Having to postpone their nuptials because of the movement control order (MCO) was a big disappointment for Muhammad Hazim Suhaimi and Norazliana Azham. But it was more important for them to ensure that the health and well-being of their family and friends was safeguarded.
“My love for my wife-to be will last a lifetime, so the date we get married on doesn’t matter. I will still be there for her even if we get married later, ” declares Hazim.
Hazim, 28, and Azliana, 26, were supposed to have their Akad Nikah on March 20, two days into the MCO, while their bersanding and reception was set for March 22 for which the couple was expecting up to 1,400 guests.
Although bookings were made and arrangements finalised, the couple didn’t hesitate in postponing their wedding: they did so almost immediately after the announcement of the MCO on March 16.
“It’s our social responsibility, ” says Hazim, a car workshop supervisor. “After all, we don’t know if there’s anyone who might not be in the pink of health attending the wedding, and infecting others. Some people might not even know they’re infected because they haven’t got any symptoms yet.”
“It’s sad and frustrating to have to postpone our wedding that we’ve been anticipating since the past year, but safety comes first and we’ll take it one step at a time, ” Azliana, an administration assistant, adds.
With the MCO in place until April 14, any kind of social gatherings are prohibited. This, of course, includes wedding feasts. Couples can still get married but the solemnisation ceremonies can only be attended by very close family.
Most of Hazim and Azliana’s guests were invited via an e-card and social media channels, so when it was postponed, they announced it the same way.
“Of course, for the elders and some of our relatives, our parents contacted them by phone to inform them, ” he says.
“We’re thankful to our parents for their support. They had no issues with postponing and agreed that it would be a risk to proceed with the wedding, ” Hazim says.
“Even our Imam was really cool. He totally understood and asked us to notify him about the new date once it’s set and he would check on his availability, ” he says.
The couple didn’t face any issues with the wedding suppliers because the postponement was due to the Coronavirus crisis and ensuing MCO, and not any personal reasons.
“Our wedding suppliers agreed to hold our deposit until the new dates are set, ” he says.
Hazim and Azliana, who have been together for four years since they “accidentally met” each other at a shopping mall when Azliana was buying fruits, are dating via social media (Facebook) and WhatsApp during the MCO.
Starting their marriage right
Jeremy Phua, 30, and Felicia Wee, 28, decided to postpone their wedding, which was supposed to take place on March 28, even before the MCO was imposed.
The practical couple concurred that it was “the responsible thing to do” when they decided on this, on March 15, a day before the official announcement.
For the couple, it is important to start their marriage right, that is, when it is no longer risky for their family and friends to witness their wedding.
“Things are so uncertain now. We haven’t set a new date yet but are tentatively looking at August. But it all depends on the Covid-19 situation, ” says Phua, who is a pastor.
“It’s all about starting the marriage right, and a marriage is not just about the wedding day only. A change in wedding date shouldn’t affect a strong marriage or relationship, so getting married at a later date shouldn’t be an issue, ” says the practical groom-to-be.
The couple, who met in church, have been together for four-and-a-half years, and have been planning their wedding for over a year.
“We were caught off-guard and rather disappointed that we will have to do all the planning again, ” Phua says.
“It’s sad to have to postpone our wedding, but we understand that it’s necessary in such a time as this, ” adds Wee, a teacher.
Although the idea of a virtual wedding did enter their minds, they couple prefer to have their kith and kin physically present to witness their big day.
“A virtual wedding is a smart idea but I prefer to have the physical presence of my family and friends, though, so to me, postponing to a later date is better, ” says Wee.
Fortunately for them, because of the extraordinary circumstances, the wedding vendors were understanding.
“All our vendors and suppliers were great. Our deposits were not forfeited and they didn’t charge us extra for postponing the wedding. Also, since it’s a postponement and not a cancellation, there wasn’t a need for any refund. Maybe if I risked losing tens of thousands of ringgit from postponing the wedding, I might have gone through with a virtual wedding. It would not be ideal but perhaps it would have been practical as I wouldn't want to start the marriage with a huge debt!” Phua says.
The couple are dating virtually during the MCO.
“Thankfully, there is technology to keep us connected virtually when we can’t go out physically, ” says Phua.
“We keep in touch via text during the day and have daily Skype nights just to have that sense of seeing each other, ” adds the bride-to-be.
Doing the responsible thing
College sweethearts Ernest Oh, 26, and Karmen Chee, 26, were all set to get married on March 28. Now, they aren’t sure when they will get to say “I do” as things are very much up in the air with the Covid-19 pandemic still raging.
“We had a tough time accepting that fact and had many sleepless nights trying to reach a decision.
“But we wanted to do the responsible thing because we didn’t want any of our family members or friends to risk getting infected, ” says Oh.
The couple, who have been dating for eight years, initially planned to downsize their wedding: from 700 guests, they decided to trim it down to 250 to meet the initial requirements of the MCO.
“We had many discussions back and forth with both sets of parents, deciding who to invite and who to let go, ” shares Oh, who is a business development executive.
But as Covid-19 reached the pandemic stage, the couple and both sets of parents agreed that the wedding should be postponed.
“It’s sad that something we’ve been looking forward to for such a long time has to be postponed, and just days before the date too, but the safety and welfare of our family and friends is important to us, ” adds Chee, a teacher at a child enrichment centre.
They informed their guests with personalised WhatsApp messages, and the elderly family members by phone.
“Our guests were really understanding. They agreed it was the best decision and even thanked us for doing the responsible thing, ” Oh says.
Most of their wedding vendors were willing to reschedule the date without imposing a penalty.
“Always know what you want before speaking to the vendors, ” he advises. “The restaurant already expected it because every other major event for the month was also postponed, and will hold the non-refundable deposit for a later date.”
The only issue they encountered was with their honeymoon arrangements.
“We had booked a package to Bali, and they offered us an option to postpone within a six-month period. But since no one knows how long the situation will last, we requested that the validity period be extended, ” Oh recounts, saying they are waiting for the vendor’s confirmation.
Oh and Chee are thankful that technology helps them “date” during the MCO.
“This kind of reminds us of the time when we were in a long-distance relationship when she went to Ireland to further her studies.
“As much as you plan things, sometimes the unexpected happens. The perfect wedding that we want will still happen, but at a later time, ” Oh says.
MEDIA GALLERY: Love of a lifetime
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