SINGAPORE – Mr Amin Sulaiman and Ms Noelle Yong had planned to move into their Housing Board flat on the day they got married.
Little did they know that their new home in Clementi would double up as their wedding venue when they solemnised their marriage on March 29.
Because of social-distancing measures from the mid-March which restricted gatherings to fewer than 250 and subsequently 10 people, the couple had to throw their original plans out the window. They were supposed to hold a lunch reception for about 1,000 guests, followed by a dinner for about 250 people, both at Hort Park.
Instead, they said their vows in front of eight family members. The scaled-down affair did not dampen the occasion though.
Ms Yong, 30, a civil servant, says: “Getting married at home made the ceremony extra special, as our families were very involved in the whole renovation journey.”
While many couples have postponed their nuptials in this time of uncertainty, there are still a handful of couples getting hitched, albeit on a smaller scale.
Ms Yong and Mr Amin, 31, were initially reluctant to postpone their reception and dinner, which they had spent a year planning.
They had considered reducing their guest list and staggering lunch timings to meet the limit of fewer than 250 people at that time.
“But we started asking ourselves if we were being socially responsible to carry on with the wedding, just because we had done so much up to that point,” says Mr Amin, who works in an operations role at a tech start-up.
Ms Yong adds: “As the organiser, we had the option to remove that risk for our guests. We had family members in vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, who would have still come, but we didn’t want to pressure them to do so.”
Prior to their wedding day, friends of the couple sent video clips of well wishes, which Mr Amin compiled into a virtual guestbook as a surprise for his wife. He screened the 20-minute video during a photoshoot at Kent Ridge Park on their wedding day.
Another couple, Singaporean Dhuha Isa, 29, and Briton Mark Hunter, 33, livestreamed their wedding in March for family members who could not be present due to border restrictions.
The couple, both visual-effects editors, got married in Vancouver, where they have been living since 2015. About a week before their wedding, Canada closed its borders to most foreign nationals.
Ms Dhuha’s mother had arrived in Vancouver in January, and her sister is a university student there, but other members of their families watched the ceremony over video-conferencing apps FaceTime and Zoom. They included Ms Dhuha’s father, author and cultural medallion recipient Isa Kamari, as well as Mr Hunter’s parents, brother and uncle – who dressed to the nines for the conference call.
The couple, who dislike being the centre of attention, had planned an intimate ceremony with 15 guests at an Airbnb in Deep Cove, a waterside community, but ended up holding it at Ms Dhuha’s apartment instead.
While they wish their families could have been present – Ms Dhuha, for instance, wanted her father to give her away – they are grateful that their parents were supportive about the arrangement.
“It put us at ease and we could relax and enjoy the day because we knew they were okay with us having the wedding like that,” says Mr Hunter.
The couple will postpone their honeymoon to the Maldives and eventually hold parties in both Singapore and Northern Ireland, where Mr Hunter is from.
But Ms Dhuha says: “The important thing for us was we wanted to be married. How we got there didn’t matter as much in the end.”
Newlyweds Kwang Wei Long, 31, and Yong Si Yun, 28, share that sentiment.
They got married on March 29 in a small ceremony for eight guests at Fu Lin Men, a Chinese restaurant at the Singapore Recreation Club.
Ms Yong, a business development manager at an international school, says the intimate setting had its own “beauty and fun”. Her husband does business development for an analytics platform.
For instance, when their solemniser asked family members to share words of advice, parents on both sides chimed in with anecdotes about love, kindness and compromise.
“All our family members had a chance to give us their blessings and share things that wouldn’t have come out on a normal day. I was quite touched,” says Ms Yong.
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