the how (part 2)

Photo by Halfray (post- processed by Author)

Dearest ______,

Previously, on the how (part 1).

The moment you decide on throwing a wedding party (however small that may be), things are bound to get a little more complicated than, say, winging it in Vegas with an Elvis impersonator and a dinner- for- two. Here are some helpful points though, which afforded us a relatively complication- free intimate wedding party in Singapore:-

1) Research

After establishing the wedding date and the Little Red Dot as our wedding location, we immediately went online.  Two of the most reputable references for such things are websites  The Wedding Bureau Singapore and Singapore Brides.

Both sites have all the wedding information you need, down to “How to Choose a Ring” and “How to find a Wedding Solemnizer”.   If you are no stranger to basic research surfing the internet, there isn’t any excuse why their instructions, forums, and many useful links cannot help you master your own DIY wedding.   It’s like “life- hacking” for weddings all over the internet these days!

For our Reference: a truly intimate French Bistro wedding in Singapore, back in 2009  (Photo by Justin Mott).

Aside from the logistics of a Singapore wedding, we also wanted to know of couples who’d successfully done what we were aiming to do.

And while there is no lack of “intimate wedding” blogs, one that truly stuck with us was an article about a wedding of 40 guests for only $10,000 dollars, right here in Singapore!  After reading about some of their struggles while circumventing the “Asian” concept of huge weddings, it was so much more inspiring to go for what we’d always believed in ourselves:

“Don’t be afraid to go small. Bigger really doesn’t necessarily mean better…

… Going small allows much greater control over what you like/dislike, and also greater room for creativity and an expression of your style. …

… We went with what was important to us (people closest to us, good photographer, good food) and didn’t feel compelled to go with tradition…”  

Photo by Halfray (post- processed by Author)

Of course it didn’t hurt that we had the most supportive friends like Angel, Panda, wwwetworks, Halfray, and the others who lent us time, talents, and advice as we went along.

2) ROM (Registry of Marriage)

One of the most important- and often overlooked- areas of the wedding is the one that ultimately makes sense of it all.   The Court… or the Church… or the Elvis, or whatever officiating body rocks your boat.

In Singapore, whether you want to marry under a Religious sect or just have it under Civil Law, one must go through Singapore’s Registry of Marriage .  And that we did.

A simple summary of getting hitched in Singapore: Register online, Verify your documents in person, Get married! (Photo by Jawo Bolivar, post- processed by Author)

Requirements for Filing your Marriage online

a) registration of marriage should be done 3 months to 21 days before the intended wedding date / Solemnization

b) both have to be of legal age (21 years +)

c) both have to nullify existing prior marriages, if any

d) both should not be practicing Muslims – because this would have to go through another ROM Department

e) both should be residents of Singapore for at least 15 days prior to the wedding date/ Solemnization

f) a registration fee has to be paid online (fees vary from couple- to – couple, as shown on their “fee calculator” )

g) two witness and their details have to be registered together with the marriage application as well

h) a Solemnizer’s License number should be provided (which implies that you’d already have engaged one prior to the registration)

Our funny and warm Solemnizer, Mr. Chong Hoi Ying.
Photo by Halfray (post- processed by Author)

Looking for a Solemnizer was the trickiest bit of the whole process.  Admittedly, we might have looked for one a little too close to the registration date.  They have a list of licensed Solmenizers (ranging from religious leaders, to government officials, or even University lecturers).  The challenge is to find one who’ll give you that extra bit of warmth and pizzazz during your wedding day.

I’ve actually read up a great deal on getting just the right person to officiate your wedding.  There are a lot of forums online discussing this sole topic: horror stories of Solemnizers with a bit of diva attitude (you wouldn’t want that added stress on your big day!), to those extraordinary ones who really make a difference by the way they talk and carry the ceremony.   There are “rock star Solemnizers” (repeatedly spoken of and recommended online) who get booked as early as one year before the actual weddings happen!

Photo by Jawo Bolivar (post- processed by Author)

Luckily, out of the 6 Solemnizers who replied to our enquiries, we booked a very kind ex- Government servant named Mr Chong Hoi Ying.  He really went out of his way to meet up with us months before the wedding, just to know who we were and brief us of what to expect in our marriage (believe me, some of them just ask you to email documents, never meeting or knowing you until the day itself).  He brought in a lot of laughs during the ceremony too.

3) Dropbox

We created a shared folder on Dropbox, where we could edit/ upload/ access all our wedding- related stuff from a “cloud” on the internet (we could easily access it through our phones too, any time of the day).


Our sub- folders ranged from the more serious items like quotations, payment receipts, booking confirmations, a detailed running account of our wedding savings and spendings, to the more casual folders bearing reference images of the nicest wedding details on the Internet and our own handiwork of invitations and other design drafts.


4) Excel File

We downloaded a nifty DIY- Excel file from a very practical wedding website which clearly itemised the things we needed to think of for the wedding (Do- It- Yourself, because the file basically contains a summarised bulk of tasks supposedly done by a wedding planner- which they assume you are not engaging since you have downloaded said Excel sheet).


Tabs within the APWWedding DIY Wedding Workbook we found useful were:

– Finance

The Excel format made it so much easier to add/ subtract amounts in keeping track of the wedding fund.  The key is to keep all receipts and record them- even those from purchasing the Guestbook’s $1.50 pens!

Guest list

Intimacy was key, where we had established a small amount of 40-45 guests to minimise co-ordination, cost, and overall cacophony.

Vendors List

Again, we narrowed down our vendors to the essential things that were truly necessary to a simple and chic  wedding:

a) photographer

b) venue (inclusive of catering)

c) florist

d) make- up artist

e) cake baker

General Schedule

This was an ever- changing list of day- to – day errands we had to do during weekends we found time and effort to do them, all prior to the wedding.

Wedding Day Schedule

This was more like a detailed Programme of the wedding day itself.  This, we sent out to all the relevant vendors a week or two before, so they could adjust their working time and tactics according to the proceedings.

Photo by Halfray (post- processed by Author)

While it seems like a ton of work when I explicitly map it out this way, imagine how much longer the lists would’ve been if we had a wedding 2500 kilometers from here!

After squeezing wedding errands  in between office work 5-6 times a week, practicing and gigging with our bands once or twice a month, small collaborative projects on the side, traveling here and there, daily personal/ domestic tasks…  I can very well say that an intimate wedding quite easily summarized in a letter like this, was the best way to go.



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Photography and text by Author unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.

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