S'porean couple got married & bought HDB flat with no wedding: 'Do what makes you happy'

Soft truths to keep Singapore from stalling.

Tanya Ong | October 22, 2020, 11:19 AM

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PERSPECTIVE: A typical trajectory for many couples in Singapore is to apply for a HDB flat, go through a proposal before registering the marriage, and then to hold a wedding sometime after.

But for one Singaporean couple, Michelle Sng and Eric Yee, they decided to forgo the wedding altogether. In fact, no one got down on one knee either.

Speaking to Mothership, Sng tells us about why they decided to do things the unconventional way.

As told to Tanya Ong

We got married on Apr. 2, 2020.

I woke up at 8:30am that day, put on my outfit (a dress I had worn for my best friend's wedding years ago), did my own hair and make up, and then left home about an hour later to get to the Registry of Marriages at Fort Canning.


It wasn't too different from any other day and we still went about our daily schedule.

Wait, did you both take leave that day?

I have a flexible work-from-anywhere arrangement on the days I don’t need to be onsite so I didn’t have to take leave.

On the day we got married, I still checked my email and took phone calls. My husband wasn't employed at that time so he didn't need to apply for leave.

What happened after registering your marriage?

After signing the papers and taking a couple of pictures with our family (my mother and grandmother, as well as my husband's parents and his aunt were our witnesses), both of us had a mini photoshoot at Fort Canning.

We had a professional photographer with us -- a close friend I had worked with multiple times, so I was very comfortable with him. The photoshoot took us about 30 minutes.


After that, I changed out of my dress and the both of us walked down to the SMU food court for lunch.

Was it your plan all along to not have a wedding banquet, or was this because of the Covid-19 situation?

It was the plan all along to not have a wedding banquet.

We started looking at resale flats before getting married, and only picked a date to sign the papers after finding a flat we wanted to buy. We needed the marriage certificate to purchase a resale HDB flat, so in a way, we worked backwards.


There wasn't even a proposal involved!

When we decided to be in a relationship, it was with the understanding that the plan is to be in it for the very very long haul.

It's rather uncommon for people to not hold a wedding these days. Was it something you always wanted even when you were younger, or did you change your mind along the way?

I had never thought much about the option to not hold one because it was the norm to have one.

As I got older, I went from wanting a banquet to preferring a small wedding because I felt if it really were such an important day, then only people who were important enough in my life should be invited.

But after seeing my friends get married, I realised I didn't really care much for a wedding. I love being a part of weddings (the planning and all things beautiful) but I just didn't want it for myself.

... I also realised how expensive weddings can be and was just not keen to spend that sort of money.

Did your husband share the same thoughts? Or was there some persuading involved?

We see it as an unnecessary cost as we would rather spend the money on building our home. In the end, we only spent on admin fees, rings, and the photographer.

My husband never wanted a wedding, and we had discussed this very early on in the relationship so there were no surprises for us.

There was no proposal so I guess there wasn't an engagement as well? We went straight to the wedding band -- it made the most sense to us.

Also, we really dislike dressing up so the thought of having to go through an entire day all properly dolled up sounded really exhausting.

Sounds like both of you are pretty chill.

We are very chill! Date night for us is ordering Indian food in.

Most romantic gestures come in the form of small and thoughtful everyday acts.

Like stepping up to do chores when the other party is busy or is feeling lousy, buying our favourite canned beverages for each other as a treat (once, we both came home with the same drink to surprise each other!), and telling the other party how much they mean to you.


Hope your loved ones were equally chill about you not having a wedding. How did they react after finding out that there wasn't going to be one?

I don't think there was resistance from anyone. In fact, nobody was surprised! My friends and family know me well.

My husband and I are quite set in our ways so people who know us well know that they wouldn't have been able to change our minds about it anyway.

Some people may say that you might come to regret not commemorating such an event with a wedding. Any thoughts on that?

We could say the exact opposite -- that one might come to regret having had a wedding. Who really knows for sure? It's always easy to make comments on hindsight but who knows what exactly would have happened if one had chosen a different path?

When it comes to regrets, I don't harp on them too much. If there was something I had really wanted at that point in time, and had chosen otherwise, I would have been unhappy then.

Do what makes you happy! If having a huge banquet is what you want, go for it! If not holding a wedding is what makes you happy, then don't force yourself to go through one.

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Top photo via Michelle Sng/IG