Ice Wedding
   2012-01-06 16:20:03    Reuters      Web Editor: Zhangjin

Couples march on a red carpet in front of snow sculptures as a mass ice wedding was held on Friday, January 6, 2012, in Harbin, capital of northeastern China's Heilongjiang province. The event made up part of the celebrations during the 28th Ice and Snow Festival. [Photo: Xinhua]

Eighteen couples tied the knot in a mass ice wedding on Friday in northeastern China's Harbin city, as part of the celebrations during the 28th Ice and Snow Festival.

At minus 13 degrees Celsius, the couples piled down coats and fur jackets on top of their suits and gowns to parade down a red carpet to the traditional wedding march song.

After a brief exchange of vows, the smiling men and women hugged each other on stage as confetti in a rainbow of colours showered upon them.

Instead of heels, many brides opted for thick winter boots which remained hidden most of the time under their snowy white gowns.

A Nigerian expatriate couple, Oluwatoyin and Olanike Popoola, said they had never dreamed of getting married on snow when they were young.

"Well, in Nigeria, Africa, there is no snow. And so the environment is so interesting for us, so relaxing. Although its cold outside, warm inside, our hearts are warm. We are happy to have this experience," bride Olanike Popoola said.

Under the watchful eye of a giant snow goddess sculpture, Chinese groom Li Feng slipped a wedding ring on his bride Bai Yun's finger.

They said the group wedding exceeded their expectations.

"Although there are so many people in the group wedding, it's better than we expected. We haven't come in vain. Although the weather is very cold, inside we feel very warm and very excited," said Li.

Treading on a floor of artificial snow, couples posed for photos which would become mementos of a wedding that may not have been individual, but was certainly unique.

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