Couples scramble after S'pore tightens Covid-19 restrictions on weddings from this weekend

Ms Sarah Cheong and her fiance Chew Da Ming are now considering their options as their big day on May 22 draws closer.
Ms Sarah Cheong and her fiance Chew Da Ming are now considering their options as their big day on May 22 draws closer.PHOTO: SARAH CHEONG

SINGAPORE - After postponing their wedding twice since last year due to Covid-19, a bride-to-be and her fiance were all geared up for their big day on Saturday (May 8).

But everything changed on Tuesday night, after restrictions on weddings and solemnisations were tightened amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in the community.

The 29-year-old bride-to-be, who wanted to be known only as Ms Yong, said she was "totally devastated" by the news.

She said: "We were so close to the date, I thought everything would be fine. I feel really upset and frustrated at the Government but yet I feel guilty for feeling this way because I know they're trying to control the community cases before the festivities."

Like Ms Yong, many couples who planned to get married this month had to scramble to come up with back-up plans after the capacity for marriage solemnisations and wedding receptions was reduced to 50 people without the need for pre-event testing (PET), down from the previous limit of 100.

The new regulations kick in on Saturday and, for the couples, a number of unfavourable options loom, such as reducing the number of guests by half without PET.

Those who decide to stick to the original guest list will have to convince guests to go for PET, or fork out an extra cost to pay for the tests.

Ms Yong felt she had no option - getting all her guests to go through PET or narrowing down the guest list by half in just a few days was impossible.

Unable to bear an additional hefty $6,000 for the tests, Ms Yong and her fiance embarked on - and pulled off - the mammoth task of pushing their wedding forward by a day. This entailed her calling up guests and rearranging logistics such as vendors and photographers - all within a span of two days.

Some couples like Ms Yong and her fiance view postponing the wedding as not an option or only as a last resort due to the logistics involved, coupled with the uncertainty of the Covid-19 situation.

Ms Yong said: "Postponing the wedding and having to rearrange all the logistics, like my make-up artist, the vendors and the hotel's availability, is just too hard because we don't know what the Covid-19 situation will be like in the future. I don't think I can wait any longer."

Ms Nithiyakamala, who will be getting married on May 16, had a million things racing through her mind when she first heard the news, including how much more the wedding would cost or which guest to remove from the reception.

The 31-year-old patient service associate, who goes by only one name, found herself frantically calling up guests to ask if they would be keen to get tested.


Ms Nithiyakamala and her fiance Karthikesan had to trim the guest list for their wedding to 50 people. PHOTO: COURTESY OF NITHIYAKAMALA

Ms Nithiyakamala said: "I'm very frustrated at the short runway that we have to work with and it has been very stressful for us. Many of our guests have already bought their outfits and booked make-up artists for the big day."

The majority of her guests found it too troublesome to take a PET or were unwilling to pay for it, which led to a reduction in the guest list to 50 people, a painful decision that cost her two of her bridesmaids.

Ms Nithiyakamala said: "It was very difficult for me to make this decision because you would want these important people to be there for you on your wedding day. But it is very hard to accommodate so many people, as my fiance has a huge family. I'm grateful that my friends and family are supportive of our decision."

Another bride-to-be, Ms Sarah Cheong, remains in a dilemma.

She said: "I was trying to hold it together but later that night, I broke down. It felt like we were at the final stretch, after getting through the worst like circuit breaker, but now there's this new curveball thrown at us."

Ms Cheong, 31, an engineer, said she and her fiance are now considering their options as their big day on May 22 draws closer.

They are torn on whether to cut the guest list, or even consider postponing the wedding, as they anticipate that some guests may not be comfortable with the idea of taking the test.

Ms Cheong said: "This is supposed to be a happy occasion but with all this uncertainty, you just can't enjoy the process. It seems like there are multiple mountains we have to climb just to get married during Covid-19."