With fewer and fewer young Argentinians getting married for real, groups of friends in their 20s and 30s are instead paying around $50 (£32) each to attend staged events.
“It all started two years ago with a group of friends: we realized we hadn’t been to a wedding in a long time because hardly anybody is getting married anymore,” says 26-year-old publicist Martín Acerbi. Together with four friends from the university town of La Plata, 32 miles (50km) south of the capital city of Buenos Aires, Acerbi decided to organize a fake wedding instead.
To their surprise the event was a roaring success, and the one-off wedding became a business: Acerbi and his friends founded the Falsa Boda company in November 2013 – and have had steady work ever since.
The company hires real wedding locations, caterers and DJs for the parties, Acerbi said. “These wedding professionals have become our strategic allies, we organize it like it’s the real thing, except the marriage itself is fake,” he said.
Hired actors play the bride, groom and a surprise third party: a spurned lover or secret boyfriend who arrives “unexpectedly” – and with dramatic results.
“Our guests get all the fun of a wedding party with none of the commitment, or the problem of finding someone who is actually getting married,” says Acerbi.
A typical “fake wedding” hosts about 600 or 700 paying guests, with soap-opera style drama and a party lasting until 6am the next morning – the normal timetable for a real wedding in hard-partying Argentina.
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