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Collective Wedding in Old Shanghai

Thanks to propaganda of mass media as well as participation of businesses, nowadays, Rose Wedding Festival has been known to all and welcomed by young people in Shanghai. This form of wedding is considered as a reform and innovation to the traditional wedding ceremony. But actually over 60 years ago, group wedding, also called collective wedding by the mass media of that time was held in Shanghai.

In the early 1930s, Kuomindang government advocated starting “China's New Life Movement “; the government took “collective wedding” as one of activities during the “China's New Life Movement “. Shanghai Bureau of Society popularized and organized “collective wedding” by means of administrative ways. This proposal attracted a lot of young people who were going to marry. The first collective wedding was held on the afternoon of April 3, 1935, in the assembly hall of the Shanghai Municipal Government, totally 57 new couples participated. The mayor Mr. Wu Tiecheng, the chief of Shanghai Bureau of Society Mr. Wu Xingya attended as the witness at a wedding ceremony.
This wedding festival also attracted more than 700 residents as honored guests. Witness and staffs were all worn blue long gowns and black mandarin jackets, and the couples not only worn the prescribed outfit but also adorned a red ribbon with golden characters “bride” or “groom” on the chest. There was also a badge on the ribbon which was inscribed the characters of “New life collective wedding” and the number. Moreover, all brides were asked to wear pink satin qipao (a kind of typical, traditional costumes for Chinese women), white wedding veils and gloves, holding bunches of beautiful flowers.

This collective wedding lasted more than one hour, Shen Newspaper reported the whole ceremony in detail and the process was also shot by some famous American move companies such as Paramount, Metro Goldwyn Mayer; and the films were shown in all cinemas in the city , even shown abroad. From then on this new-style wedding became in vogue. Five collective wedding ceremonies were held in that year, involving 399 couples.