For 24 young Japanese, the offer advertised in Tokyo by a Danish travel agency was one they couldn't refuse.
GV Bus arrives for Japanese tour
GV & CU Japanese tourists disembark from coach and look at Little Mermaid (9 SHOTS)
GV Japanese re-enter bus
GV Town hall
GV & CU Couples waiting to be married (5 SHOTS)
GV Wedding ceremony in progress (signing register)
SV Trumpeters sound fanfare as couples leave town hall
Initials BB/1230 DS/DW/BB/1251
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Background: For 24 young Japanese, the offer advertised in Tokyo by a Danish travel agency was one they couldn't refuse. The agency told them a wedding in Copenhagen, combined with a tour of the Danish capital and a holiday on the Mediterranean, would be more fun and cost no more than a traditional wedding at home.
In Japan, getting married is expensive. The newly-married couple or their parents give present away to family or friends -- often worth as much as GBP2,000 sterling (5,000 dollars approx.)
When the travel agency advertisement first appeared, 24 couples wanted to take advantage of the unusual offer. But under Danish law, men must be 20 and women 18 to marry. Exceptions could have been made if a special letter -- a 'Kongbrev' or 'King-letter' -- were obtained allowing marriage at a younger age. For half the group, there was not enough time to get the letter.
So 12 couples went to Copenhagen on Saturday (March 31), toured the city and were married Sunday (April 1) in Copenhagen's town hall by Lord Mayor Borge Schmidt.
The 'package wedding' idea has aroused considerable interest. The next group arriving in May will be 60 couples, also from Japan, with plans to top off their unusual weddings with a honeymoon in Paris.
SYNOPSIS: The famous spires of Copenhagen were the backdrop on the weekend for an unusual package tour.
The tour of the sites of the Danish capital on Saturday was a prelude for these twelve Japanese couples to their mass wedding in Copenhagen's town hall.
The combination of sightseeing and marriage halfway round the world came from a Danish travel agency. Advertisements in Japanese newspapers told couples that a wedding in Copenhagen would cost the same as the traditionally expensive, elaborate Japanese ceremony...and, the advertisements said, it would be more fun.
On Sunday, all the couples assembled at the town hall. Their wedding finery had been carefully carried from Japan.
The service was a civil one, conducted by the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Borge Schmidt. Originally, twenty-four couples applied for the first tour, but half were under the legal marriage age in Denmark.
In Japan, weddings can often cost as much as the equivalent luxury vacation. The newly aired couple or their parents could spend as much as two thousand pounds on gifts for friends and family in honour of the occasion.
For the unusual wedding feature of signing the register in Copenhagen, the young couples took the agency' offer instead.
For their honeymoons, the couples were to jet to Majorca, Spain for a week before returning to Japan.
The package wedding idea has caught on in Japan. Already sixty couples have signed for the next Copenhagen mass wedding in May, with a honeymoon thrown in Paris.