Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Pandemic Wedding in Singapore
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Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Pandemic Wedding in Singapore

profileJoel Koh
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I think it is a bit of a cliche to say this again, but the COVID-19 outbreak has really changed the way we live our lives.

In June, I attended my friend’s marriage solemnisation over Zoom. This was my first pandemic wedding and it was quite the experience.

Although the solemnisation was not what I was used to, I enjoyed the beautifully simple virtual wedding tremendously. The wedding offered me a chance to really focus on the people, and not be distracted by the spectacle that accompanies ‘average’ weddings.

But, I do acknowledge that I might be in the minority crowd with my views on weddings.

I’m sure that for many of you, having to adhere to the COVID-19 wedding regulations might have prevented you from having the big celebration with family and friends that you have dreamed of. It is perfectly normal for you to feel upset about having to forgo your dream wedding.

But, you need to know this. COVID-19 cannot stand in the way of what’s most important — you and your partner making a lifelong commitment to each other. Although your wedding might not be what you have envisioned, you can still make the most out of the situation and have an intimate ceremony that is truly about the two of you. Not to mention all that money you’ll be saving too!

As such, here is our guide to how much you’ll need to pull off your dream pandemic wedding in Singapore. We will be covering MOH regulations and providing a cost breakdown of an ‘average’ pandemic wedding.

Plus, we have included tips from an interview with Elizabeth and Chong Jun, a couple that pulled off their marriage solemnisation on 5 April 2020 (Sunday), right after stricter Circuit Breaker measures were implemented!

Editor’s note: As the situation is currently unfolding, we will update this article with the latest information if there are any changes in COVID-19 wedding regulations.


TL;DR: Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Wedding Planning in Singapore

What Will You Spend On?Cost (SGD)
ROM & Solemnisation$42
Wedding Venue And Banquet (50 Pax)$6,110
Wedding Bands$800
Gifts And Dowry$1,888
Wedding Gowns & Suits$3,500
Bridal Make-up & Hair$960
Wedding Photography$5,000
Flowers$600
Bridal Car Rental$600
Misc.$2,000
Zoom Pro Membership
(1 month)
$20.50
TOTAL$21,520

COVID-19 Wedding Regulations Singapore

Here are some of the key marriage solemnisation and wedding reception regulations you need to take note of.

Marriage Solemnisation Reception Guest Limit

Ever since the start of Phase 2 of the Circuit Breaker Exit, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has allowed marriage solemnisation ceremonies to be held with a 20 person limit (excluding the Solemniser).

But good news. From 4 August 2020, MOH has expanded the marriage solemnisation ceremony guest limit to 50 people (including the couple, excluding the Solemniser and vendors).

Wedding solemnisation ceremonies can be held in venues like:

  • A wedding couple’s own home, or in the home of one of your immediate family members: Up to 10 persons, excluding the Licensed Solemniser, and vendors (kept to a minimum.

External Venues:

  • Registry of Civil and Muslim Marriages (ROM/M) Building: Up to 10 persons, excluding Solemniser and vendors.
  • Designated areas at the National Museum of Singapore operated by ROM: Up to 10 persons, excluding Solemniser and vendors.
  • Places of worship.
  • HDB common areas.
  • Hotels.
  • Restaurants.

However, do note that you will still have to stick to the guest limit of 50 people (including the couple, excluding the Solemniser and vendors). The number of guests you can invite is also subject to the venue’s capacity limit based on safe management principles, so do check with the respective venue owners/ operators for more details.

Pilot Wedding Reception Program

Also, MOH has launched a pilot program where wedding couples can hold one separate wedding reception (including food and drinks), with up to 50 guests (including the couple) for the entire duration of the event.

These wedding receptions can be held at venues that are permitted to serve food and drinks (e.g. restaurants, hotels), subject to the venue’s capacity limit based on safe management principles and strict adherence to safe management measures.

Change of Plans With Wedding Vendors

With all the changes in regulations, it is natural that you might have possible changes to your wedding plans.

Do remember to inform your appointed wedding vendors of any changes you would like to make to your plans as soon as possible so that alternative arrangements can be made.

This process should be rather smooth as the majority of wedding vendors will let you postpone your bookings to a new date (subject to availability). But, do note that the available dates can be limited as other couples would be postponing their weddings as well.

In addition, do note that you are protected by the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act (2020) which was introduced, read and passed in Parliament on 7 April 2020.

The bill covers events related contracts entered into or before 25 March 2020 and for contractual obligations to be performed on or after 1 February 2020. The bill covers contracts like a contract for the booking of venues for marriage solemnisation and wedding receptions and will be valid for six until 19 October 2020. The Minister for Law also has the power to extend it up to one year.

If you the customer of an event contract you can give a “Notification for Relief” to the relevant goods or services provider.

They may not forfeit any deposit (or part of any deposit) on the basis that you are unable to proceed to fulfil the contractual obligations because of COVID-19 restrictions and regulations.

In other words, if you are able to prove that you cannot fulfil your end of the bargain due to COVID-19 – your service provider cannot forfeit your deposit automatically.

Instead, your deposit will be treated in a just manner, factoring in the service provider’s expenses.

Deposit
Source: Gilmore Girls | Giphy

For example, couples who had to postpone their wedding because of COVID-19 can seek relief with this new bill. Typically with these contracts, your deposit will be forfeited if you did not hold their wedding within a certain time.

With the new bill, the couple can apply for relief and have their wedding postponed without forfeiting the deposit.

You can find out if you’re eligible for relief over at the Ministry of Law’s website.

Pre-Wedding Photography Regulations

No worries, you can still get your gorgeous pre-wedding photos taken, as photography services are allowed to resume in Phase 2.

But, there are regulations of course. The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has stated that only 10 people (including wedding couple and vendors) may be on location for the shoot at any one time.

Also, only five people are allowed to be in a photo and you can remove your masks during the shoot. But, you might want to take some shots with your mask on as a memorable keepsake of your pandemic wedding.

How to Livestream Your Wedding

The easy solution will be to engage your videographer to live stream the whole ceremony. But, you might have to pay a bit more for the service.live-streaming-asia

Otherwise, you can choose to do-it-yourself (DIY) and save more.

A camera that can be connected to a laptop and a wired internet connection works best.

Also, many churches now have live-stream capabilities. Ask if there is an extra fee to stream your ceremony if it is in a church.

You can consider using Zoom, Facebook Live or Instagram live stream your wedding so that your friends and family can celebrate with you online.

I would recommend that you raise the production value ever so slightly so that your guests can have a better online experience. You can get a tripod to mount your phone or camera, add a microphone so everything can be heard clearly and test the internet connection at the venue beforehand.

Ideally, you might want to borrow a camera that can be connected to a laptop with a wired internet connection.

The video platform I would recommend for this is Zoom. Do remember to get a Pro account as you don’t want to deal with having the video feed getting cut off after 40 minutes. This will cost you US$14.99 ($20.50) for one month of use.

With the Pro membership, you can have up to 100 participants tune in to your wedding! Another additional benefit of Zoom is that you can have multiple camera angles to capture more of what is going on during the wedding.

But, do keep the number of phones/cameras to about two, as you do not want them to block your photographer or videographer from capturing the best moments during the wedding.

Otherwise, you can consider Facebook Live video if most of your virtual guests are more comfortable with Facebook. For privacy, you can create a private group and invite all your guests beforehand.

As for Instagram, you can keep your account private and add your invited guests before the wedding. You can start the online livestream and even invite a friend to join the broadcast.

Cost Breakdown of a Pandemic Wedding

How much will this all cost you ask?

Let me refer you to our article written about how the cost of ‘average’ wedding in Singapore and how much you will have to save up per month if you are having it in a year.

Disclaimer: the numbers and figures here are all based on assumptions and estimations, so feel free to adjust them accordingly to better reflect your situation.

Costs of Wedding

When it comes to holding a pandemic wedding, the major difference in price arises from having to adhere to the 50 person limit.

For a more direct point of comparison, I will be using the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel mentioned in the article above.

What Will You Spend On?Cost (SGD)
ROM & Solemnisation$42
Wedding Venue And Banquet (50 Pax)$6,110
Wedding Bands$800
Gifts And Dowry$1,888
Wedding Gowns & Suits$3,500
Bridal Make-up & Hair$960
Wedding Photography$5,000
Flowers$600
Bridal Car Rental$600
Misc.$2,000
Zoom Pro Membership
(1 month)
$20.50
TOTAL$21,520

Assuming you choose the 7-course set menu option, you’re looking at $1,038++ per table of 10 guests. Or $1,222 (after service charge and GST).

Your total cost of a wedding venue and banquet for 50 guests: $6,110.

The total costs of an ‘average’ pandemic wedding would be $21,520. For a more detailed breakdown, you can check out the article mentioned above.

This means that you will save about $6,090 for your pandemic wedding, which can go towards paying off your HDB BTO, HDB resale flat, or home renovation costs.

Now that you have a better idea of how much an ‘average’ pandemic will cost, let’s move on to the interview

Chong Jun and Elizabeth’s Spontaneous Solemnisation During The COVID-19 Pandemic

pandemic wedding couple

Right after stricter Circuit Breaker measures were implemented on 3 April 2020, Chong Jun and Elizabeth decided to spontaneously bring forward their marriage solemnisation to just two days later. The couple then went to celebrate their commitment to each other at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.

Here is their story:

1) What was the actual day like? Did you guys live stream the event?

It was a simple and smooth-sailing day because the bulk of the preparations were done the day before! We managed to collect our marriage certificate, book the venue, collect our rings, gown, and make arrangements with our JP within 36 hours!

Yes, we live-streamed the solemnisation on Instagram to our friends and relatives.

2) How much did both of you spend on the solemnisation? Any COVID-19 related expenses to take note of?

Venue

Hotel Room at Fullerton: ~$750 (1 night)

Bridal Package

Gown: $1700

Suit: $1800

Makeup: $650

Photographer: $750 (pro-rated from our wedding package)

No related COVID-19 expenses to take note of for our case.

3) Can I ask, did both of you spend more/less compared to a normal solemnisation?

We think that we spent more compared to a normal solemnisation. This was partially because it was a last-minute decision to bring forward the solemnisation and postpone our banquet.

There was no change in our wedding vendors which were booked based on our banquet plans. This might have contributed to higher costs. If we were to book our vendors knowing that this was only for a small event, we may have revised our budget downwards.

During normal times, the solemnisation venue tends to come together with the banquet package without additional cost. However, we had to outsource this too.

4) Understand that Elizabeth is the owner of Liz Florals. Any tips on how to save money on wedding flowers?

To save on flowers, you can opt for less premium varieties (for example peonies or garden roses may require a higher budget). It would also help to discuss with your partner on what’s most important to both of you – would it be the ambience created by the flowers for your guests, the flowers you give your bridesmaids, or the personal flowers to pamper yourselves on this special day? After which, you can allocate your budget accordingly to the importance of the flower items.

5) Any other tips to save on the venue, wedding gown and suit, makeup, photography etc.?

It is helpful to have a budget for each item at the very beginning of your planning and work around it.

At the same time, you can allocate your budget according to what you value. For example, if photographs are important to you, allocating a higher budget on that area might be more meaningful as compared to spending a large sum on other areas.

6) If there was no COVID-19, would both of you want to have the same solemnisation ceremony again?

Although our solemnisation was a great experience and very special to us, we would opt for our original plan if there was no COVID-19! This means having our closest friends and relatives to witness the ceremony in person, and to hold it together with the banquet!

Want to Save More on Your Wedding?

Head on over to our friendly SeedlyCommunity where our savvy community members will help you out with any questions you may have!

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About Joel Koh
History student turned writer at Seedly. Before you ask, not a teacher. My time as a history student has equipped me with the skills to evaluate the impact societal development has on financial and nonfinancial events.
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