But this was a graduation celebration, not a wedding.
Here in China, college women are spurning caps and gowns and choosing to commemorate their graduations in white tulle, instead.
“Who doesn’t like wedding dresses?” said Liu Xiangping, who was among those posing for graduation shots that day, along with nearly two dozen fellow classmates clad in white. (Their four male classmates wore suits.)
It isn’t happening just at Xi’an Polytechnic University in central China, where Ms. Liu graduated this year with a degree in international economics and trade. Across China, graduation season looks a lot like wedding season, with young women flocking to stores to rent wedding gowns.
“The wedding dress makes things feel more meaningful,” said Ms. Liu. She and her classmates rented their gowns, which came with full skirts and beaded or pleated bodices, for about $7 a day. Hundreds of other graduates have done the same, taking photos they upload to share with friends online. Some students pose with tiaras or bejeweled diadems, while others choose veils or lacy trains.
Graduation ceremonies here don’t typically line up big-name speakers, and parents rarely attend. In the absence of ingrained customs, new, individualized rituals are being grafted onto drier, more perfunctory Chinese graduation festivities. Read more.