A Chinese couple have tied the knot with a procession inspired by the British royal wedding, donning ceremonial garb and riding in a horse-drawn carriage flanked by guards in scarlet uniforms.
The 23-year-old groom, Wang Xueqian, paid more than 50,000 yuan ($7,600) for the April 18 wedding parade involving 50 people, a dozen cars and two horses.
Leading the procession in eastern Nanjing city were four women in white dresses and floral head wreaths carrying a square banner in the colors of the Union Jack with the names of the bride and groom printed on it. The carriage with the regally waving couple followed, along with rows of guards with tall, furry hats and red coats, meant to look like the quintessential British Queen's Guard posted at Buckingham Palace.
"There's an exotic quality to a wedding like this. I asked my girlfriend for her opinion and she liked the idea of riding in a carriage, so we decided to do it," Wang said Wednesday.
The ceremony encountered a slight hitch when firecrackers _ a must for every Chinese celebration _ were set off too early, startling the horses, who rocked the carriage slightly before being calmed down by their handlers, Wang said.
For the event, Wang hired a wedding planner named Hu Lu, who said the "royal carriage" theme is becoming increasingly popular, with similar processions planned for three more couples next month.
"Every bride wants to be princess Snow White when they get married," Hu said.
With increasing affluence resulting from the breakneck economic growth of the past three decades, many urban Chinese couples are splashing out to get hitched in more inventive ways.
The real British royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton takes place Friday in London.