HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - In the buzzing financial hub known for its fast living, young Hong Kong couples can now grab love on the run at the city's McDonald's outlets, which are offering a burgeoning new sideline: "McWeddings."
On Valentine's Day at a downtown McDonald's close to the financial district, the fast food joint was decked out with pink balloons, a "cake" stacked from apple pies, as well as a pair of tiny souvenir crystal M rings, for a surprise engagement bash thrown by Kelvin, a young model, for his girlfriend, Ashley.
The party is the first formal wedding event since the service was launched in January.
McDonald's says the concept isn't tacky and fills a niche in Hong Kong, where its restaurants are popular dating venues and the prices for more typical weddings run high.
"They date here, they grew their love here, so when they have this important day they want to come over here," said Shirley Chang, the managing director of Hong Kong's McDonald's outlets.
The McDonald's "Warm and sweet wedding package," at HK$9999 ($1282) a pop, includes wedding gifts, pink invitation cards emblazoned with golden arches, decor featuring the likes of Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar, and classic golden arches fare worth up to $385.
Additional items will cost extra, including a "white balloon" gown rental ($165), balloon corsage ($11), balloon wedding cake ($88), and a large pink McDonalds backdrop ($321).
"You can see the world changing, especially the young generation," Chang told Reuters.
"They're looking for out-of the-box thinking and ideas."
With two wedding parties confirmed for this year and around 70 other couples in talks, the American fast food giant is hoping this sideline will take off at a time of economic uncertainty, particularly with traditional Chinese weddings and banquets often imposing a huge financial burden on young couples.
"I think it's the best value for money," laughed Chang. "Definitely."
(Reporting by Stefanie McIntyre and James Pomfret, editing by Elaine Lies)
Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.