'We had to kiss through masks': 35 couples marry at National Museum instead of ROM building

Mr Kyle and Ms Marilyn getting married at the National Museum on June 15, 2020. PHOTO: KYLE

SINGAPORE - Tying the knot these days is a stressful affair, with plans disrupted by the coronavirus and masks to be worn at all times.

For Ms Jocelyn Hor on her big day on Monday (June 15), there was an added layer of confusion when she turned up at the wrong building.

The 33-year-old assistant marketing manager and her 35-year-old husband, Mr Lex Tang, were ushered from the Registry of Marriages (ROM), where they thought they would be married, to the National Museum for their solemnisation ceremony.

"We had missed the e-mail saying that we would be married at the National Museum (and not the ROM building), so we actually reported there first."

"The National Museum was still really nice, though. The solemnisation room was bigger and the QR code scanning to get in made us feel very safe."

The scan was part of the authorities' contact-tracing efforts and to keep track of those entering and exiting the function rooms.

Ms Hor and Mr Tang were among 35 couples who had their marriage solemnised there on Monday. An ROM spokesman said it was the first day the in-house civil ceremonies were held at the National Museum to ensure safe management measures were maintained.

ROM continues to "strongly encourage couples to opt for marriage solemnisations via video link". The Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) building continues to host Muslim weddings. It shares a building with ROM.

For their big day, Ms Hor prepared custom-made couple masks for their eight guests and reminded her grandmother to wear one suited to an important day in her life.

Her grandmother gamely played along, buying a floral-patterned one from a nearby shop. Ms Hor and Mr Tang, a systems engineer, later had a group photo taken in front of the National Museum with their families.

Ms Hor said: "We are so glad to still be able to have the experience of getting married in person. Fingers crossed that we can receive the keys to our new BTO (built-to-order) flat on schedule by the end of the year."

Ms Jocelyn Hor and Mr Lex Tang getting married in their customised couple masks at the National Museum on June 15, 2020. PHOTO: JOCELYN HOR

Another couple who said "I do" in the National Museum on Monday was Mr Kyle and Ms Marilyn, who are both 35. They want to be known only by their first names.

They were both glad that they did not have to postpone their wedding as "everything else has been postponed", including the Shangri-La banquet they had planned to throw for their family and friends.

Mr Kyle said the solemnisation rooms at the ROM building are better decorated than the functional rooms at the National Museum, which he saw when his brother was married there last year.

Ms Marilyn, however, said the experience made it all the more memorable. In particular, she found it "funny that we had to kiss through our masks when (the solemniser) said, 'You may kiss the bride'".

Mr Kyle and Ms Marilyn getting married at the National Museum on June 15, 2020. PHOTO: KYLE

A camera livestreamed the ceremony to their friends via Zoom.

Ms Chung May Khuen, the director of the National Museum, said: "The National Museum has always been a popular site for couples to have their wedding pictures taken. Hence, when our neighbour ROM reached out to us about using our space during these extraordinary times, we did not hesitate.

"We are happy to be able to continue to be a part of this important milestone in their lives, providing couples and their loved ones with a beautiful and safe environment to commemorate their special day with us."

Museums remain close to visitors in phase two of Singapore's reopening.

From Friday, couples can also hold their solemnisations at other reopened venues, including function rooms in hotels, restaurants and places of worship - capped at 20 participants or the safe capacity of the venue, whichever is lower.

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