3 Couples Who Got Married During COVID-19 Share Why They Chose To Not Wait

Wedding during COVID-19 pandemic

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, engaged couples planning their big day are undoubtedly affected. From venue limitations to strict regulations surrounding gatherings, traditional large-scale weddings might take quite the wait to return.

Yet, these 3 couples we spoke to were unfazed. Not only did they go forward with a wedding during the COVID-19 pandemic, they made the most of the situation and celebrated their union through unique and unconventional ways. 

Besides practical tips for other soon-to-wed couples, they also shared some invaluable nuggets of wisdom when it comes to love, dating and marriage in Singapore.

1. Yan Ning & Tun – yacht solemnisation with 200-pax party on Zoom

Image credit: Yan Ning & Tun

Yan Ning (31) and Tun (33) are an online dating success story, having met on an app in 2018. Cordial text exchanges turned into daily conversations with a hint of flirtiness and, after a month of chatting, they set their first meeting. 

As Tun puts it, “when I met Yan Ning we clicked very well and were able to talk heart to heart”. He adds that “things progressed naturally, and we were in a relationship before you know it”. Fast forward to November 2019, Tun proposed and the couple planned on having a 250-pax solemnisation lunch banquet at BW Monastery in Woodlands Drive, where both of them attend religious classes.

Image credit: Yan Ning & Tun

When the COVID-19 situation was unfolding in early 2020, Yan Ning sprang into action and researched backup plans even before Circuit Breaker started – “just in case”. As fate would have it, the couple were browsing alternatives on Airbnb when they stumbled upon a yacht space for rent. 

Still playing an active role in the couple’s life, BW Monastery even gave Yan Ning and Tun the rights to their Company Account on Zoom to facilitate a large-scale live stream, so they were able to bypass the 100-pax limit for personal Zoom accounts. 

Image credit: Yan Ning & Tun

Shouting out their appreciation for familial support throughout this stressful period, Yan Ning and Tun expressed how heartwarming it was to have the understanding of loved ones even amidst multiple changes in plans. 

“We were worried about holding the solemnisation on a yacht as both our parents are a bit old”, Yan Ning shared. “In order to get to the deck, they needed to cross a very narrow path”.

Thankfully, the ceremony went smoothly. In order to keep to the maximum attendee count (at the time) of 10 people onboard and avoid hiring external help, it was all hands on deck as the couple got Yan Ning’s sister to do videography of the event, and her fiancé to handle photography. 

Image credit: Yan Ning & Tun

Over on the live stream front, the couple also sought the help of friends from the monastery to do everything from “emceeing” online and hosting the chat, to controlling the lobby music throughout the flow of the event. 

Tips for couples: Doling out practical advice, Yan Ning says to remain flexible if you’re getting married during the COVID-19 period, and be prepared for things to change along the way. Especially if you’re engaging service providers, “speak to them upfront about cancellation fees or the possibility of postponing, and it’ll make things easier if issues crop up”. 

Image credit: Yan Ning & Tun

She also joined a Telegram group chat created solely for couples to navigate the challenges of attempting to wed amidst a pandemic, proving once again that technology and community can be of great aid.

Having witnessed first-hand how some people go through unpleasant pre-wedding incidents when things don’t go according to plan, Tun reminds couples that there’s “no need for perfection”. He adds that while “a dream wedding is something everyone looks forward to since young, a wedding only lasts 1 day whereas marriage is forever”.

2. Iylia & Shuqri – from 1,000-pax ceremony to FB & IG live stream

Image credit: Iylia & Shuqri

Iylia and Shuqri (both 25) met as polytechnic coursemates, studying Optometry. It soon became clear that they only had eyes for each other, as they embarked on an 8-year-long relationship and tied the knot on 1st August 2020.

The initial plan was to hold a large-scale ceremony at Changi Civil Service club, inviting a whopping 1,000 attendees to the “spacious and airy beachside venue for kampung vibes”. Alas, as the pandemic worsened it seemed unlikely that a 1,000-pax gathering could be possible anytime soon. 

Image credit: Iylia & Shuqri

Iylia’s mother also remarked that “a union in marriage should not be delayed”, and the couple took this as a blessing in disguise to make things official amidst the company of just close friends and family. With that comes another plus side, as Iylia pointed out: “Feelings won’t get hurt if somebody were to not get invited”.

Image credit: Iylia & Shuqri

Iylia and Shuqri eventually opted to get married in an intimate solemnisation at Tampines Mosque. One of Iylia’s brothers managed a Facebook live stream, while another was granted access to her Instagram account to do a “takeover” and broadcast the joyous ceremony on 2 different social media platforms at the same time.

They’re now glad that they went ahead with the smaller scale wedding, which Iylia and Shuqri said was “quite fun, and makes for a story to tell”. 

Image credit: Iylia & Shuqri

That said, Iylia admitted that there were difficulties throughout the planning process which didn’t make the pre-wedding phase a walk in the park. These were unprecedented times; and as a result, guidelines and regulations had to be updated based on the fast-evolving circumstances.

The announcement increasing the maximum attendees from 20 to 50 pax was made just 2 days before their big day. Nevertheless, they decided to stick to the plan instead of inviting more people last minute, and are simply “glad that everything worked out in the end”.

Image credit: Iylia & Shuqri

Tips for couples: Iylia and Shuqri’s advice for those thinking of getting married during COVID-19 is to always go back to your intentions: “The priority is not to have a grand wedding – but to finally be able to fully and completely be together as one.”

A smaller, more intimate wedding can still be a “meaningful celebration together with family and close friends” – even with safety measures in place.

3. Justyne & Gervais – transforming a warehouse into cosy wedding hall

Image credit: Justyne & Gervais

Justyne (30) and Gervais (29) were brought together by a uni event while studying abroad in Canada. Having been just friends for 2 years, Justyne actually held a torch for Gervais for a whole year. In her words, “he was kind of oblivious and I grew tired of waiting around with no clear signals”.

The turning point came when Justyne stumbled upon an article about how girls should take the first step. She came forward with her feelings for Gervais and, as they say, the rest was history.

Image credit: Justyne & Gervais

They were originally slated to get married on the 5th anniversary of their first date. The elaborate plan consisted of a church solemnisation in the morning, followed by a lunch reception and dinner banquet totalling close to 400 attendees.

When COVID-19 first erupted, Justyne and Gervais opted to “wait it out and see where it goes, but contingency plans were always on the back of [their] minds”. The decision to go forth with a small-scale ceremony was only made late June, after they had “waited all the way, till [they] couldn’t afford to wait anymore”.

Image credit: Justyne & Gervais

From the gown to the decor, pre-booked elements were shifted from their original banquet plans to a warehouse event hall next to Wheeler’s Yard in Lorong Ampas. Even the videographer converted his services to facilitating a YouTube live stream instead, documenting the blissful union in real time.

Image credit: Justyne & Gervais

Little hiccups along the way included the fact that jewellers were closed under Circuit Breaker measures, so they were only able to get their wedding bands sorted in July and collect the rings a mere 2 days before the wedding.

Justyne even asked at one point “How stressed are you?”, to which Gervais responded that it was about 3 or 4 on a scale of 10. Turns out, Justyne revealed that she was teetering at 9.5. 

Image credit: Justyne & Gervais

Tips for couples: In Gervais’ words, “planning a wedding under COVID-19 circumstances will be easier as long as you and your partner know you’ve got a plan for everything”. This is why they came up with a slew of contingency plans, and were able to work around last-minute disappointments like pax restrictions and a location that’s more ulu.

Beyond marriage, the 2 of them also expressed that the Circuit Breaker proved to be a challenge for the relationship, with Justyne sharing that “the time and distance apart forced [them] to confront issues [they] previously didn’t realise, such as each party’s love language and communication needs”.

Gervais also acknowledged that while not being able to meet up for weeks on end was tough, he is grateful for the experience. He notes that he is “so used to having her physically present that [he] had to learn how to love her differently”. This just goes to show that unprecedented circumstances bring out new and deeper facets of love!

Bonus: Wedding during COVID-19 guidelines and safety measures

For those looking to get hitched soon, here’s a helpful breakdown of guidelines for wedding receptions as well as solemnisations during COVID-19 that will help make your planning process a breeze.

Includes measures on buffets, live performances, photo-taking, whether or not to wear masks, contact tracing and more.

Finding love in Singapore amidst a pandemic

“Some people look for chemistry or sparks. While those things are important, a relationship will ultimately be sustained by you and your partner’s values.” – Justyne | “Above all, look for someone you can be friends with.” – Gervais
Image credit: Justyne & Gervais

As Singaporeans collectively brave the storm that is COVID-19, you may feel that any attempts to find love ought to take a backseat. On the contrary, Justyne and Gervais believe that relationships born amidst this difficult period can serve as a “litmus test of your feelings and commitment towards each other”.

Iylia and Shuqri personally know of couples who got together during the Circuit Breaker, and remarked that connections formed online during this time could be even more genuine and meaningful. 

“Love comes naturally. As long as you know what you want, there’s no need to conform to society’s standards and expectations.” – Iylia | “Everything is easier when you’re with the one you love, there are 2 heads to think together and conquer what life throws at you”. – Shuqri
Image credit: Iylia & Shuqri

For those who are on the fence between riding solo or finding a mate, Yan Ning and Tun strongly believe in the importance of companionship and having someone who will always look out for you, and vice versa

“After marriage, I realised the joy of living life together and that 1 + 1 is actually more than 2.” – Yan Ning | “In relationships, a lot of things need to be aligned and adjusted. But as long as both parties are happy, it is all worth it.” – Tun
Image credit: Yan Ning & Tun

Singapore dating and marriage resources on Hello Love SG

Whether these stories have pulled at your heartstrings and left you hankering for more “awww”-worthy tales, or inspired you to find blossoming romance of your own, there are plenty of resources on Hello Love

Image adapted from: Hello Love

A platform for all things dating, marriage and love-related in Singapore, you’ll be able to find couple interviews, relationship podcasts, dating tips and even socialising events where you could potentially meet your match.

With all these guides and insightful resources at our fingertips, it’s never been easier to say “hello” to the idea of love, and perhaps to your future partner as well. If you’ve got your own heartwarming love stories to share, post it on social media and tag @HelloLoveSingapore to spread the good vibes.

Find out more about Hello Love here

This post is part of an initiative to celebrate love, dating and marriage in Singapore.
Cover image adapted from Yan Ning & Tun (LHS), Iylia & Shuqri (RHS).


Renae Cheng

I love food, dance, writing, and writing about food and dance.

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