In April, more than a thousand couples across Singapore were dealt the sudden news of having to postpone their marriage if it had been scheduled between April 7 to May 4. Having a major life milestone thwarted by a global pandemic is definitely a bummer, but couples have had no choice but to comply. After all, it is the socially responsible thing to do to cooperate with the circuit breaker measures while they are in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
But now, couples can rejoice again because of a new bill recently passed in Parliament! On Tuesday, May 5, the new legislation under the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures for Solemnisation and Registration of Marriages) Bill was passed to permit civil and Muslim marriage solemnisations and registration to be performed virtually through video correspondence.
If you are affected by the measures, or are planning to get married quite soon, here’s what you need to know about this new bill.
THE NEW BILL AIMS TO ASSIST COUPLES
This new legislation is being implemented to support couples who may be facing extenuating circumstances. Not all couples may take well to the alternative of postponement, which is why the authorities have decided to make virtual solemnisations allowed and recognised.
KEY PROCESS WILL BE PERFORMED VIA VIDEO LINK
You might be wondering: How does a virtual solemnisation work? Under the new bill, it will take place through video link. This means that the couple, witnesses, wali, licensed solemniser, kadi, or naib kadi do not all need to be in the same physical venue for the solemnisation to take place. These key marriage processes conducted through video link will be considered equally valid under the law, as those normally done in person.
THE LAW MAY KICK IN AS EARLY AS THIS MONTH
The new legislation was only passed last Tuesday, but it is expected to come into effect as soon as mid-May. This is to address the growing number of couples who are being affected by postponements since April.
Couples who wish to postpone their wedding until they can celebrate together with family and friends can still do so. Officers from the Registry of Marriages (ROM) and Registry of Muslim Marriages (ROMM) will offer assistance regarding postponements, and help to waive or refund any related fees.
SOLEMNISERS WILL RECEIVE TRAINING
Getting a marriage solemnised remotely is equally new to couples here as it is for the solemnisers. While it will take some warming up to, ROM and ROMM are making it a priority to train up their solemnisers to be familiar with the process and technology. Ultimately, the authorities are working to ensure that all these remote correspondences will be done properly to maintain the validity of these marriages. For Muslim marriages, due attention will also be given to observe religious laws appropriately.
THERE WILL BE SAFEGUARDS IN PLACE
While remote solemnisations become a thing, the government also wants to ensure it does not compromise the integrity of marriages. Thus, they have put in place multiple safeguards to allow only legitimate marriages to be solemnised and registered.
ROM and ROMM hold the discretion to determine if each marriage application is eligible for the video link arrangement. For couples with foreign-issued documents for verification, they will still have to do so in person.
Furthermore, the couple, witnesses, and wali must all be in Singapore at the time of performing these key processes. As the new bill rolls out, priority will first be given to couples with at least one Singapore citizen or permanent resident.
If you are one of the couples about to celebrate your union, you can finally heave a sigh of relief! While you will still have to wait before you can have your wedding proper, at least some of the key processes like marriage registration and solemnisation can still go on.
HERE ARE SOME TIPS FROM US TO PREPARE YOUR VIRTUAL SOLEMNIZATION
- Discuss your preferences and specific requirements if any. Get the right pair of wedding rings that suit you. The wedding rings symbolises your union and you will be wearing it for the lifetime. Choose the ring that you like!
- Wear your favourite dress and suit for the occasion even though you are doing it at home. It is a special day and you deserve to look amazing.
- Get the flowers that you love.
- Share your happy moments on fb live or zoom and have your family present in your ROM even though they can’t be there physically.
Here at Love & Co., we also wish to support all couples in their journey towards matrimony. We are available for virtual consultations and online purchases of wedding bands and diamond rings. We have masterclasses to guide everyone on choosing their wedding bands too. Ask us everything you’ve wanted to know about our new lab grown diamonds in Singapore and diamond certifications.
We look forward to being a part of your marriage story!