Singaporebrides | Weddings 101
Your COVID-19 Singapore Wedding Regulations Questions Answered
Wedding planning is hard enough, but throw in the coronavirus and things can get downright confusing! We’re here to answer your questions about meeting COVID-19 wedding regulations in Singapore.
Updated 29 September 2020, 6:54p.m.
When you and your love began planning for the happiest day of your lives, you couldn’t have imagined your wedding plans being disrupted by COVID-19. During what should have been a wonderfully exciting time, you’re might be feeling disheartened or overwhelmed by uncertainties and fears about the global pandemic. It’s tough to have to postpone your new chapter, or set aside your dream wedding in order to meet the new Singapore COVID-19 wedding regulations. We want you to know we’re with you! We’re all facing this pandemic together, and for those of you with questions about weddings in Singapore in Phase 2, we’re here to help.
1. Should we postpone our wedding?
The COVID-19 situation is changing day by day, and if your wedding was scheduled for the later part of the year, you might be wondering whether things will settle down by then, or if you should postpone your celebration. Talk to your partner and decide if you would prefer to wait till you can celebrate with all of your loved ones at a later date, or if you want to stick to your wedding date no matter what, even if that means hosting most of your guests virtually.
With so many uncertainties, it’s best to come up with a contingency plan as well. The sooner you get in touch with your wedding vendors, the easier it will be to discuss the possibility of an intimate solemnisation or a postponement.
2. What should we tell our guests?
Your guests may also have made major arrangements to celebrate your big day, so do let them know as early as possible if you’ve had to change your wedding plans. Put up a message on your website or Facebook page or send out a text to notify them of your postponement, or if you’ve had to cancel your big celebration to comply with the intimate solemnisation regulations.Hailey and Clifford’s Exquisite Wedding at The White Rabbit by Bridelope Productions
3. How do we change our plans with our wedding vendors?
Inform your wedding vendors of possible changes in your plans as soon as you can so that you can come up with alternative arrangements together. Most wedding vendors will allow you to postpone their services to a new date, subject to availability, but do remember that dates can be very limited as many other couples are also postponing their weddings. Check out our list of wedding vendors who have flexible terms to help couples during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act 2020 passed on 20 April 2020 also offers relief from forfeiting your deposits if you’re unable to fulfil your wedding contracts for contracts entered into before 25 March 2020 and for contractual obligations to be performed on or after 1 February 2020. In the Second Reading Speech, Minister of Law Mr. K Shanmugam has said that as we do not know how long this situation will last, the Bill will be valid for six months, i.e., till 19 October 2020, and the Minister for Law will be given power to extend it up to one year. You will need to serve a Notification for Relief on the other party to the contract to enjoy the reliefs under the Act. Find out if you’re eligible for relief here.
4. Can we go out for pre-wedding photography?
Photography services are among the activities allowed to resume in Phase 2, and parks and public facilities have also reopened from 19 June 2020. According to the Infocomm Media Development Authority, no more than 10 persons including yourselves and your vendors may be on location, and no more than 5 persons may be in a photo at any given time. You are allowed to remove your masks during the pre-wedding photography session, although a couple of shots with your masks on would be a cool keepsake of these unprecedented times!
When shooting in public parks, you’re limited to visiting in groups of up to 5 pax, including your vendors. Check safedistparks.nparks.gov.sg before heading down, to make sure the park you want to visit isn’t too crowded. You might be limited to local pre-wedding photography for the time being, but we’ve discovered 40 photography locations in Singapore where you can get stunning shots with just a little more exploration and sense of adventure!Rachel and Aaron’s Intimate and Unplugged Wedding at Maison Miaja by Andri Tei Photography
5. How do we hold our solemnisation at home?
You’re allowed to solemnise your wedding virtually and at the Registry of Marriage. You’re also allowed to hold your solemnisation ceremony in your own home, or in the home of one of your immediate family members. The COVID-19 wedding regulations on Singapore Government Agency website GoBusiness state that the ceremony can involve up to 10 persons, excluding the Licensed Solemniser, and vendors (kept to a minimum) allowed to resume operations for your solemnisation.
The couple and the homeowner are responsible for the safety of all guests attending your solemnisation, so do comply with safety measures such as taking the temperatures of your guests, ensuring everyone wears a mask, maintaining safe distances, reporting contact details of each guest to your solemniser at least 1 day prior to your event, and keeping the attendance record for 14 days for contact tracing purposes. Encourage the vulnerable, such as seniors, not to attend in person but to witness your vow exchange safely by using technology.Xue Qi and Chun Wai’s Ethereal and Romantic Vow Renewal Styled Shoot at Buangkok Crescent Field by Present on Pixels
6. Can we hold our solemnisation at an outside venue?
Solemnisations of up to 20 pax have been allowed at outside venues since the beginning of Phase 2 on 19 July 2020. From 4 August 2020, the Ministry of Health expanded that figure to up to 50 pax. The new 50 pax regulation applied to places of worship and common areas of housing blocks in addition to external venues such as restaurants and function spaces.
The Ministry of Health has announced that from 3 October 2020, they will be expanding the current pilot for wedding receptions at external venues such as restaurants and places of worship to allow up to 100 unique attendees (including the wedding couple, excluding vendors and service providers). This number is subject to venue capacity and ability to comply with safe distancing measures. Guests will have to be split into groups of up to 50 persons each, either through multiple zones or staggered timings. Your guests should be seated in fixed groups of up to five people only, with 1 metre of safe distance between groups and no intermingling. However, your bridal entourage can comprise up to 20 people, including yourselves. You and the venue operators must ensure that safe management measures according to the COVID-19 wedding regulations are in place. All guests should download and activate the TraceTogether app and check in and out of the venue via SafeEntry.
The Ministry also announced that starting in November 2020, they will be launching a pilot which will allow wedding receptions organised by a registered wedding organiser to take place at Housing Development Board (HDB) common areas, such as void decks and Multi-Purpose Halls managed by Town Councils. More details will be revealed later.
7. Can we remove our masks for the solemnisation ceremony?
According to GoBusiness, if you don’t want to wear face masks, you’re allowed to wear face shields during your solemnisation. You may remove your masks or face shields for key moments such as during the march-in and out, the exchanging of the vows and rings, the highly-anticipated “You may now kiss the bride” moment, as well as briefly for photo-taking. To protect your attendees and discourage community spread, you must maintain a 2-metre distance from your attendees whenever you take off your masks or shields.
8. Can we serve food at our solemnisation?
You’re not allowed to serve food and beverages as part of your solemnisation ceremony; however, you may hold one wedding reception at an external venue such as a restaurant either on the same day as your solemnisation or on a separate day.
If you hold your wedding reception back-to-back with your solemnisation at the same venue, with effect from 3 October 2020, the entire event is subject to an overall cap of 100 persons excluding your solemniser. If you hold a separate wedding reception from your solemnisation, the cap of 100 guests split across multiple zones or staggered timings of up to 50 persons each (effective 3 October 2020) applies to each event, and you may invite different guests to your solemnisation and your wedding reception.
You’re not allowed to serve food at a solemnisation in a place of worship. Self-service buffets are also not allowed. For more information, see the Marriage Solemnisations and Receptions FAQs on GoBusiness.
9. What are the zoning and staggered timing requirements?
Effective 3 October 2020, you are allowed to host solemnisations and wedding receptions with up to 100 guests each, unless you’re holding both at the same venue, in which case the total number of guests is capped at 100, excluding your solemniser and licensed vendors.
You must split your guests into either physical zones of up to 50 persons each with a 3-metre distance or partition between zones, or staggered timing slots of up to 50 persons each with at least 30 times in between slots to allow for disinfection and cleaning. Staggered timing slots can include lunch and dinner slots in the same venue on the same day.
No intermingling between zones or staggered timings is allowed. Only the wedding couple may briefly cross zones for photo-taking. The wedding party of up to 20 persons may stay for both staggered timings, although they may not cross zones. Vendors are not confined to a zone or timing slot. For more information, see the Marriage Solemnisations and Receptions FAQs on GoBusiness.Claire and Darryl’s Blissful Wedding at Tamarind Hill by Dapper Pictures
10. Can we host gatecrashes or tea ceremonies at home?
The same rules for visiting a different household apply if you’re planning on hosting a gatecrash or a tea ceremony in your home. Only 5 visitors are allowed to your home each day, so your tea ceremony will have to be an intimate one. Guests are supposed to keep masks on except when eating or drinking. If you’re offering refreshments, remember to include separate serving utensils. Remind guests to check their temperatures and to refrain from attending if they are feeling unwell.
11. How can we share our ceremony virtually with family and friends?
The easiest way is to ask your videographer about live streaming your ceremony so your family and friends can celebrate with you virtually. If you prefer to stream your solemnisation yourselves, you can set up a Zoom meeting or use Facebook or Instagram Live. A little bit of extra effort will create a better virtual experience for your guests, such as by getting a tripod for your devices, adding a microphone so everyone can hear, and making sure your venue has a great internet connection so nothing drops! You can get someone to man the camera for the best angles throughout the ceremony, and even get that friend to emcee the ceremony for your virtual guests! Remember to troubleshoot your set up before the big day, and consider walking your less tech-savvy VIPs (here’s looking at you, grandma) through the technology so they don’t miss out on your actual solemnisation.
If you’re sharing your ceremony on Zoom, get a pro account so the feed doesn’t cut off after 40 minutes, and send out your meeting details ahead of time. With a Zoom meeting, you have the option of adding multiple camera angles into your meeting, to capture both your faces during the vows as well as you in front of the solemniser. Consider muting your guests during the vows so that the stream doesn’t jump to someone else, and turning the volume on at the end so they can shout their congratulations!
You can opt for a Facebook Live video if your senior family members are more likely to use Facebook than Instagram or Zoom, and either make the video public on your profile and send your profile link to all of your guests so they don’t need to add you as a friend to view it, or create a private group to keep your solemnisation video between you and your invited guests.
To meet the COVID-19 wedding regulations, your celebration may not look like the big day you had envisioned. It’s perfectly fine to take a breath and allow yourself to grieve the loss of your dream wedding. Know that COVID-19 cannot change what is most important—you and your love are making a lifelong commitment to each other. Your wedding may look different from your original plans, but you can use this opportunity to hold a more personal and intimate celebration that’s truly about the two of you. Rock your wedding global-pandemic-style!
Credits: Feature image from Elizabeth and Chong Jun’s Spontaneous Solemnisation Ceremony at The Fullerton Hotel Singapore by Caline Ng Photography