Instagram-Live Courthouse Wedding in Brunei in The Midst of Covid-19
As our lives became more strictly controlled due to the uncertainties around Covid-19, it was soon clear that most weddings in the first half of 2020 would have to be postponed. Sure, you could still get married, but you wouldn’t be able to have a reception. These newlyweds could only have their witnesses with them on the day they registered their marriage at the Brunei High Court, and since they couldn’t bring their party with them, they celebrated with everyone online – via Instagram! An added bonus? Some of their friends who initially weren’t able to attend due to distance got to witness their special day!
Weiting: “We had booked our ROM (Registration of Marriage) date in February for 18/04/2020 before puasa, which is the beginning of Ramadan or the fasting month. Our actual wedding celebration was to be in June. But Brunei was hit with its first Covid-19 case in March, and we were informed that we could only have two witnesses with us! So only our mothers (who were our witnesses) were allowed to be in the court room.
“We were kind of bummed about it at first, as it’s usually a pretty big celebration. Friends and family typically take photos on the High Court building’s iconic staircase. The bride would start her makeup at six in the morning or earlier, and the bridal party would all come in their colour coordinated outfits. The groom would pick up the flowers and look forward to meeting his soon-to-be lawfully wedded wife. The official photographer would take pictures of everyone, and the day would usually end with a lunch hosted by the couple and their families. We couldn’t have any of that. We had the choice of postponing the ROM, but we decided to just run with it.
“We cancelled the makeup artist and photographer, and decided to document our journey ourselves, through Instagram Live! We were determined not to let this dampen our spirits. From the moment I was in my car, driving my mum and I to the court house, I went live. We told our friends in advance that we would be doing that, so about 60 of them joined us, more than the court room could ever hold!
“While waiting for the Registrar, one of the staff told us that we were required to wear masks, and thankfully we had some on us. We waited for about 15 minutes but our viewers were entertained by our mothers’ conversations, which definitely added to the uniqueness of the day. When the Registrar arrived, we asked for his permission to film the ceremony, as many of our friends and family could not be with us. ‘But I’ll be on camera too!’ he said, laughing at the situation. He was also wearing a mask and figured it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world so he gave us the green light to go ahead.
“There we were, exchanging our vows with our masks on, with our 60-odd ‘guests’ watching from afar. It wasn’t sealed with a kiss, but with a friendly ‘side hug’ as husband and wife! Once we had signed the papers, we went outside and took photos with our trusty iPhones. A friend who was waiting for me outside became our impromptu photographer. It was intimate, beautiful, and most of all, memorable because we couldn’t help but laugh as we took pictures with our masks on. We even had friends viewing from overseas who otherwise would never have joined us!”
Tips from the bride: “If you’re getting married during Covid-19, figure out what works for you and where you are at. This was just our ROM. We postponed our matrimony and reception, which was supposed to have been in June in Kota Kinabalu. Talk to your vendors, family members and friends – there is always a way to make it work! It’s easy to feel discouraged when circumstances are out of your control, but when you focus on the good, things get better! Our friends and family were so supportive of our unique situation.”