Singaporebrides | Essentials
Elizabeth and Chong Jun’s Spontaneous Solemnisation Ceremony at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore
As soon of news of stricter social distancing measures were announced for the Circuit Breaker period, Elizabeth and Chong Jun decided to bring forward their solemnisation ceremony… to the very next day! They celebrated their union with the stipulated 10 people at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
For the owner of Liz Florals, Elizabeth, who has been doing flowers for others’ weddings for a long time now, planning her own wedding would have been a piece of cake. That was before COVID-19 struck. Elizabeth and Chong Jun found themselves in the same boat as all other couples who have had their wedding affected due to the implementation of stricter social distancing measures that have continually been changing. Elizabeth and Chong Jun refused to allow the virus destroy their plans, and eventually decided spontaneously to bring forward their solemnisation to the very next day. With ten of their closest family members, they celebrated their beautiful union with an intimate celebration at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore.
Share with us your story. How did the two of you meet?
Both: We met in Sydney! We stayed at the same university hostel when I went over for a student exchange program while he was studying there as a full-time student.
What drew you to each other? What is it about your partner that you love the most?
Liz: His laugher definitely caught my attention! But what I love most is his kind heart.
CJ: How she carries herself in front of others and how she is very genuine!
What was the proposal like?
Liz: After what was supposed to be his early birthday dinner celebration, he suggested that we headed up to the bar for some drinks. After we sat down, he immediately excused himself to use the restroom.
He came back with flowers, a handmade photo collage, and the ring box. I was already lounging at the bar’s daybed without shoes at that point! It was quite a hilarious sight. He had to ask if I wanted to stand up and wear my shoes before he started his speech!
As a vendor-turned-bride, share with us your wedding planning journey. Did being a wedding florist prepare you well for your own wedding planning? What was the first three items on your to-do list?
Liz: I think it did prepare me well! The first three things I knew I had to do was to settle our wedding date, followed by the venue, and then my photographer. Photographers tend to get booked out very quickly thus I’d recommend to secure your slot with them once you’ve decided on your wedding date. We took our time with everything else after that! As for the aesthetics for the day, we decided not to have a wedding theme. Our main focus was for our guests to enjoy good food and have a great time!
We heard that you had to postpone your wedding banquet due to COVID-19 measures. What was it like to be a bride in this unprecedented time? How did you cope with the ever-changing COVID-19 situation and changes?
Liz: Being both a wedding vendor and bride, I could see the two sides very well. I understand the worries of both parties – the loss of income when weddings are postponed, and the disappointment when there are drastic changes to a celebration that was planned months in advance. It’s definitely a crazy time when couple who had planned to get married during this first half of 2020 had to make changes and feel disappointment every time we hear about the rising COVID-19 cases and stricter social distancing rules.
If anything, we relied a lot on each other as well as our parents and bridal party during this time. We shared our worries and our numerous “plans” (which of course did not go according to our initial plans anyway) with the constant changes every week.
Due to the sudden implementation of the Circuit Breaker, you had to bring forward your intimate solemnisation ceremony. Tell us how you managed to pull it off. How did you feel and what were the difficulties you faced during that period of time?
Liz: The limit for crowds at weddings went from a maximum of 500 pax to 250 pax, and then to 10 pax just in a span of a few weeks. Finally, the announcement of the Circuit Breaker happened where no gatherings were allowed at all. When it was announced on 3rd April 2020 (Friday), we decided on the next morning to hold our solemnisation on 5th April (Sunday). This was one of the most impromptu and spontaneous decisions we’ve made!
We had to rush down to ROM before it closed at 12pm on Saturday to collect the certificates, check if our JP was available, arrange for a new venue that allowed for a 10 pax gathering with our family. We also had to arrange for our photographer and makeup artist to come down the next day, collect our wedding bands and my gown, and write our own vows. I also rushed down to the flower nursery to buy flowers and arranged my wedding bouquet.
We were not even sure until an hour before the solemnisation whether our new plans could go according to plan. It was a very “in the moment” weekend for us. In retrospect, we are thankful to be able to solemnise our marriage with the mindset that the only thing we can be sure of is each present moment.
Despite having to postpone your wedding banquet and bring forward your solemnisation ceremony, was there any silver lining? How did your family and friends, and vendors support you during this difficult and stressful time?
Liz: CJ and I love big parties and gatherings. We’d always imagined getting married or solemnised in front of our loved ones, our relatives and our friends. COVID-19 definitely resulted in a solemnisation that was totally different from what we had originally envisioned. But we were so lucky that everything fell into place and that our families were so supportive of our extremely “last minute” decision. They made themselves free from any prior commitments. They didn’t question our decision and they gave us their blessings. We were also able to share this special milestone and celebration with our friends by live-streaming our solemnisation on Instagram.
A special shoutout to Mr Cheong Chee Onn (JP), JANNPAUL, Caline Ng Photography, Jas from Makeup Maestro Wedding, Amanda Lee Weddings , Joe’s Tailoring, and The Fullerton Hotel Singapore who were so patient with us and made this experience so special in light of the COVID-19 situation.
With the current COVID-19 situation expected to persist for the next few months, brides are facing a lot of uncertainties in their wedding planning, with some feeling stressed out over whether they can postpone their wedding without forfeit and when they can actually get married safely. Do you have any words of advice for them, as a bride who has experienced postponing your wedding and having to bring forward your solemnisation, and as a vendor who might have to deal with brides who have postponed their wedding due to COVID-19?
Liz: Do take heart that plans may keep changing, but it’s worth talking to your partner and your families about your concerns. Feel free to reach out to your wedding vendors on their updated cancellation or postponement policies during this period as well. If possible, consider postponing your wedding instead of cancelling it.
Trust that although this year may not be what we all expected it to be, it reminds us of three important things in life: cherishing our loved ones and our time with them, being present in the everyday, and taking care of our health.
Planning a wedding in the face of COVID-19 is definitely an experience to remember. Keep breathing and know that no problem is too big for both you and your significant other to tackle. You can look back at this time and know that you came out stronger together. That will be a story to tell!
If there is one lesson to be learned through this COVID-19 period, what would you say it is?
Liz: I think it’s important to remind ourselves to never expect anything and to approach every day with an open mind and heart. Only then can we be grateful for the many silverlinings out there that come our way.
The Venue: The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, Loft Suite
The Gown: Amanda Lee Weddings
The Suit: Joe’s Tailoring
The Wedding Bands: JANNPAUL
The Wedding Photographer: Caline Ng Photography
The Hairstylist and Makeup Artist: Makeup Maestro Wedding (Jas)
The Florist: Liz Florals
The Solemniser: Mr Cheong Chee Onn
The Wedding Resource: SingaporeBrides
Credits: Images by Caline Ng Photography
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