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Groomsman Fondly Recounts Yao Ming's Marriage
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NBA Star Yao Ming's groomsman and former teammate Shen Wei said, "Yao and Ye Li are meant to be a couple. Their wedding was as effortless as Yao himself."


Yao's wedding ceremony


On August 6, 2007, the Shanghai Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum dressed Yao Ming's wax figure with a tuxedo. In the background music from the Chinese pop song Marry Me Today floated over the air. Holding fragrant roses, the wax "Yao" smiled to celebrate this significant day.


Two visitors pose for a photo in front of the wax figure of Yao Ming in a tuxedo which made debut at Madam Tussauds' Wax Museum on Nanjing Road, east China's Shanghai Municipality on August 6, 2007.


The wedding ceremony took place in Shanghai, inside the Pudong Shangri-La Hotel's China Hall. From 9 AM onwards, both hotel staff and wedding ceremony planners began to prepare for the banquet. Nine tables holding eight guests each were set up. Hotel staff dressed in identical uniforms; security guards patrolled the hotel to make sure it stayed a private ceremony.


The ceremony began at 6 PM. China's top jazz singer, Tian Guo'an, began singing classical English songs as the soon-to-be-wed couple's relatives and friends stepped into the hall. Yao, dressed in a special tailor-made swallow-tailed coat, stood at the corner of the red carpet and waited for his bride Ye Li to emerge from several clusters of lilies.


Groomsman Shen Wei, used to wearing sports suits, had to wear a business suit instead. Shen said that, standing beside Yao, he could indeed feel the groom's heartbeats.


As one of Yao's best friends, Shen said, "The wedding was as effortless as Yao himself."


At the Chinese-style ceremony, Shen drank a lot in Yao's place; he feared that if Yao drank too much it could affect his health and his performance in later competitions.


The wedding ceremony reached a climax when Yao carried his bride on his back and moved around the hall in a circle in accompaniment to a comic song. Everyone burst into laughter.


Basketball player superstar Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, light a candle during a very private wedding ceremony at the China Hall of the Pudong Shagri-La hotel on August 6, 2007.


Yao and Ye's love


Shen said, "Ye is the first and the only girl Yao ever dated."


In Shen's opinion, Yao is an introvert. He has never rashly dated any girl. "If he dated any one, she must be his true l