We got married online: Not our dream wedding, but more than we could have imagined, say Hui Lin and Vincent
Ting Hui Lin (28) and her husband, Vincent Tay (31), first met at one of their church’s mass gathering events back in 2017. After being introduced to each other, upon which they quickly clicked, Vincent decided to add Hui Lin on Facebook – and the conversation has not stopped since.
Due to the circuit breaker restrictions, the couple tied the knot on May 23, 2020, through an online virtual ceremony with friends and family. They share about the big day they never imagined and God’s faithfulness throughout it all.
1) How did both of you feel when your wedding plans got disrupted?
Vincent: I felt disappointed that the wedding could not take place and frustrated with the government policies even though I knew the rationale behind them.
The situation was very uncertain; we didn’t know if things would get better after the circuit breaker or if it would be extended. When people asked us when we’d be getting married, we couldn’t give an answer as it was no longer up to us.
Hui Lin: I cried and felt a sense of loss as this was something I had been looking forward to for a long time. As a young girl, I had dreams of walking down the aisle with my father holding my hand and handing me over to the groom waiting at the altar. I had many wedding ideals: beautiful flowers, a wedding gown with a long train, bridesmaids in matching dresses and the list goes on.
There were times I questioned God, why now and why me? Did He really love me?
When news of the extended circuit breaker came, I was even more frustrated. I cried to God, “How long more can I endure this?” I didn’t eat, avoided messages and calls for a few days, even Vincent’s, and exited chat groups related to our wedding. I did not even feel like getting married anymore.
Of course, I felt guilty for being upset over something seemingly petty and personal. While people around the world and in Singapore were fighting against COVID-19, struggling with keeping their jobs and livelihood, here I was feeling sorry for myself. But somehow I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I struggled not to blame God for allowing me to go through this and my faith was at its limits.
2) What were your reactions when you heard that the solemnisation ceremony could be held online?
Vincent: We had mixed feelings. It was good in the sense that we could finally get married and live together. On the other hand, with a virtual solemnisation, we couldn’t utilise the services by our vendors. Our parents couldn’t be there physically with us to celebrate as well.
Yet at the same time, we wanted to make sure we were not just fulfilling the criteria to sign the certificate and be legally married. Our original intention of getting married in a church was so that we can share our testimony of God’s goodness and glorify Him. We thought long and hard about how to do it online so that we could still fulfil this.
The many things I held dear were great, yet without them, it would not make a difference to the significance of the wedding vows that we were about to say to each other, before God.
3) Why did you guys choose to go ahead with an online wedding instead of waiting the period out?
Hui Lin: We had discussions over many nights about the non-negotiables and negotiables of the wedding. It was a hard conversation. The many things I held dear such as the wedding videos, photographs, bouquet, make-up, were great, yet I knew that without them, it would not make a difference to the significance of the wedding vows that we were about to say to each other, before God.
Vincent: We sought the opinions of our church leaders as well as solemnising pastor about the virtual solemnisation. Their concern was that the significance of the vows may be compromised if we were not together.
Thankfully, both of us could be physically present as we had earlier bought a resale flat and were registered as its owners. Thus legally, we belonged to the same household. Knowing this, everyone was supportive and gave us ideas on how to go about it.
4) What was it like having an online wedding?
Vincent: Going through the virtual ceremony, we realised that there were many advantages to it. Our loved ones were able to replay the live video online if they could not make the timing. The guests were all able to see our expressions clearly and hear what we said. This heightened focus on us was good, especially when we shared our thanksgiving speech and vows, magnifying the message of Jesus.
Hui Lin: I also loved how I could see my loved ones’ expressions on Zoom clearly, their joy and tears and the cheers we got when we were proclaimed husband and wife, and the online engagement on Facebook Live, where many of them could leave their well-wishes.
Sadly, we could not have a professional photographer and videographer on set with us to capture the event, but I guess that is secondary now. Our friends took screenshots and videos of us on Zoom so that we can revisit this sweet day, which is just as meaningful.
I loved how I could see my loved ones’ expressions on zoom clearly, their joy and tears when we were proclaimed husband and wife.
Vincent: As for the ceremony itself, Hui Lin dressed herself up and did her own makeup. We did the wedding decorations together with whatever we had on hand. We stuck our wedding photos on the wall and formed a cross, with a traditional “双喜” (double happiness) in the middle.
It was our way of saying we believe that Christ is at the heart of our marriage, and He is the one who will always hold us together and help us love each other.
We practised holding the worship segment over Zoom beforehand to include even that in our virtual ceremony. I’m really thankful for friends who handled the technicalities and troubleshooting so Hui Lin and I could enjoy our special day.
5) What did you learn through this experience?
Vincent: Marriage is not about the glamorous ceremony that the world tends to emphasise. It is the wedding vows that truly matter. It was a non-negotiable for both of us, to be physically present in the same space so that we could say our vows to each other.
The wedding I initially planned may not have come to pass, but the wedding God had in mind was indeed greater and beyond our own imagination. He is truly in control and we can lean upon Him and not our own understanding.
I also learnt to listen to my partner’s struggles and feelings. As men, we may not be as invested in the wedding details as much, but I grew to understand Hui Lin and why she was feeling the way she was and to walk through her disappointment together.
This was a test that really showed us what we held onto. Do we hold onto God’s promises that He is always good and works for our good, or do we continue to cling on to our own ideals?
I now understand James 1:2-4 a little better: “ Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
This was a test that really showed us what we held onto.
Hui Lin: I had many sleepless nights over the wedding. I remember distinctly one night I had a dream where I woke up crying. In my dream, everything was stolen from me and my room was ransacked and overturned. I kept begging the burglars not to take anything. It was just like how I felt in real life, that my dream wedding was being taken away from me.
In God’s graciousness, I heard His small still voice, a verse from John 10:10: “ The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” God gently reminded me that He is the giver of all, He has come that I might have abundance.
It hit me there and then that I had allowed myself to believe that God was the one who took it all away, which was not true. The devil wanted me to feel defeated, depressed and miserable but Jesus wanted to give me a life that was overflowing with peace, joy and love that can never be stolen from me.
God is not wasting my pain, but He’s using it to make me more into His image. I hope that this is encouraging to you if you’re going through a tough situation. God never wastes what happens in your life, but works all things for the good of those who love Him.
THINK + TALK:
- What are the negotiables and non-negotiables of your wedding?
- How do you respond to change and disappointments in your own life?
- Do you know someone who’s wedding was affected by the circuit breaker? How can you encourage and support them today?