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经济不景气 美新人流行在殡仪馆办婚礼

 

经济不景气 美新人流行在殡仪馆办婚礼

File photo of a wedding held in a funeral home. The lure? It is often less expensive; there is greater availability; and the settings — inside and outside — can be nothing short of wedding-picture perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

Paulita and Tony Flores took their wedding vows in December in an elegant rotunda with marble floors amid glimmering chandeliers and a bubbling fountain.

It didn't bother them that a room down the hall showcased caskets and urns. Or that the building was surrounded by a large cemetery with 100,000 gravestones on 60 acres. Or that on other days, the facility hosts something a lot more somber — funerals.

The Flores' wedding at the Community Life Center at Washington Park East Cemetery here illustrates a growing trend.

Across the USA, funeral homes are building and marketing such centers as not just a place to mourn the dead but as sites for events celebrating the living, including weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holiday parties and proms.

The lure? It is often less expensive; there is greater availability; and the settings — inside and outside — can be nothing short of wedding-picture perfect.

Flanner & Buchanan Funeral Centers opened the $10 million Community Life Center in 2001, but it had a slow start. As recently as 2009, it hosted just 10 weddings. Then Carla Fletcher took over as special events coordinator in March. The center now holds a dozen events each month and has nearly every Friday, Saturday and Sunday booked this year, including 99 weddings, as well as bookings that stretch into 2012, she says.

"The place wasn't being utilized because people hadtunnel vision," says Fletcher, who also often plays the part of wedding planner for the couples. "They thought since it was a funeral home, they (couldn't) sell it. But I don't see a funeral home; I see an events center."

The idea of getting married in a funeral home wasn't much of a hurdle to overcome, says Paulita Flores, 21.

"At first, when I pulled up and saw it was a funeral home, it did concern me," she admitted. "But when we walked in and saw everything, it was overwhelming. I fell in love and thought it was the perfect place. It was breathtaking, so it (the funeral home aspect) didn't cross my mind again."

In a 2010 association survey, almost 10% of the 627 funeral home owners who responded said they owned or offered a community or family center in addition to traditional funeral facilities.

(Read by Renee Haines. Renee Haines is a journalist at the China Daily Website.)

(Agencies)

去年12月,宝莉塔和托尼•弗洛雷斯在一家殡仪馆举办了婚礼。雅致的圆形大厅里铺着大理石地面,枝形吊灯上泛着微光,喷泉汩汩作响。

大厅另一端的房间里陈列着棺材和骨灰盒;殡仪馆所在的60英亩大型墓地里埋有10万座墓碑;在其余的日子里,这里会用于举办非常悲凉的葬礼。但这对新人对此毫不在意。

弗洛雷斯夫妇在华盛顿公园东区公墓的社区生活中心举办的这场婚礼代表了一种新的流行趋势。

在全美,殡仪馆正在建设并大力推广类似场所,不单能为逝者举办葬礼,还能为在世的人们举办婚宴、生日聚会、周年纪念、节日派对、和正式舞会等活动。

优势呢?比如费用低廉、容易预订、内外场景布置比婚礼场面的完美效果毫不逊色。

“弗兰纳和布坎南”殡葬中心在2001年投资1000万美元建设了社区活动中心,但最初它并不受欢迎。直到2009年,这里仅举办过10场婚礼。此后,卡拉•弗莱彻在3月出任特别活动协调员。她表示,目前该中心每个月都要举办12场活动,今年所有的周五到周日都被预订一空,包括99场婚礼。有些预订一直排到了2012年。

弗莱彻说:“过去这个场所没有得到利用,因为人们受到旧观念的束缚。大家认为既然这是殡仪馆,那么就不能干别的赚钱。但我不认为这是殡仪馆,我把它当作活动中心。”弗莱彻还常为新人担任婚礼策划师。

21岁的宝莉塔•弗洛雷斯说:“在殡仪馆举行婚礼没那么想不通。”

她坦承道:“最开始,当我停下车,看到这是殡仪馆时,心里确实挺犯嘀咕的。但我们走进来后,看到了所有的布置,太令人折服了。我爱上了这里,觉得这是举办婚礼的理想场所。非常激动人心,所以我就不再惦记这里是殡仪馆这回事了。”

殡葬协会2010年开展的调查显示,在参加调查的627家殡仪馆中,近10%除了传统的殡仪服务外,还提供社区中心或家庭中心的功能。

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