Childhood sweethearts Ernest Oh and Karmen Chee, both 27, got married in August 2020, delayed by five months or so because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“On our wedding day, I couldn’t believe it was really happening! It was something that I’ve always dreamed about, growing up and having the perfect wedding with the man I love, ” says Chee, a teacher at a child enrichment centre. “The day went by so quickly and it was a memorable day that both of us will never forget!” she adds.
“It was exciting on a whole different level: firstly, being able to carry out a once in a lifetime ceremony, and secondly, knowing that it’s happening during a momentous time historically because of the pandemic... something that we can tell our grandchildren about next time, ” says Oh, a manager at a home healthcare services provider in Selangor.
Oh and Chee concur that going through their wedding during the pandemic has taught them some useful lessons in life.
Their wedding was originally scheduled for March 2020, during the first movement control order and had to be postponed.
“We’re really thankful that we managed to find a window in August during the recovery MCO where the SOPs were relaxed to have our wedding ceremony, ” says Oh.
The couple, who got engaged in 2018, wanted to do "what was right and safe", not just for themselves but also their family and friends. Instead of following their original wedding day plan, they scaled it down to meet the SOP requirements.
“We had our wedding solemnisation in the morning, followed by a simple lunch reception. There was a large amount of space, so we were able to carry out the wedding comfortably and everyone cooperated and abided by the SOPs, ” says Oh.
Their original guest list was trimmed to merely a quarter of the original, and comprised only family and very close friends of the bride and groom.
“There were many that we couldn’t invite and we're really blessed that everyone understood our predicament and empathised with our situation. Everyone wished us well, ” says Chee.
“A few (family members and close friends) also weren’t comfortable with attending the wedding even though all the SOPs were in place, and we appreciate the fact that they were so transparent and honest with us, ” she says.
Oh and Chee did go through a few challenges getting married during the pandemic.
“We had to constantly seek clarification of the SOPs because the pandemic made everything fluid and things were changing so fast. There were many uncertain areas, and we didn’t want to do anything that was against the law, ” says Oh.
The couple choose to see things positively and take everything in its stride.
“The pandemic helps you identify what is really necessary. Every aspect of your planning will be challenged as the pandemic unfolds each day and changes things, so you’ve to really trust your partner and make decisions together, ” says Oh.
“You’ve to really share the burden and also allow your loved ones (family and close friends) to provide their input and insight into certain matters, ” adds Chee.
For Oh and Chee, Valentines Day is a good reminder to “remember to appreciate each other”.
“In our busyness, we might sometimes take each other for granted. But on special days like these, we learn to slow down and appreciate those we have in our lives, ” says Chee.
Oh concurs that it’s very important to appreciate the little things about each other.
“I love how she puts everything that she has into loving me and caring about those around her. She’s so encouraging and will always do what it takes to give me all the love and support that I need, ” he says.
The couple, who have been dating for a long time – eight years – before getting married, reveal that they “took all that time to get to know each other better and to learn to love each other better”.
“What keeps our romance alive is that we’re always very playful with each other, and we try to keep our relationship fun and lively, ” he says.
Each Valentines Day, the romantic couple will surprise each other with meaningful gifts.
“Usually, it’s something that we need but haven’t managed to get yet, ” says Chee.
“We’ll also have a nice dinner, ” says Oh.
“Of course, this year, with the pandemic and MCO, we’ve to be a bit more creative in appreciating and celebrating each other! We’ll most likely order food from a few places and have a nice picnic in bed!” the couple conclude.