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Dear Covid 19

Dear COVID-19,

 

Michelle:

Aaron & I got engaged in late 2018 and were really excited to get married SOON. After all, we had dated for almost five years. We took a deep breath when our service pastor suggested taking a year to do the marriage course in church, rather than booking the soonest date possible. And so we did. In the meantime, I joined the cathedral choir and met some amazing musicians, including our favourite church organist who agreed to play at our wedding. I’d also managed to invite my JC choir friends to sing for the marriage service, and was so excited to walk in with my dad and dance out to the organ recessional.

 

Aaron:

Planning was actually pretty fun. We had it all sorted out – the venues, musicians, guest lists, even the wine to go with the food. Our plans started unravelling bit by bit as 2020 went on. Things started looking progressively worrying. First, the family lunch had to go – concerned older relatives were sending anxious messages. Next, the dinner with friends had to be nixed – no large group gatherings, please. Finally, even the scaled-down ceremony in church had to be cancelled.

 

Our friends and family celebrated with us, wearing their PJs and clapping from their “front-row seats”.

Michelle:

Although it was undoubtedly disappointing, COVID-19 brought along its blessings. We had long agreed to do away with questionable traditions, and never wanted a gatecrash or a hotel ballroom anyway. With COVID-19, the unspoken pressures and obligations had melted away. And more than ever, through our talks, we became increasing sure that the long work of marriage would never be captured in a wedding alone. It seemed strange to postpone the marriage just because we had to postpone physical gatherings. We now had a baseline for our decisions: To get married even if we could not have the wedding we planned for.

 

Aaron:

As it turns out, Michelle moved in once WFH arrangements began for her office, preceding the circuit breaker by just under a week. She was stuck with me ( :O ). As 2 May drew ever closer, the e-wedding idea that started off as a whimsical plan slowly started taking shape. We had a call with our pastor, who was really understanding and supportive of the plan. I looked through long-unopened boxes, and found a mixer and microphone that I bought >10 years back (then thinking of becoming a YouTube star, not knowing that they would ever be used for an important life event 10 years later). We were ready to roll with our Zoom wedding.

 

Michelle:

Far away from my family, I briefed my dad on how to dress and what to say on camera, and forced my mum to do an “audition” for a hymn on the piano. (Only to “fire” her and sing by ourselves, for logistical simplicity, instead.) Aaron’s parents made us breakfast, and a prototype tripod using a ladder and some duct tape. We experimented with repurposing the reception decor from Taobao. Aaron’s younger sis stepped up as the wedding director, managing four cameras across three venues, broadcast on Facebook Live not just to friends in SG, but in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam… and as far as Italy and the UK. Our friends and family celebrated with us, wearing their PJs and clapping from their “front-row seats”. Best of all, the WiFi never once failed us. We ordered lunch for both homes: French food, with celebratory wine and TEN cups of bubble tea sent to us by friends.

 

Aaron:

And so it happened – we still got (unofficially) married on 2 May, the official registration with ROM came 2 weeks later. Looking back, it still feels pretty surreal that we managed to pull off the wedding online. Yes – our lives have pretty much been turned upside down during this time. But a little can-do spirit can go quite far for some things.

 

(Now – on to e-learning about how to finish our flat’s half-completed renovations ourselves...)

Aaron and Michelle Goh

15 May 2020