The story probably won’t make the broadsheets, but in the town of Jiangning 江宁 on the outskirts of Jiangsu’s capital, Nanjing, everybody’s talking about their very own royal wedding.
A Jiangning couple, it seems, decided to celebrate their marriage “in the style of the British royal family”, with an old horse-drawn coach tarted up with “European-style lanterns” and “all kinds of delicate, European-style ornaments” to make it look “extremely classical and elegant”. Those of you who’ve spent time in China are probably already ahead of me in picturing something that wouldn’t look out of place in Michael Jackson’s ranch: there was red velvet and gold spray-paint galore, with incongruous-looking attendants in bride’s dresses, and grooms dressed like Ruritanian soldiers complete with epaulettes and bearskins. Think My Big, Fat, Gypsy Wedding but with Chinese people. The couple were reported to have spent ¥50,000 on the event (around £5k), whose centrepiece was a large “happiness” character made up of ¥100 banknotes, and to have invited 700 friends and family.
It really shouldn’t have taken much forethought for the organizers to realize that gunpowder and equines don’t mix. When the entourage neared the venue that had been hired for the occasion, ¥10,000-worth of firecrackers (presumably “British royal family-style firecrackers”) were lit. Who was to guess that the horses would take fright at a noise that’s intended to put the fear of God into any demons who happen to be passing?
The resulting photos, splashed across the Yangtse Evening News, show the terrified horses being reined in just as it looked as if the carriage would overturn. The bride was reported to have regained her composure before the procession continued on its way.