In an announcement made recently by health officials, it was shared that, as from May 16, there will be a law impeding wedding receptions in Singapore, to be implemented with immediate effect. The new restrictions also affect occupancy limits in shopping malls, as well as other activities. All activities requiring the congregation of large groups have been restricted, with tighter limits in an effort to flatten the curve. Officials say this regulation will stand until the 13th of June, where the impact of the heightened restriction will be assessed accordingly. As such, attendees for any events will be required to undergo COVID testing.
As expected, couples all over the country are feeling the frustration of having to downsize more than expected, dampening the festive spirit in some cases as plans are being altered in what feels like almost an overnight change. No couple imagined starting their journey adorned in masks and going down in history as having lived through a pandemic. But not to worry, that’s not to say that love is not cancelled in 2021! With a little tweaking here and there, you can make the wedding of your dream a reality, with just a minor remix.
For wedding guests who’ve managed to get both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine within two weeks of the wedding, there’s one less stress off their plate, however, for everyone else, the government expects pre-testing from all attendees. We’ll be updating this article with the latest updates, so do remember to check back for the latest updates.
With that being said, here are a few tips to help couples planning their big day in the middle of Phase 2 of Heightened Alert so you understand what regulations you’re expected to follow.
1. Plans for your Solemnization Ceremony
Phase 2 of Heightened Alert will see to it that couples make several changes to their wedding plans. While wedding receptions have been banned, solemnization ceremonies are still allowed, with a limit of 100 guests, all of whom are expected to have undergone extensive testing before attending the wedding, and for smaller crowds of up to fifty guests permitted without prior testing.
If the solemnization ceremony is hosted in a residential home, then the limit falls to 10 attendees, including the couple themselves (but excluding the Solemnizer and participating vendors). For solemnization ceremonies held at ROM/M Building, the limit remains at 10 attendees and will be subjected to prevailing safe management measures.
2. When Do These Changes Take Effect?
Unfortunately for couples with their wedding dates picked between May 16 and June 13, this rule will be put into effect immediately. This comes as a health response following a spike in COVID-19 locally-transmitted cases, whose escalation has alarmed the health officials.
3. What To Expect With Pre-Event Testing
PET (Pre-event testing) is a test given for COVID-19 that’s done by people who’ll be participating in public events or spaces for various activities. This is to ensure that they’re negative for the virus and won’t be exposing and endangering anyone they come across at said event. The results are only valid for a specific space of time, with the test being conducted right before admission to the event, or at least 24 hours before.
There are approximately 200 ART providers islandwide, including GP clinics and private hospitals offering PET, with some even offering 24-hour service. A list of approved providers for ART can be found here.
4. Restrictions On Vendors
While the total number of permitted guests excludes the vendors that’ll be present, there is still a limit on the number of vendors permitted at any event. You’ll be expected to submit the number of vendors that’ll be present to the Registry of marriages (ROM). Have the list on hand on the day for verification, and couples are expected to hold on to the list for up to 14 days post wedding.
With the suddenness of it all, for couples wishing to make changes with their big day, the contractual agreements made between the couple and vendor will have to be followed, but it is hoped that can exercise flexibility and mutual understanding in adjusting plans.
5. Rules On Masks
Previously, guests were allowed to take their masks off for the reception, however, since wedding receptions have been temporarily discontinued, that exception is out. The bride and groom must also use face masks or face shields throughout the ceremony with the duration of the ceremony to be kept as brief as possible.
6. What Happens To Traditional or Religious Rites Involving Food Or Beverage?
Unfortunately, no rituals or observances involving food (and thus the taking off of masks) will be permitted as part of the solemnization ceremony. Ideally couples wishing to observe, e.g., the Chinese tea ceremony, are advised to hold these prior to, or after the solemnization ceremony while still observing the national guidelines for social distancing.
7. Are Photos Allowed?
You can still have a session to help you remember your special day by taking pictures of you and your guests, but in light of the social distancing regulations, no huddles or group photos will be permitted.
Yours and your guests’ safety is your responsibility, and couples are encouraged to ensure that all attendees observe the necessary safe management measures, including temperature checks, and ensuring that everyone is healthy and cleared to attend the solemnization. You may also wish to encourage your guests, especially if they fall in the more vulnerable groups, to refrain from attending the solemnization in person. Instead, they can join in the celebrations safely via virtual attendance that can be organized with your photography and videography vendor.
For more information on Marriage solemnization and receptions, please refer to the official COVID FAQs here.