31 December 2013, by Tan Li Lin
2013 has been a year of misunderstandings (thanks to Facebook).
First, it was thanks to this innocent photo of an Aunt and her month-old Niece:
Captioned “Dotty Duo”, this post in May mysteriously got 21 ‘Likes’ in a 2 hours. I thought it was because Claire was so cute – or that dots were a huge hit this season, until a friend screamed ‘CONGRATULATIONS!!” on the post.
Then in October…
Out of the blue, I’m writing for a blog called ‘MAYBE baby’, which raises a few eyebrows.
Suddenly in November,
*BOOMZ!* I’m married.
Friends are still asking if I’m expecting.
I say, yes – I’m expecting A HOME. No wailing, mucusy kids on the way yet. I have my fair share of cleaning up drool, mucus and mushy ‘cwumbs’ after these two ‘gwubs’ at home.
Moving ahead into 2014, I (only now) notice many friends around me getting engaged and planning weddings. 3 months ago, I was oblivious to such things. I guess reality really does shape what you choose to see. I suddenly find myself talking about marriage, venues, Ang Pows and gowns over dinner … and silently recoil in horror inside at what I’ve become.
Okay okay I admit, I used to roll my eyes at wedding-crazy talk…
But now I’m guilty of it 🙁
So to resolve this and never have to TALK weddings again….
I’LL BLOG ABOUT IT.
But seriously, here’s why.
Preparing for a wedding can be a crazy, rather clueless affair, evident by the number of queries I’ve been getting from friends about what they need to take note of. Getting hitched is a big event in one’s life, but unfortunately there’s barely any proper guides out there on what to do except bits and pieces of information on some wedding forums.
So to end all questions, ever (so I don’t have to be guilty of crazy-wedding talk again), here’s a simple, step-by-step on HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR SOLEMNIZATION:
FYI – Your ‘Solemnization’ is the legal/civil procedure you (have to) go through that recognizes you as ‘Married’ in the eyes of the State’s law. The process itself takes a minimum of 20mins, where you sign your wedding certificate in front of 2 (adult) witnesses. It can be fancy, or it can be absolutely functional. You can choose to hold your Solemnization separate from your ‘Tea Ceremony’ and your ‘Wedding Dinner’, or you can be a Super Man / Woman and hold it all in 1 day.
Step #1: Decide if you really want to marry this guy. Or girl. Check? Then here’s
Step #2: Decide on your solemnization date.
It must be at least 3 weeks (21 days) later from the day you’re deciding, based on Singapore’s ROM protocols.
Got money? Visit a Feng Shui Master to choose auspicious dates. You should be able to find one through asking friends, or searching through wedding forums for recommendations.
No money? Scour through several Feng Shui websites and pick the common auspicious dates amongst them all. You can also head to the ROM website and take a look at the page ‘Popular Dates’.
Step #3 (Optional): Confirm your ‘Justice Of The Peace’ if you are holding a private solemnization
You can choose to hold your Solemnization at the ROM itself (Map and times here) – in which case you don’t need to ‘book’ your own Justice Of Peace (or ‘JOP’). I’m not sure if you need to pay extra for this, but it won’t be much. Move on to Step #4 next.
Or, you can choose to hold it at your preferred venue – in which case you’ll need to contact and confirm a JOP (here’s the list). There are popular ones, usually because they are able to speak dialect, or because of religious preferences. Write or call him/her and politely invite them to solemnize your wedding. Provide the date, time and venue. Because all JOPs are volunteers, some of them might not be able to make your preferred date, especially if it is on a working day. Move on – I had to mass email 40 of them before I got someone who could make it. Get them to fill in the ‘Invitation to Solemnize Consent form‘ and send it back to you. You will need it for the next step.
If you engage a JOP for a private solemnization, you will need to prepare a red packet containing any amount as a token. I read somewhere that the minimum is $80. We gave $128, which included his taxi fare. You can also invite him for your lunch/dinner if you want to.
Step #4: Register your intention for marriage on the ROM website
This is not the actual ‘registration’. This is an administrative process you go through to put your request into a queue.
You will require the IC number and full name of yourself, your spouse and 2 adult witnesses. You will need the consent form from #3, and you’ll need to pay an admin fee of $26 via credit card. There’s a whole bunch of instructions and information on their rather messy website – do read through those. The process is very simple though.
If you’re holding your solemnization at the ROM, you are likely to only get an available date 3 months later (never knew that many people get married everyday!)
After your online filing, print out the e-notice at the end of the process. It has the date and time to head down to the ROM to collect your Marriage Certertificate. Even if you’re doing a private solemnization, you’ll still need to head down to collect the certificate for signing at your chosen venue.
Step #5: Head down to the ROM at the given date/time with your Spouse
At this point, I’m unsure what happens if you’re holding your Solemnization at the ROM. During my Sis’s time, I recalled having to wait until it was her appointed time before heading into one of the rooms there to do it.
If you’re doing a private one, grab a queue number and wait for your turn. Once you’re called, you’ll be asked to double confirm all details. You will both also take an oath there and then at the counter swearing that your information is correct.
Collect your (unsigned) Marriage Certificate and be on your merry way.
Step #6: Do your event prep!
Technically, the only thing you’ll need for your Solemnization is your Marriage Certificate and of course, your JOP and 2 witnesses. You don’t even need rings. Or flowers. Or guests for that matter.
Got money? Go crazy. Hold it at an expensive place (Capella is a hot choice now). Throw in a big white cake, a gazillion balloons, doves, butterflies, wedding favors and even sponsor rooms for your guests. Don’t forget that gorgeous diamond ring, and the celebrity wedding photographer. Throw a big enough fuss and you might just appear in the news.
No money? Don’t go crazy. You just need a pen. If you’ve spare change lying around, buy cheap rings (they cost less than $50 at Couples Lab) and flowers at the nearby Market. Persuade your mom or friend to bake a simple cake. Hold it at a small cafe, or at your home – or gatecrash someone else’s house. Play march-in music from your iPhone, and engage a sibling to take photos using their phone. Done deal, and just as sweet.
Remind your JOP 3 days in advance with the details and confirm his attendance.
Step #7: Turn up for your Big Day!
Don’t get this wrong now after all that prep.
Your JOP should arrive just before the stipulated time. They have the right to leave after 30 minutes from the stipulated time so don’t delay the ceremony, and don’t be fashionably late.
You should have your Marriage Certificate on the table, with a pen, and the rings if you have them.
Seated at the table will be the JOP (opposite you), your 2 witnesses (or both sets of parents if you want), yourself and your spouse.
The JOP will ask if you’re ready to start. He’ll recite … erm… some stuff (can’t remember) and provide you the vows to declare when the time is right. You’ll take turns with the vow (the groom goes first) and the rings, before sealing the exchange with a kiss.
There are 2 copies of the Marriage Certificate to sign. The JOP will send the ‘true copy’ back to the ROM for you. You get to keep the copy.
AND THAT’S IT. YOU’RE MARRIED. EASY PEASY.
Now you just have to worry about all the “So when are you having kids!!!!????”s coming your way.
Lin Tan is an Entrepreneur and an Executive Coach who dedicates more time to making society a better place over making babies. Follow her blog on ilovechildren.sg and journey with her as she embarks on all things ‘life after 30′.