their photographer. 

A man holds his fianceé up at the direction of their photographer. 

 Ben and Sharon met at Beijing University, where Ben went for a quarter to study Mandarin. He is originally from California. The couple had their wedding photos taken five years ago in Qingdao, and this year they returned to the coast, ready to do it all over again for their anniversary. 

Ben and Sharon met at Beijing University, where Ben went for a quarter to study Mandarin. He is originally from California. The couple had their wedding photos taken five years ago in Qingdao, and this year they returned to the coast, ready to do it all over again for their anniversary. 

 Couples watch their photographer working with another pair to learn how to pose for the camera later. 

Couples watch their photographer working with another pair to learn how to pose for the camera later. 

 Liu Wei is one of the photographers behind the lens.  He's been in the business for six years  and is on the beach almost everyday during peak season from May to October. The photo studio he works at offers different packages that cost from 3,800 yuan ($620) to 12,880 yuan ($2080).   

Liu Wei is one of the photographers behind the lens. He's been in the business for six years and is on the beach almost everyday during peak season from May to October. The photo studio he works at offers different packages that cost from 3,800 yuan ($620) to 12,880 yuan ($2080).   

A bride-to-be is being touched up by her wedding photo studio's makeup artist. 

Having wedding photos taken before the magic day actually happens, has become a ritual fashioned by Chinese couples today whose parents might not have had the money for a picture when they got married 30 years ago. My hometown, Qingdao, on the east coast of China, is one city that happens to lead in the business of preserving happiness with photographs, because of the natural photo sets the coastline provides. 

 

A woman walks in Crocs under her long-tail gown provided by the photo studio. 

A couple from Qingdao poses in front of a horse on the beach, part of the wedding photo package. After their shoot wraps up, the horse remains on the set for the next couple.  

Zhang Lin and her fiancé Xue Peng are from Tai'an, a city in western Shandong Province. It took them four hours to ride across the province on a bus to arrive in Qingdao in eastern Shandong. "My partner has been longing to see the sea. That's why we are here," Peng said. Their package costs over 3,000 yuan, about $500. 

The couple was introduced to each other by a common friend a little more than a year ago. They are getting married on October 7th in lunar calendar, a date marked as "auspicious" for hosting weddings. In China, people often consult the lunar calendar for planning important events such as wedding and funerals. The calendar also indicates things such as which day is okay to install bridal bed, if one wants to be over-the-top careful. 

Daughter, mother and aunt celebrate their birthdays by having their photos taken wearing wedding dresses.

The three women have birthdays respectively on August 10, 11 and 14 in the Chinese lunar calendar. The daughter is still single, and the family doesn't think that white gowns are just for weddings. Although white has been the color traditionally associated with death and mourning in Chinese culture, white gowns have become completely acceptable. Today they are worn on various occasions for celebration, even at college commencements. 

Ji Lulu, 28, and his girlfriend Jie Xinyuan, 27, were classmates in graduate school. "We didn't have feelings for each other in the beginning," Ji said. "Then we started studying together, preparing cheatsheets for exams together, that was when it clicked." 

When asked what the photos would mean for them, Ji said, "We are getting married next year, so technically we are still 'lovers.' We are going to get our real wedding photos taken next year. This is more or less a practice, or a way to memorize our status as an unmarried couple." 

 

A few pairs relax on the beach in photo-ready costumes, waiting for the photographer to call their turn. They are all from Hebei Province and came to Qingdao on a pre-arranged "wedding-bus" full of other couples. 

Because Qingdao is a hot destination for vacations, many photo studios from inland China have started offering combo packages that bundle the shoot with a travel plan that give the couples one or two extra days to tour the city. According to local newspaper, nearly one third of couples having their photos taken on the coastline of Qingdao is from outside the city and sometimes even outside Shandong Province. 

 

 

 

 

 

A couple sits boredly on the beach, waiting to be called by their photographer. 

A man holds his fianceé up at the direction of their photographer. 

Ben and Sharon met at Beijing University, where Ben went for a quarter to study Mandarin. He is originally from California. The couple had their wedding photos taken five years ago in Qingdao, and this year they returned to the coast, ready to do it all over again for their anniversary. 

Couples watch their photographer working with another pair to learn how to pose for the camera later. 

Liu Wei is one of the photographers behind the lens. He's been in the business for six years and is on the beach almost everyday during peak season from May to October. The photo studio he works at offers different packages that cost from 3,800 yuan ($620) to 12,880 yuan ($2080).   

 A bride-to-be is being touched up by her wedding photo studio's makeup artist.    Having wedding photos taken before the magic day actually happens, has become a ritual fashioned by Chinese couples today whose parents might not have had the money for a picture when they got married 30 years ago.   My hometown, Qingdao, on the east coast of China, is one city that happens to lead in the business of preserving happiness with photographs, because of the natural photo sets the coastline provides.     
 A woman walks in Crocs under her long-tail gown provided by the photo studio. 
 A couple from Qingdao poses in front of a horse on the beach, part of the wedding photo package. After their shoot wraps up, the horse remains on the set for the next couple.  
 Zhang Lin and her fiancé Xue Peng are from Tai'an, a city in western Shandong Province. It took them four hours to ride across the province on a bus to arrive in Qingdao in eastern Shandong. "My partner has been longing to see the sea. That's why we are here," Peng said. Their package costs over 3,000 yuan, about $500.   The couple was introduced to each other by a common friend a little more than a year ago. They are getting married on October 7th in lunar calendar, a date marked as "auspicious" for hosting weddings. In China, people often consult the lunar calendar for planning important events such as wedding and funerals. The calendar also indicates things such as which day is okay to install bridal bed, if one wants to be over-the-top careful. 
 Daughter, mother and aunt celebrate their birthdays by having their photos taken wearing wedding dresses.  The three women have birthdays respectively on August 10, 11 and 14 in the Chinese lunar calendar. The daughter is still single, and the family doesn't think that white gowns are just for weddings. Although white has been the color traditionally associated with death and mourning in Chinese culture, white gowns have become completely acceptable. Today they are worn on various occasions for celebration, even at college commencements. 
  Ji Lulu, 28, and his girlfriend Jie Xinyuan, 27, were classmates in graduate school. "We didn't have feelings for each other in the beginning," Ji said. "Then we started studying together, preparing cheatsheets for exams together, that was when it clicked."    When asked what the photos would mean for them, Ji said, "We are getting married next year, so technically we are still 'lovers.' We are going to get our real wedding photos taken next year. This is more or less a practice, or a way to memorize our status as an unmarried couple."    
 A few pairs relax on the beach in photo-ready costumes, waiting for the photographer to call their turn. They are all from Hebei Province and came to Qingdao on a pre-arranged "wedding-bus" full of other couples.    Because Qingdao is a hot destination for vacations, many photo studios from inland China have started offering combo packages that bundle the shoot with a travel plan that give the couples one or two extra days to tour the city. According to local newspaper, n early one third of couples having their photos taken on the coastline of Qingdao is from outside the city and sometimes even outside Shandong Province.                
 A couple sits boredly on the beach, waiting to be called by their photographer. 
 A man holds his fianceé up at the direction of their photographer. 
 Ben and Sharon met at Beijing University, where Ben went for a quarter to study Mandarin. He is originally from California. The couple had their wedding photos taken five years ago in Qingdao, and this year they returned to the coast, ready to do it all over again for their anniversary. 
 Couples watch their photographer working with another pair to learn how to pose for the camera later. 
 Liu Wei is one of the photographers behind the lens.  He's been in the business for six years  and is on the beach almost everyday during peak season from May to October. The photo studio he works at offers different packages that cost from 3,800 yuan ($620) to 12,880 yuan ($2080).