Women in Vietnam have reportedly been staging fake weddings through grooms-for-hire businesses in an effort to evade the social stigma of having a child out of wedlock.
Despite the hefty fee for such service, the single mothers are choosing to wed fake grooms to avoid criticism, Agence France-Presse reports.
Pregnancy before marriage is highly frowned upon in Vietnam particularly in the northern countryside where traditional social norms are still well-preserved.
The strong belief has reportedly resulted in over 300,000 abortions per year in the country, with Vietnam topping Asia and ranking fifth globally in abortion rates.
Figures reveal that the majority of those who were pushed by social pressure to terminate the pregnancy were young students while the rest were older but also unmarried women.
In recent years, grooms-for-hire firms have been providing an alternative for those who decide to keep their baby while hoping to not disgrace themselves and their family.
While its growing popularity has sparked some controversy, the service is not actually illegal as its wedding parties are not bound by law considering it doesn’t involve signings of any sort of official certificates. Fake weddings are generally seen as mere performances, but a costly one at that.
Nguyen Xuan Thien, a service provider in Hanoi who charges around $1,300 to $4,300 for a complete package, says he holds around 100 fake weddings and rents about 300 grooms per year, according to Vietnamnet
. Groom rental specialist VVinamost offers similar packages ranging between $1,500 and $4,500.
“Depending on the case we hire different actors. For example, a wealthy family will have higher demands. The groom’s father and mother must also have good education and jobs,” Thien was quoted as saying.
The VIP package of $4,300, which comes with a five-year plan with a script for the actors, includes a husband and extras who would play his relatives at the wedding party.
Hired grooms and the customers will have a rehearsal session for the scripts before the day of their fake wedding. Customers can opt to end the service after their weddings or continue hiring the husbands for special occasions later.
“Our warranty is ten years. But the daily price later will be high depending on the request,” Thien explained.
Responding to his critics, Thien says that the groom-rental industry exists simply because of the social pressure exerted upon young Vietnamese women.
“The existence of this service just shows how severe the prejudices are. If those women hadn’t had fake weddings, they would have had to abandon their children or move somewhere else far away,” Thien was quoted as saying.