This paper examines the changing nuptiality pattern of rural China, particularly rural Anhui in relation to the planned social changes since 1949 and their effect on fertility. The data are from the 1/1000 Fertility Survey of China, conducted by the Family Planning Commission in 1982. Before the family planning programme was introduced to rural Anhui (1972), the changing nuptiality pattern was indirectly affected by the planned social changes; after 1972, the substantial increase in age at first marriage was mainly due to the family planning programme. More recently, the centrally controlled social structure is loosening, due to the economic reform and the nuptiality pattern seems to join the 1972 trend, suggesting that the dramatic change of nuptiality pattern during the early 1970s to early 1980s was a temporary one. But its effect on fertility is clear, and the shortening interval between marriage and first birth may bring difficulties for future population control in rural China.