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Essay

Before saying ‘I do’

By Tan Ying Zhen

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My fiance and I are getting married in October. Fortunately, we both want a simple wedding with minimal fuss. Unfortunately, some things still require more fuss than we would like.

The most crucial thing was getting someone to officiate the wedding solemnization. In Singapore, the simplest way is to hold the ceremony at the office of the Registry of Marriages, or ROM. Just book an appointment slot on your preferred date and show up at the ROM. The solemnizer there assists with the procedure, including verifying your identities and necessary documents, confirming that both parties are entering the marriage of their own free will, and finally pronouncing the couple husband and wife.

However, this option is only available on weekdays and our wedding date would be on a Sunday. The alternative for us is having the solemnization at a restaurant, hotel or religious space, and inviting a licensed solemnizer, for example a justice of the peace, a community leader or a religious leader, from the online list provided by ROM.

This was the beginning of a time-consuming and inefficient process.

We looked through the long list of solemnizers and emailed one of them to ask if he’d be available. A few days later, he replied to say he wasn’t free. We moved on to the second, then a third, and a fourth, and a fifth ― and a few more as some declined our request, while others simply did not reply at all.

A colleague had a similar experience. With less than a month to go before her wedding, she ended up mass-emailing more than 30 solemnizers before finally securing one. My fiance and I had refrained from mass-emailing because it seemed insincere, but as my colleague put it, desperate times call for desperate measures.

After receiving yet another rejection, I said to my fiance, “Why can’t ROM just assign us a solemnizer based on availability? Surely an online booking system can be set up so couples don’t have to spend so much time emailing the solemnizers, and solemnizers don’t have to deal with a flood of requests.”

His diplomatic reply: “Perhaps some couples prefer to have a say in who they invite to solemnize their marriage. They may prefer a religious leader, or someone they can relate to.”

He was right. We found lists and reviews of recommended solemnizers on the internet. Apparently, popular solemnizers are “fully booked” months in advance. Some people even wrote detailed comments on the sense of humour and mannerisms of solemnizers.

Anyway, we finally found our solemnizer through a friend, who happened to know a grassroots leader. One big thing to tick off our to-do list, and we are now on to the next task: wedding bands ...

「誓います」と言う前に

来月結婚することが決まっている筆者。シンプルな挙式をしようということでフィアンセと意見が一致したまでは良かったが、実際の手続きを始めてみると、なかなかスムーズにいかないことも…。

The Japan Times ST: September 30, 2016

The Japan Times ST 読者アンケート

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