Wedding of Chiang Kai-shek and Soong Mei-ling: An Eyewitness Account from Whitey Smith, Bandleader
"On December first, 1927, Miss Soong and the Generalissimo were married in a private religious ceremony in the Soong mansion on Seymour Road. Dr. David Uii, General Secretary of the Y.M.C.A., officiated. Afterward, they moved on to the public part of this double-feature at the Majestic Hotel where the wedding was held Chinese style.
This was the big show to which thirteen hundred guests were invited. Outside, surrounding the hotel, there were thousands of people crowding the streets, craning their necks for a look see at the proceedings. The bride was given in marriage by her brother, T.V. Soong. The best man was Chiang's chief secretary, Liu Chi Wen. Except for Whitey Smith's band playing "Here Comes the Bride," the wedding was like other Chinese weddings I played, only on a grander scale. The setting was gorgeous, and the brocaded gowns which graced the occasion the most beautiful I had ever seen.
In this ceremony, the most important part was the bowing. There was a life-sized portrait of Sun Yat Sen hanging over the platform in the center of the ballroom. The bride and groom bowed three times to this enlarged picture, which was draped with the Nationalist and Kuomintang flags. Then the marriage certificate was read aloud and sealed. The bride and groom bowed to each other, once to the official witnesses, and once to the guests. Then the waiters started serving tea and we played "I'll be Loving You Always."
The general looked sharp in his foreign get-up of tails, striped pants and wing collar, but he didn't seem to be comfortable in this strange outfit. Madame Chiang wore the conventional foreign-style white satin and lace, and carried an immense bouquet. After the wedding, they left for their honey-moon in Chekiang, Hangchow, and Mokanshan, which were towns in General Chiang's home province. Upon their departure from the Majestic ballroom, we played for the Generalissimo and his bride, "A Love Nest For Two."
from I Didn't Make a Million by Whitey Smith with C.L. McDermott (Manila: 1956), pp.51-52
(Note: the Majestic was the former George McBain residence at the corner of Bubbling Well and Seymour Roads, now Nanjing West and Shaanxi Roads. Whitey Smith discusses the conversion of the mansion into a hotel on p. 24)
Contributed by Eric Politzer