It is with heavy hearts that we say that we will be postponing our wedding reception to the latter half of the year,” the text to our guests read. Imran and I  made the decision to postpone our wedding reception 8 days before the actual day.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Planning this wedding has taught me, above all else, that nothing can ever be certain. With the Coronavirus pandemic unfolding day by day, and with regulations being released every few days or so, we have all been on our toes.

Precautions had to be taken and put in place: We’ve had to arrange for thermometers and health declaration forms at registration, prepare hand sanitisers for every table, allocate timeslots to our guests to make sure the venue did not hold more than a certain amount of people at any point in time, reduce the number of seats to ensure that people are seated at least 1 metre apart from one another, and set up cue poles so that people do not stand too close to the buffet line. No couple should have to stress about ‘Social Distancing’ on the day they are meant to well, SOCIALISE!

The travel restrictions introduced problems too. I lost all my wedding photographers: 2 of them came from Malaysia and 2 from Indonesia. Imagine losing ALL your photographers 13 days before your wedding! 2 of Imran’s Groomsmen (both based overseas, one of whom was supposed to give his Best Man speech) and our friends from Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Hong Kong could not attend the wedding.

8 days before the wedding, we decided it was too risky to proceed with the wedding reception. The health and safety of our guests had to be our priorities. We spent the entire night calling our wedding planners and vendors and asked if they were willing to entertain the possibility of deferring the wedding reception. With all of them giving the green light, we decided to postpone the wedding reception but proceed with the solemnisation since we had already booked the Kadi’s (Wedding Solemniser) time.

With less than 36 hours to execute a solemnisation for close family and friends, our wedding planners and caterers SCRAMBLED to confirm a new venue (The wonderful Events team at The Fullerton Hotel pulled through), work on decor, scheduling, seating arrangement, and dinner. Now I truly know what being a wedding planner is like: you must always be ready to improvise, find solutions, and execute decisions promptly. At the end of the day, everyone pulled it off, and Imran and I are now husband and wife.

*Note: We found a new venue as we are going to keep the original venue for the wedding reception down the road.


Photo taken on the day of our Solemnisation, captured by Kahying

Our amazing Wedding Planner, Lelian. Her team has been nothing short amazing during these trying times,
adjusting and accommodating to changes on the whim. Photo by Stephanie.

Husband & Wife

… And that’s what matters at the end of the day right? That we can call each other ‘husband’ and ‘wife’, that we were solemnised in front of people nearest and dearest to us, and that we could overcome all of this together. We may have to wait an indefinite period for our wedding reception – but I think the fact that we have remained so calm and even candid about the whole situation attests to our unity as a couple. On the evening we decided to postpone the wedding, I remember we both looked at each other, I gave him a hug and we kissed – I felt calm with my decision. It was sort of an unspoken telepathic understanding that everything will be alright and that we have each other.

Photo taken on the day of our Solemnisation, captured by Kahying

Surprisingly, I did not shed a tear during the whole postponement fiasco (Instead, I cried about sentimental thoughts like my friend Airin being saved by her boyfriend Yi Chieh during an imaginary would-you-give-up-your-life-for-your-partner-if-you-were-stuck-in-a-room-with-her-and-only-one-person-can-get-out scenario). I have heard from event vendors that couples have called them, crying on the phone because the virus has left them postponing or cancelling their wedding. I can only imagine how important their wedding must have meant.

If your wedding is affected by the virus, and if you are feeling exhausted, weary and defeated (wedding couples who have gone through my experience will tell you “WHAT ELSE CAN LIFE THROW AT US AT THIS POINT?!”), I only have this one thing to say to you: nothing is more important than you and your partner, and the people around you at this point in time. If you and your family are healthy, and if you have them and your friends by your side, that is all that matters.

Now… Let’s Talk Money.

Realistically, apart from reeling from the disappointment of postponing my wedding, there are the deposits and payments made to my vendors that have left me worrying. I’ve paid for the venue, decor, outfits, AV equipment, photographers, videographers, catering, performances – all of which have not been utilised, and will not be utilised until the situation gets better. I have full confidence and trust in my vendors – they have assured me that a postponement is completely fine and that they cannot wait to be a part of our reception once we have a confirmed date. But if I may be frank, it is a significant amount of money, and to see that money go from your savings… it leaves one naturally anxious.

I spoke with 3 readers who had to postpone their wedding, and I asked if they have “paid any deposits, and if so [are they] worried?”

Charis from Malaysia made deposits to “photographers, videographers, the church, hotel, decorators, etc.” Like me, she feels “super blessed because [the vendors] are all very understanding and are open to the idea of putting the wedding on hold for everyone’s safety and health”.

Kel from Indonesia “paid … [deposits to almost all her] vendors.” She had to, unfortunately, lose some of her deposits as it was difficult to find a common date where “all main vendors will be available”. But with the support and help from her wedding organiser, she was able to come to an agreeable decision amongst the vendors, she added that “most of them are very understanding during this difficult time”.

Feliza from Singapore has a tough decision to make, come August she has to foot 50% of her October hotel banquet dinner, a dinner which she does not even know can proceed in October. She is also postponing her overseas Pre-Wedding Shoot (which she already paid in full) to AFTER the wedding, since the shoot was originally intended to take place at an overseas destination. Thankfully, her photographers, videographers, and makeup artist have not been booked. She’s “taking this time to look into options”. Apparently, according to Feliza, there are “some brides trying to sell their packages with popular sought-after videographers” who are unable to accommodate to other dates.

Finances are never an easy thing to talk about, but if you have vendors whom you trust, and if you have had discussions with them about postponing your reception, and if they are willing to work around a new date for you (which I believe, most of them will). I guess it’s all about letting go, making do with the situation at hand, and looking forward to a better safer period where celebrations can take place without thermometers and 1-metre demarcation lines.

Silver Linings

I joked with my husband (how great I can call him that now!), that he must be the “most difficult person to marry”, and that “out of 13 years together, he HAD TO choose this moment to get married”. He then threw me a pun and said, “this is truly Love In The Time of Coronavirus“.

Having fun amidst all the craziness. Photo by Stephanie.

Jokes aside, I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. Even though we have no finalised date for the reception, by postponing our wedding, I can finally have my Malaysian and Indonesian wedding photographers, Imran’s groomsmen, and our friends from overseas join us.

I’m also glad that this wedding preparation has brought me closer to family and friends. I have a deeper appreciation and love for the people around me (I really get sentimental when I think about them), and I have learned how to live in the present and take things as they come (every moment experienced should come from the heart, “pure joy” as I have been frequently saying).

When I asked Charis, Kel and Feliza on the silver linings that they have come to realise from this experience, Charis said: “Planning a wedding in the midst of a pandemic has definitely resulted in a [mix of emotions]. We were stressed, then hopeful, then back to being disappointed, and now, we are just thankful that our friends and loved ones are safe and healthy. This experience has really taught me to let go of things that I cannot control. Ultimately, it has also taught me to focus on the marriage and not just the wedding!”

Kel has similar sentiments – planning her wedding has taught her not to worry too much, have faith and just let go. … A [wedding] is supposed to be [joyous] before, during, [and] after”.

Feliza concurs, and said while “the presence of everyone is important, … what’s more important is [everyone] feeling safe and assured [enough] to attend our wedding. After all, it’s a joyous event.”

And I can only agree.

Being the only crazy one on the dancefloor by the end of the night. Photo by Stephanie.

Love,
Drea

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