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 “Crazy Rich Asian in Mexico” - Capturing the Chinese Wedding Market


Destination Weddings | 12/14/2020

In the recent decade, there’s a significant increase of cashflow brought into the U.S. and many other countries by the Chinese market. Almost in every segment of the economy, we can see a boost in growth, of course, the wedding industry is one of the beneficiaries. If you’ve seen the movie, “Crazy Rich Asian”, you are probably thinking it’s just fiction. In reality, there are plenty of Chinese immigrants with such wealth and great network, that’s how they’re able to move to another country in the first place. I was once hired as the event planner by a private jet company, and the founder specifically hired a CEO who can speak fluent Mandarin and English, in order to connect with their wealthy Chinese clients. Having planned over 60 weddings for my Chinese American clients, and growing up in a Chinese culture, I have summarized the three main concerns Chinese clients have in regards to planning a wedding in Mexico: ROI, safety and hassle.

I would say 90% of the people who thought about having a destination wedding but ditched the thought was due to their concern for their return on investment (ROI). Is it worth spending this much money? Of course, “worth” is subjective. Currently from our market research within the Chinese American wedding market, if they decide to do a destination wedding that’s not too far from home, Hawaii would be one of their top choices. If distance wasn’t an issue, Maldives and Bora Bora were other top choices. However, had they known or experienced the amazing VIP service, breathtaking scenery, five star resorts, beautiful and delicious food in Mexico, and know that it’s way more cost effective comparing to Hawaii, it wouldn’t need much convincing for them to choose Mexico. It could actually cost about the same or even less for a beach wedding of 50 people in Los Angeles versus in, let’s say for example, in Puerto Vallarta, but you get way better customer service, you’re in a whole new atmosphere, amazing performances you probably won’t see in L.A…etc. In terms of ROI, a water bungalow in Riviera Maya with amazing views and services costs less than the ones in Maldives or Bora Bora, which is what most people are there for. It all comes down to how we package, brand and market Mexico to create the “worth” in our clients’ eyes.

Another concern in the typical Chinese market is the safety issue in Mexico. It’s definitely a stereotype, since Mexico is such a big country, of course there are areas that are unsafe, just as anywhere else in the world, but due to the media/movie portraying Mexico as full of mafias and crimes, that is the general stereotype of Mexico. Cancun is an exception, as they have done a great job branding themselves as one of the top destinations for traveling in the world. If I haven’t been there myself and experienced the gorgeous beach, jungle, lagoon and top notch all-inclusive resorts, I probably would not have considered having my own wedding in Mexico due to the safety concerns. Every time I tell my parents I’m going to Mexico to attend the LOVE Mexico, they always get worried and told me to be extra careful. I will say the airport exit could be improved so it doesn’t feel overwhelming and scary with people shouting at you in Chinese, English or Spanish trying to get your business. But that could be resolved with instruction and expectations provided to our guests ahead of time, so they know to ignore them and go straight outside to look for the designated transportation company, who already prepared a list with their names ready to pick them up.

If there’s one thing you need to know about the Chinese personality, is that they really don’t like to trouble others, especially their guests. They feel bad that they are putting their guests through too many loops to jump through to attend their wedding, and that their guests had to pay extra for their flights and accommodation. This is where our amazing travel agency friends can support by providing amazing deals on travel and accommodation expenses and professional concierge services to make the traveling a hassle free experience for the couple and their guests. Together we can show the clients they didn’t need to feel bad, in fact, their guests would thank them for giving them the opportunity to attend a beautiful destination wedding in Mexico. They will get to experience some amazing activities, food, performances and more. It would be a once in a lifetime opportunity for them!

Any marketing expert will tell you, it’s all about the buyer’s perception. For those of us who’ve been there and have taken clients there, we all know how amazing and beautiful Mexico is as a wedding destination. We know we have an amazing product and we all believe in it and love it wholehearted it. Now we just need to make sure we provide solutions to our potential Chinese clients’ concerns. It takes both the travel industry and the wedding industry working together to transform the perception of Mexico into a dream luxury wedding destination that they can brag about. That’s another Chinese culture tendency, they love to be able to brag about where their kids had their wedding, just like how they like to brag about where their kids went to college. You’ll know what I mean if you’re Chinese. Let’s create an image for Mexico that our Chinese clients can brag about. Wedding planners can create stunning style shoots at different wedding venues/locations in Mexico with Chinese/East Asian couples/models, creating familiarity for our clients in marketing images. We can work with wedding magazines/blogs that gear towards Chinese/East Asian clients and feature these style shoots or real weddings to create a trend. Let hosting weddings in Mexico be the next big thing in the Chinese community. After all, what’s there not to love about Mexico?

Written by: Sarah Wang | U.S. Wedding Planner, IADWP Advisor

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