The Naked Wedding

Naked Wedding (裸婚)

The Chinese neologism 裸婚 (literally, “naked wedding”) came up in an AllSet Learning client’s lesson, and I think it’s an interesting word with social implications, worth taking a look at.

The word has its own page on the Chinese wiki Hudong: 裸婚. The brief explanation is:

> “裸婚”指的是不买房、不买车、不办婚礼、不买婚戒,直接登记结婚的一种节俭的结婚方式。自古以来,婚姻一直都被人们看做是人生的头等大事,而婚礼的隆重与否直接体现了整个家族的地位。然而,近年来“裸婚”风渐渐盛行,成为“80后”最新潮的结婚方式。

And the English translation:

> “Naked wedding” refers to not buying a house, not buying a car, not having a wedding ceremony, not buying wedding rings, and just directly registering legally for marriage as a way to save money. Since ancient times, marriage has always been seen as a major event in a person’s life, the pomp of the ceremony directly reflecting a family’s social status. The gradual popularization of the “naked wedding,” however, has emerged as a new wedding trend for the post-80’s generation.

Industrialization and commercialization in a society are inevitably followed by a generation that rejects the new materialistic forms of social status, right? Here’s another sign that the forces for such a social change are building in China…


John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.


  1. Had a conversation with a ‘little friend’ of mine the other day, I was sort of complaining that the insane real estate market in Shanghai might put young couples in a quandry (not being able to buy a place, hence, delaying the wedding), which might lead young women to go after older guys (since guys in their 40s+ are more likely to be in executive positions), thus setting up this wacky image of China as a ‘gold digging’ scene.

    [..holy crap, that was one sentence]

    I was stunned when I heard her suggest that it might be okay to just rent a place first, and buy a place when you had the money.

    Expecting young couples fresh out of University to buy a place in Beijing, Shanghai, HK, even Shenzhen, is kind of crazy, especially when you consider the Hukou system, etc. It might be a sign of the Real Estate market really peaking when people finally say, enough with this ‘tradition’ (as in korea, no marriage without the 3 keys).

  2. I like the sound of “The Naked Wedding!”

  3. ChrisPug Says: June 27, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    This topic probably comes from the recently popular tv series 裸婚时代 (from the director of 蜗居)…Personally i think 非诚勿扰 gives a more realistic perspective on modern chinese dating, especially in SH

    Girls call the shots and exclusively want:

    MONEY/GOOD CAREER + MARRIAGE/KIDS QUICKLY + HUBBY FROM THE SAME HOMETOWN…otherwise the girls are willing to wait it out and become 剩女 -left over…

    • orangina Says: June 28, 2011 at 11:51 pm

      wow! 剩女, that’s an interesting word… My pop-up translator says “leftover woman (successful career woman who has remained single)”… because the only success that counts is getting yourself a husband? There are days that that is how it feels, even if you are pretty happy with your life.

      Thanks for teaching me a new word!

      • just fyi, if you are talking to someone from taiwan they will probably use the term 敗犬 instead. means the same thing as 剩女.

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