With Covid-19 now a global pandemic, couples getting married put everything on hold
Most people dream of their wedding day being the one moment of their lives that is captured perfectly; with flowers, lavish decor and tables filled with food.
The new strain of coronavirus, Covid-19, has left a devastating impact on our society. Many people are working from home or have been laid off from their jobs.
Those suffering from the virus are also kept in isolation, away from loved ones while they seek medical treatments. This has led to nationwide circuit-breaker being put in place until early May, with a possible extension.
New government measures in place such as social distancing laws and limited contact with those outside of one’s household means weddings this year are at a halt.
For many couples, their picturesque snapshot of what is meant to be a special day is unfortunately cancelled, at least for now.
Ms Rahimah Beevi and Mr Mohd. Naushad, both 28, have been planning their wedding for 1 ½ years but they realised in April that their venue’s limitations prevent their plans from coming to fruition.
“We fixed it in our minds that it was happening. And we waited for this time, it was already
planned more than a year ago,” says Ms Rahimah.
Her wedding to Mr Naushad, a Shell processing technician, was arranged in 2018 through their parents.
Prior to the circuit breaker, couples still had a chance at holding their wedding ceremonies (albeit more intimately) with only 10 people being allowed to gather at a time.
Rahimah says they knew in the midst of planning that they would have to cancel when their venue called them to cut down their guests list to 250 people.
“But then the government announced that for funerals or weddings they can only cater to 10 pax so that’s when we knew we definitely could not do it as our number of people is very high,” says Rahimah.
As the situation grows dire, any forms of celebrations or gatherings will be cancelled at the very least until the third quarter of this year.
After planning for nearly two years, Ms Rahimah and Mr Naushad have mixed feelings on the current situation.
“If we know that things will get better by the end of the year, we can have peace of mind,” says Ms Rahimah. “Now we have to plan hoping that it will get better, there’s no confirmation.”
Their main concern is having to postpone again once they have decided on a new date.
Other couples face the similar issue in finding a new date or booking the same vendors.
Couple Ms Gayathri Chetiarmurthy and Mr Ganaesh Tangamanni pre-booked their venue 2 years prior and have doubts that re-booking next year will be successful.
“If we do get a date for next year at the same venue, we might consider postponing the whole traditional wedding to a later date,” says Mr Ganaesh.
Luckily for them, their vendors are understanding and give options for reimbursement or choosing a postponement date within a year of their current booking.
If all else still fails, their Plan B is to go forward with their official marriage registration and solemnisation ceremony, postponing their reception to next year.
Even so, holding a reception dinner next year may prove impossible as their vendors’ schedules are already filling up fast.
Since the onset of COVID-19 preventive government measures in early March, panicky couples have approached Singapore Brides Editor-in-Chief Ms Michelle Tay for advice.
She manages the wedding resources platform for couples planning their own weddings.
Her main advice to couples now is to hold off their dates until further notice from the government.
This may seem as an easy solution to some, but they fail to realise the amount of hard work couples has put into their planning.
“There’s a lot more at stake than simply postponing a wedding, emotionally and logistically,” says Ms Tay.
“Some venues have not been able to provide alternative dates, causing couples to have to cancel, and they are unable to get a refund on their deposits.”
Many couples stand to lose money by choosing to postpone their weddings or even their honeymoon plans, as most airline tickets are non-refundable.
Mr Naushad believes the one bright spot in this situation is the couple now has a chance to plan for a better honeymoon.
“We realized quite late that we were cramming too many places into 12 days. Now we can re-look at our plans and see what we can change.”
They are unable to cancel their flight tickets or hotel bookings, but still have the option of postponement.
Ms Rahimah reluctantly admits that since it is the couple’s first time going to Europe, changing their plans leaves them in a state of uncertainty as they stand to lose more money.
With the additional costs that could come with postponing their plans, couples are undecided on how to move forward.
For Ms Gayathri and Mr Ganaesh, confirming their new wedding date is more for their families and friends than themselves.
“Personally, it’s not very important for us to do the traditional wedding around this time, just doing their ROM registration is enough. I’d rather spend that money on the honeymoon or buying and renovating a house; the more important costs,” says Ms Gayathri.
Mr Ganaesh echoes this by explaining his viewpoint on traditional marriages: “It’s a way to commemorate or showcase to friends and family that ‘Hey, look, there are two grown-up kids that are uniting so let me throw you an event to congratulate them’, it’s really just a recognition.”
Ms Rahimah feels that weddings are necessary for the sake of families and for the younger generations to pass on traditions.
“It’s for our memories and future generations so we can tell them that this is how we honor our traditions, it’s important that they can also keep up with it and fulfil those traditions as well.”
Be it finding new ways to hold their wedding, or looking for alternatives, finding creative solutions together keeps the couple united and hoping for the best.
Their determination and positivity is a reflection of the importance of weddings: It is not just a union of two souls, supported by their loved ones.
It’s also a stark reminder that happier memories are within our grasp if we choose to wait for the right time.
*This is an article I wrote for a school news writing assignment during university. I am publishing it here as a way of sharing my past works so I can better improve any future publications I write. In no way will I be compensated for this publication. I look forward to any form of criticism anybody would be willing to give me :)*