Fake Wedding Guests Caught by Chinese Bride

Written By Erin Hamilton

We’ve heard all about fake news but fake wedding guests? C’mon, is nothing sacred anymore? As ridiculous as it sounds, this story is not unique, but there is a twist.

In 2005 the BBC reported on an agency called Best Guests Centre that had been set up in the city of Jodhpur for couples who wanted to boost their wedding numbers on their big day.

In 2015 NPR covered the rise of the fake wedding guest service industry in South Korea.

However, in both cases, the bride and groom were engaging fake wedding guest services to save face.

The latest reported example takes us to Shaanxi Province in Northern China and happened during the recent Chinese Labour Day holidays. The happy couple, Mr. Wang and Ms. Liu.

The pretend wedding guests were promised $12 and a slap up feed at the wedding reception.
The pretend wedding guests were promised $12 and a slap-up feed at the wedding reception.

Mr. Wang, for reasons only he knows,  decided to hire two hundred fake wedding guests to represent his family and friends for his big day. The pretend friends were mostly poor students and migrant workers being paid 80 yuan ($12) each and the promise of free food. The bride, Ms. Liu? She had absolutely no idea.

More unbelievable, perhaps, is that Mr. Wang and Ms. Liu had been a couple for three whole years before this fiasco unfolded.

Ms. Liu, 29, became suspicious as she mingled with guests at the wedding reception. In every case of chatting to her groom’s wedding invites, she was greeted with the line—we’re just friends. Ms. Liu raised the alarm when she discovered none of Mr. Wang’s family were present, and even his parents had failed to show up for their son’s biggest day.

So what happens when you invite fake guests to a wedding in China? You’re arrested, of course. An extreme reaction, maybe, but in hindsight, there may be a case to answer.

Mr. Wang guesses Ms. Liu's weight in gold. Roughly, $178,000 after deductions for fake wedding guests.
Mr. Wang guesses Ms. Liu’s weight in gold. Roughly, $178,000 after deductions for fake wedding guests.

Allegedly Mr. Wang borrowed up to 1.25 million Yuan ($181,000) from Ms. Liu’s family during their courtship. This figure includes 700,000 yuan ($101,000) as a dowry. So, in theory, Mr. Wang would have made a healthy profit after paying out only $2400 for his wedding guests, roughly $178,000. That works out to $59,000 for each year he was dating Ms. Liu. A tidy sum indeed.

To add insult to injury, it now appears that Mr. Wang also lied about his age. Reports suggest he is only 20 years old and below the legal marrying age for men in China.

In a kinder twist of fate, it would appear that Mr. Wang’s real parents have come forward and said they’ll compensate Ms. Liu’s family for the money taken.