TAIPEI - In the end, thanks to a dash of time-zone magic, pop king Jay Chou kept both of his promises when he married model Hannah Quinlivan in a fairy-tale wedding in Yorkshire, northern England, on Saturday afternoon, the eve of his 36th birthday.
For years, he had said he would be married at age 35. Late last year, after confirming his four-year relationship with Quinlivan, 21, he said his 36th birthday would be his wedding day.
He managed to do both, kind of, at a ceremony that took place in Selby Abbey, a church dating to the 11th century, at about 3.30pm, said Taiwan's Apple Daily, or around midnight in his native Taipei.
The bride, in a white Tudor-inspired dress by Taiwanese boutique Sophia Weddings with a heart-shaped cutout at the back, was led down the aisle by her Australian father, who placed her hand in the groom's, said the report. Chou's parents, who are divorced, were among the group of about 50 family members and friends at the church.
A Taiwanese pastor performed the ceremony, and the bride was moved to tears as she exchanged rings and vows with Chou.
The groom composed a song, which was played by a string orchestra at the ceremony, said United Daily News.
Two of Chou's good friends, The Drifters singer Darren and fitness coach Hulk, were the groomsmen. The bridesmaids were actresses Beatrice Fang and Fion Sun.
In interviews before the wedding, Chou said he chose Quinlivan as his partner because "being together for four years isn't an easy thing". He said he had been serious about previous girlfriends - who include singer Jolin Tsai - but the relationships would end after two to three years, reported China Times.
Although he is 14 years older than Quinlivan, "my mental age is about the same as hers and we just get along like children". The only thing they disagree on is movies, because they like different genres, but she still asks him first if he wants to watch a certain movie with her, before seeing it with her friends.
The wedding was followed by dinner at a hotel, then a party at Castle Howard, which Chou planned as a concert featuring a symphony and a rock band. Apple Daily estimated the cost of the wedding at NT$23 million (S$1 million), and said it was the most extravagant wedding in Taiwanese entertainment.
Just before the nuptials, Chou's company JVR Music released the couple's pre-wedding photos, which they had taken in Prague, Paris and Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany in October. Their photographer was Liang Su, brother-in-law of actress Vivian Hsu. JVR also announced that the couple had registered their marriage last month.
Chou had been tight-lipped about the wedding venue, and before they arrived in Yorkshire, guests had just been told to transfer at London for another flight. But hawk-eyed fans recognised Yorkshire when they saw lyricist Vincent Fang's photo of the town on Weibo.
Sun also let the cat out of the bag when she posted a photo of the hotel on both Instagram and Weibo, and Weibo identified her location as "Feversham Arms Hotel & Verbena Spa Yorkshire".
This article by The Straits Times was published in MyPaper, a free, bilingual newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.