SINGAPORE - On June 18, Mr Erwan Mace, 47, and Ms Sarah Joseph, 33, visited LeVeL33 at Marina Bay Financial Centre to finalise the layout and decorations for their July 10 wedding.
Hours later, the multi-ministry task force (MTF) on Covid-19 announced wedding receptions would continue to be banned at least until mid-July, as they carried a higher risk for Covid-19 transmission since attendees tended to socialise more.
Stunned, the couple cancelled their wedding reception, and contacted vendors to ask for refunds the next day.
On Wednesday, the MTF announced wedding receptions could take place with 250 people with pre-event testing from Monday (July 12), welcome news for couples, some of whom postponed their weddings at least twice.
Ms Joseph, a housewife, said while it was painful to accept the measures will be relaxed just two days after their wedding, they recognised the Covid-19 situation was fluid.
Mr Mace and Ms Joseph proceeded with just their wedding solemnisation with 48 guests on Saturday. She said: "There are always going to be new rules, and you cannot keep waiting."
Mr Mace, a technology entrepreneur and founder of MyCyberHome, added they are looking forward to hosting groups of five at home to celebrate the occasion.
Software engineer Tony Liu and nurse Alexandra Lee, both 29 and US citizens, twice postponed their wedding in Singapore - from October last year to this October, then to October next year. They had solemnised their marriage in the US in 2019.
Mr Liu said they will now consider inviting more guests from the original 180. The couple want to hold a wedding here as Ms Lee's mother's family is in Singapore.
Ms Lee said: "I remember calling one of our vendors and crying on the phone. Because this situation has been totally out of our control. Our family and friends already took leave and booked flights for our wedding."
They had considered cancelling it but had already paid almost $15,000 in deposits to vendors, who were unwilling to make refunds.
An Italian technology specialist, who wanted to be known as Enzo, and his wife, April, a Filipino businesswoman, both 37 and living in Singapore, postponed their wedding in Italy from May last year to May, before postponing it indefinitely. They married here in a smaller ceremony at St Joseph's Church in Bukit Timah in March.
April said: "It was not the ideal situation. But it was a decision we made to move on with our lives, and we were still happy during the wedding."
The couples told ST that one challenge in holding their weddings amid Covid-19 was reducing the guest lists.
Mr Mace said: "Suddenly you have to rank your friends, which is not something you should ever have to do." The couple reduced their guest list from 78 to 48.
As travel borders remain closed, the couples lamented that their family members overseas could not attend their special day.
Mr Mace, a permanent resident here who has two sisters in France and whose parents died when he was younger, said: "I'm very close to my sisters, and I feel sad to get married without them."
Despite all the challenges, the couples say this experience has made their relationship stronger.
Mr Liu said: "It taught us to be more patient and flexible. When we disagreed on things related to the wedding, we had to come to a compromise."
Mr John Shepherd Lim, chief well-being officer at Singapore Counselling Centre and a licensed wedding solemniser, said: "For couples who manage to tide over problems, it's generally because both parties make an effort to meet in the middle, rather than fixate on their own needs."