Amidst the ever-changing restrictions and measures during the early days of the outbreak, these couples and their wedding planners managed to make their dream weddings come true

The emergence of the Covid-19 virus in early 2020 was a time of uncertainty. Little was known about the virus, and safety guidelines were constantly revised, putting social gatherings and events in jeopardy. This was especially so for weddings that have been planned long in advance, forcing couples and their vendors to quickly adapt to the restrictions and measures put in place.

However, three couples and their wedding planners and venues managed to pull through and make it work, leaving a lasting memory for the newlyweds and their guests. Read on to find out how they did it, with advice for couples who are navigating their own wedding plans amidst this pandemic.

Jessica and Alvin’s wedding at Capella Singapore

“As most of us know, these tumultuous times are a total nightmare for any wedding couple. All gatherings had to be 250 people or less, there had to be a one-metre distance between guests and all these implementations were put into place one day before my wedding,” said Jessica Sinclair, founder of The Yoga Mandala, about her wedding.

“The biggest challenge was the time frame we were working with—the wedding was planned for just one day after the implementation of new social distancing regulations, so the team really had to turn things around very quickly to make sure that our bride and groom had a day to remember,” recalled Dora Wong, creative style director at the Capella Singapore.

To accommodate new social distancing guidelines, the event had to be moved to a bigger space in Capella, which meant that the original seating arrangements and wedding decorations would no longer work.

“As well as adjusting the seating plans, this also meant totally reimagining the florals and decorative elements, since the new space was much bigger than the initial one we had planned to use, so we had to stretch the budget to ensure that it was still impactful.”

According to Jessica’s account, the team truly made her wedding a memorable one. “The ballroom doors opened and… I had stepped into a garden of beautiful smiles enveloped amongst a sea of blooming flowers and flickering candles. The mood of the room was set so beautifully that many guests were tearing throughout the banquet,” she recounted.

“Even though my wedding was held in the midst of Covid-19 and there were so many uncertainties… there was not a single moment where Capella gave me any reason to doubt them. They told me to enjoy my wedding, and they made that entirely possible. Beyond my wildest dreams.”

Dora’s advice

“My heart goes out to the couples who have had to postpone or cancel ceremonies during this time, however, stay strong and keep dreaming! Think of this as some bonus planning months to ensure that everything is perfect when your time finally comes. It’s also an opportunity to consider what’s most important to you—we’ve had a lot of couples who had initially planned larger weddings reduce the capacity and focus on close family and friends.”

Jia Jun and Darryl’s wedding at Tamarind Hill

Chefs Jia Jun and Darryl had originally planned a casual wedding lunch with a small guest list in mind—a maximum of 150 guests. When the outbreak started to worsen a month before the wedding, the couple, worried about the wellbeing of their guests, sent texts to update them about the safety measures they would take. They also gave guests the option to sit out of the event if they were uncomfortable.

“Eventually, the guest count did fall, but not as much as we were expecting. None of our guests raised concerns as we were implementing precautions such as temperature taking, hand sanitisers for door gifts, and alcohol wipes for every table.”

“We have been incredibly lucky to have had Chere as our wedding planners. They were calm, efficient and organised, incorporating new precautions we thought up and liaising with Tamarind Hill about our concerns. We really could not have done it so smoothly without them,” the couple expressed.

Explaining their standard operating procedure (SOP) in handling the changes that came with the Covid-19 pandemic, wedding planners Weiwei Tan, Herlina Makmur, and Sophia Lim at Chere Weddings & Events, shared that the first step was to determine the couple's comfort level with regards to postponing or downscaling the event, before advising further.

“We are constantly monitoring the outbreak globally as we have a high percentage of couples and families based overseas. We will also prepare a few backup plans so that we can swiftly put it together once a decision is made. For example, reaching out to update vendors and making postponement arrangements if necessary. Each couple has different factors that will lead to their final decision, so we remain adaptable and maintain the flexibility to downscale if the measures call for it and to prepare for a smaller ceremony to take place first, if possible.”

Weiwei, Herlina and Sophia’s advice

“For couples planning their wedding currently, we understand it is a very uncertain period. We would suggest that you identify what’s most important to you—for instance, whether it is paramount that your wedding takes place on the original date or if it is possible to postpone it so that overseas family members can attend. With the constantly changing landscape, remain flexible with your plans. It will also be good to have a few backup plans in place, to adapt to any measures that may be implemented at any point in time. Lastly, remain positive!

Irene and Zihao’s wedding at The Upper House, Hong Kong

“Organising a wedding during Covid-19 was not easy, especially as some of our closest friends and family were not able to fly in to Hong Kong due to travel restrictions. Ling and The Upper House team were absolutely fantastic and really supported us throughout this process—from helping work out numerous table layouts as our attendance numbers changed, to sending cars for our elderly relatives. They even helped organise a surprise video from Zihao's family which was one of our highlights from the day,” recalled the bride, Irene.

“It’s hard to pinpoint one biggest challenge since there were so many factors in the lead up to the wedding that caused the plans to be changed! From an operations perspective, I’d say that the day itself proved the most challenging,” said Ling Iu, events executive at The Upper House.

“The wedding was initially planned to take place on The Lawn, which is outdoors. However, a terrible storm rolled in, so we jumped into action to set up an indoor alternative. Then, 15 minutes before the wedding was due to start, the skies cleared, so we once again pulled together as a team and quickly set up the original venue so that the bride could get married outdoors, as planned,” 

Asked about their standard operating procedures (SOPs) for unexpected emergencies like these, Ling shared that there isn’t one set of SOP that could be applied to all scenarios, especially during this challenging time. Instead, they try to be as accommodating and supportive as possible.

“For example, when a guest could not meet the required minimum spend for the venue due to a significant decrease in numbers, we arranged for their additional food and beverage consumption during the hotel stay to be included. Any remaining amount could also be used in the future,” she said.

“I also try to share relevant news that might affect event planning with our guests, so that they don't have to browse through the overwhelming sea of information.”

Ling’s advice

“Stay calm. The worst thing to do is to panic. Unfortunately, this situation is very much out of our control, and the most important thing is not the wedding itself, but the love shared between the couple and the health and wellbeing of their friends and families. It’s important to remain focused on this, and trust that everything else will fall into place.”

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