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The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai

IIn Shanghai, the cost of a wedding usually reaches 30,000 to 400,000 yuan, and the price of five-star hotel dishes exceeds 10,000 yuan of each table.

The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai
The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai

But on the evening of May 2, on Jufengyuan Road in Shanghai, more than 3,000 people participated in a special wedding, and everyone happily “dine at the banquet”. In the end, the bride and groom spent 0 yuan.

Not only that, more than 300 people made plans for the wedding during the Covid-19 pandemic. A core team of 16 people was responsible for the execution, including make-up artists, photographers, emcees, directors, editors, and venue decorators. It has all the procedures a wedding should have. After the wedding, drones hovered over the community, and residents sang “Tomorrow will be better” and shouted, “Shanghai, come on.”

This wedding is a gift dedicated to the volunteer couple by more than 3,000 residents in the whole community. The bride Qi Liangliang, who has only been in Shanghai for six months, said that her hands were shaking with excitement, and she and the groom couldn’t sleep all night: “I feel so much warmth in Shanghai, a city that was originally unfamiliar to me.”

The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai
The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai

A message for help prompts residents across the community to help

“Which family has double happiness or festive accessories? We will hold a wedding with our parents in our hometown on May 2. We want to arrange a little arrangement in the rented house. Please help me to ask.”

On the evening of April 29, Qi Liangliang sent a brief WeChat message to the volunteer mutual aid group in Xuelinyuan Community, Jufengyuan Road, Shanghai. She did not expect that after dozens of minutes, this news was like a fuse, which ignited the atmosphere of the entire community.

28-year-old Ji Pengcheng and Qi Liangliang are tenants in the Xuelinyuan Community. They are both from Yancheng, Jiangsu. Ji Pengcheng is studying for a doctorate at the Baoshan campus of Shanghai University next door to the community. Qi Liangliang resigned from a stable job in a state-owned enterprise in her home country in the second half of last year in order to follow Ji Pengcheng, and became an employee of a car company headquartered in Hongqiao Business District.

Qi Liangliang came to Shanghai less than half a year ago, and when she was not fully familiar with the city, the sudden outbreak of the Omicron pandemic disrupted all their plans.

Since March 4th, Xuelinyuan Community has been closed for 10 days. On April 1st, with the overall closure and control of Puxi, all residents have entered a state of staying at home. Qi Liangliang and Ji Pengcheng became volunteers in the community, but they couldn’t keep one thing in their minds-the wedding was originally scheduled to be held at the hotel in their hometown on May 2.

With the continuous extension of the lockdown, by the end of April, it is no longer possible to go back to the hometown to hold the wedding.

“May 2 is an auspicious day. The family hopes that we will not change the time.” Qi Liangliang said that the family finally jointly decided to hold the wedding by video.

The rented house lacked festive decorations, so Qi Liangliang sent the WeChat help message to the volunteer group when the wedding was approaching.

For the first minute, no one responded. After a while, a volunteer replied, “Although I don’t have any decorations, I would like to give my best wishes.” At this time, Qi Liangliang didn’t hold out much hope.

Soon, however, dozens of volunteers forwarded Qi Liangliang’s WeChat message to various buildings in the community. Residents in the entire community began to rummage through boxes and cabinets to see if there were any suitable accessories at home.

Some people took off the big red double happiness that was attached to the refrigerator when they got married, some people found a heart-shaped candle, some people took out their treasured champagne, and some people said that they would cut out the flowers they planted in the yard and tie them into a bouquet for the bride…

A resident immediately opened a new WeChat group and issued a call: “Those who want to help the bride and groom, scan the code to enter this group, and let’s find a way together!”

In just a few tens of minutes, more than 300 people poured into the group, and everyone posted the happy items they found: a pair of bear dolls, buckets for children and grandchildren, red wine glasses, and their wedding dresses.

At this time, someone else suggested that why not hold an online “cloud wedding” that all residents of the community participated in as a gift to the volunteer couple?

The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai
The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai

More than 300 residents spontaneously plan “cloud wedding”

Sasha, who lives in Xuelinyuan Community, is an HR of a company. Her usual job is to be in charge of personnel recruitment. On the evening of April 29, when she saw in the group that everyone was going to hold a “cloud wedding” for the newlyweds, she took the initiative to undertake the recruitment work.

“To recruit makeup artists, post-editors, and drone aerial photographers, the requirements areā€¦” Sasha sent out one after another recruitment notices in the group. What is surprising is that there are indeed “hidden dragons and crouching tigers” in the community, and soon there are professionals applying for each position, each performing their duties.

At 0:36 on April 30, just three or four hours after the bride Qi Liangliang sent her WeChat for help, Wang Siyu, a resident of the community, wrote the first version of the “Cloud Wedding” plan: the online emcee introduces the bride and groom and the parents of both parties, broadcast online video of wedding photos, add photos of two people’s growth, bride and groom serve tea to their parents online, collect video of cloud blessing from neighbors, relatives, and friends, use Tencent meeting to be responsible for the process, and have a live broadcast on Douyin platform.

Qi Liangliang and Ji Pengcheng like “Da Hua Xi You”. Last year, they made a special trip to the Northwest to take a set of wedding photos in the desert. When the wedding planning team in the community learned about the situation, they specially arranged for a poster designer to create an online invitation in the style of “Da Hua Xi You”, and it is designed to play “Da Hua Xi You” music at the wedding.

“When I saw the news that the wedding planning group was quickly swiping the screen, I was indescribably excited that night. My mother asked me to write down the things everyone gave me, and when the pandemic is over, I should return them one by one. I took a pen. My hands are shaking.” Qi Liangliang said that the residents of the community kept planning until one or two in the morning that night, and she and the groom hardly slept all night.

The couple met and fell in love in 2013. After 9 years of love running, Qi Liangliang gave up a stable job. Ji Pengcheng is also willing to help Qi Liangliang with everything and take care of her. Getting married is a big event for them. Originally, they wanted to hold a grand wedding in a five-star hotel in their hometown, Yancheng, Jiangsu. They planned to spend more than 300,000 yuan. The style is the ancient style that Qi Liangliang likes.

Because the wedding was not possible due to the pandemic, they felt a little regret and loss in their hearts, but the “cloud wedding” sent by the residents of the community together dissipated all the regrets.

The love between Qi Liangliang and Ji Pengcheng also touched all the neighbors. Everyone chose the wedding time at 5:20 pm on May 2, which means to bless the love of the newlyweds together.

The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai
The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai

“Cloud Buffet Dinner” has more than 200 dishes

May 2 is the day when the planned wedding will take place. Will this “cloud wedding” organized by residents spontaneously online achieve the desired effect?

With the approval of the neighborhood committee, Qi Liangliang and Ji Pengcheng can use the volunteer work area on the second floor of the community clubhouse to hold a short ceremony after the volunteer service work that day. During the pandemic, volunteers in the community put on and take off protective clothing and disinfected there. On May 2, the volunteers organized the work area and arranged it into a simple wedding venue.

Residents in the community rummaged through boxes and cabinets to find happy products. After unified registration, volunteers came to pick them up and disinfected them in a unified manner. Finally, they packed two entire boxes and delivered them to the bride Qi Liangliang.

The online live broadcast process of the wedding has gone through three or four rehearsals. The residents have also invited Lao Zhang, a technologist who lives in other communities, as the director of the background operation app to ensure that the live broadcast can be carried out smoothly.

Among the residents of Xuelinyuan Community, someone sent an invitation letter and a wedding video clip to warm up the wedding at 5:20 in advance.

At the beginning of the wedding, there were only the bride, groom, emcee, and photographer in white clothes, and everyone else watched the ceremony from their homes. In the volunteer work area, simple tripods formed two fixed positions with different angles, which were broadcast live to more than 3,000 people in the community.

“In the past month or so, all the residents of Xuelin Garden have worked together to fight the pandemic, and the dawn of victory is just around the corner! In this special period, we have encountered a great event, and a couple of newcomers in the community are about to welcome theirs. Newlywed life.” The wedding started on time, and the tightly wrapped emcee said.

“Hello everyone, I am Ji Pengcheng, the lucky groom today.”

“I’m the lucky bride Qi Liangliang.”

A pair of newlyweds wore dresses and masks on stage. At the same time, a large number of residents rushed into the app instantly, and the technical veteran Zhang in the background was nervously switching the screen to ensure the best live broadcast effect.

The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai
The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai

What the bride and groom did not expect was that the residents of the community recorded a blessing video in advance. Each family only had three seconds to show their faces, but the entire video was 6 minutes long. In the video, a little boy put on a suit and held roses in his hands to send blessings, a little girl wore a dance dress to perform a dance, a pair of twin children wished for a happy wedding, and a resident played a piano piece.

At the wedding, the bride cried several times, and even the mother of the bride who was far away in Yancheng couldn’t help crying.

In the barrage, some residents left a message saying that they were also in tears, and some single people said: “This is really true that lovers are married, and a single man witnessed it with his own eyes.”

After the short ceremony, on the way home for the bride and groom, residents along the way stood on their balconies and sent their blessings to them. Some people cheered up the balloons in advance, let the children wave them on the balcony, and the old people shouted: “You must be together forever and grow old together!”

For a time, the entire community was surrounded by the sound of blessings, and even the pet dogs kept barking incessantly.

At this time, it was dinner time in the evening, and the residents were all “eating” and posting their own food. “I’ll have an iced cola and fried chicken to celebrate.” “Cloud buffet, family, more than 200 dishes.”

The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai
The Cheapest Wedding in Shanghai

The pandemic evokes the most real warmth in Shanghai

Liu Yinbin, an associate professor at the School of Management of Shanghai University, also lives in Xuelinyuan Community. He loves the life here. He once published a book “Jufengyuan Road is a Happy Street”. Many people just read Liu Yinbin’s book before choosing to buy a house and settle down on Jufengyuan Road.

Liu Yinbin’s book wrote: Jufengyuan Road is a little-known street in Shanghai, but this road has everything from kindergartens, primary schools, and middle schools to universities. More than 30,000 students from Shanghai University have injected infinite vitality into this street. There are both Starbucks and Walmart here, as well as street stalls and dark dishes. There are both professors and working girls living here.

The pandemic has changed this road. The liveliness and prosperity of the past disappeared, replaced by a whole month of silence and depression. However, the warmth between the neighbors has also returned. The residents here were busy and met every day but did not know each other. During the pandemic, their mutual help aroused their enthusiasm.

“Actually, not long after I came to Shanghai, I only lived in this community for half a year. When I told my family in my hometown, they were all very surprised, how could the neighbors in the community be so nice? This is the most special wedding, and I will never forget it. Xuelinyuan.” Qi Liangliang told the first financial reporter.

There is such a line in the movie “Da Hua Xi You”: My crush is an unparalleled hero, and one day he will appear, wearing golden armor and holy clothes, and stepping on colorful clouds to marry me.

After the wedding, the residents of the community changed the group name to “Colorful Clouds”, and they were all waiting for the day when the haze in Shanghai dissipated.

Avatar photo
Nancy Huang
I'm a journalist in Shenzhen, China. I have been working in several news agencies in China since 2008.

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