Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) councilors yesterday blasted the Taipei City Government for changing the location of a group wedding ceremony just days before the event, forcing participants to make last-minute changes to their plans.
The group wedding, organized by the city's Department of Civil Affairs, is scheduled for Saturday. The department had planned to hold the ceremony in an outdoor area of the Taipei Guest House, but informed the 58 couples on Friday that the location had been changed to Taipei City Hall because of possible rain.
DPP Taipei City Councilor Liu Yao-ren (劉耀仁) lashed out at the department yesterday for failing to inform participants of the change earlier and accused it of lying about the reason for the change of location.
“The department changed the location because Taipei Guest House rejected its request to use the location for group weddings. The weather has nothing to do with it,” he told a press conference yesterday at Taipei City Council.
The city government did the same thing last year when it informed the participants about the change of location one day before the ceremony because of a typhoon, Liu said.
DPP Taipei City councilors Chuang Ruei-hsiung (莊瑞雄) and Huang Hsiang-chun (黃向群) said the department had greatly inconvenienced the couples and demanded it offer compensation.
“One lady is now in the hospital because she was so angry with the department's negligence. She had to have all the wedding invitations reprinted and was busy calling family and friends about the new location, Huang said.
Deputy commissioner of the department Chen Chen Chi-yung (陳其墉) said the department applied with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last month to use the location as the site for the ceremony but did not receive any response from the ministry until Tuesday.
To finalize the location and ensure the ceremony is held smoothly without being affected by the weather, the department decided on Friday to hold the ceremony at the city hall instead, he said.
“We had told the participants that the ceremony could be held at city hall if the weather was bad that day,” he said. “We decided to change the location mainly because of the weather.”
Chen apologized for causing any inconvenience and promised to scrutinize the department's handling of the activities.
The city government began to hold group wedding ceremonies under former Taipei mayor Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁). The ceremony is free for participants.
The department will hold another mass wedding ceremony in October.