Your friends or relatives probably didn’t tell you the exact steps to take for getting married. It doesn’t happen just like in fairy tales where the prince meets the princess, love at first sight, and bam, they get married the next scene with beautiful wedding bells and wild animals as their guests. In reality, we have to go through the courtship period, ups and downs of being in a relationship, learning about each other and then decide whether to tie each other down by legalizing the marriage.
I probably would not have known there are datelines and time frames to follow if I didn’t read the FAQs on ROM website. I just got married and I wouldn’t claim myself to be an expert. But here are some useful tips for people who are planning to walk this journey.
Firstly, decide on your solemnization date so that you can file for a marriage application on ROM website. You have a 3-month window period to do so til the date of your solemnization.
How did we even decide on the solemnization date? Leland’s sister (now my sister-in-law!) texted me asking us for a date as her air crew husband needed to apply for leave in advance. We looked at the calendar and shortlisted a few Saturdays. We had a struggle with the dates as we were afraid our house keys would come early 2015 (but up til now, no news at all). So we thought March would be safe. And the “nicer” date in March was 21st (321). We didn’t calculate the date for ROM though. Luckily it was an auspicious date. And that was how we decided on 21 March 2015.
Solemnizer or Justice of Peace
I remember reading somewhere about looking for a solemnizer or JP 3 months prior to your day. But apparently, some have sourced for theirs 6 months in advance, especially for JPs who are more popular. So obviously, I didn’t think it would be that bad, that’s why it took me 10 rejections to secure 1 solemnizer. Hahaha. So it doesn’t hurt to be slightly more kiasu.
Tip: Shortlist your JPs according to language spoken and/or religion. Read reviews. You have to be comfortable with the JP as he/she is the key person during the ceremony. Confirm with them that they are able to solemnize your marriage and send a reminder text or call few days prior to your event.
Consent form for your Solemnizer/JP
You can download the consent form from ROM website for the JP to fill up the form. Because you will need this form to submit to ROM in order to receive your marriage certificates.
Some solemnizers will choose to meet up with you to run through the procedure. That’s when you could pass the form to him/her for signing. While some chooses to do it electronically, that’s common too. They will sign, scan and email it to you.
Filing for marriage
Once you have decided on the date, you have 3 months before the date to file for marriage. Eg. 3 months before 21 March 2015 is 21 December 2014. We filed for ours on 3 Jan 2015 after confirming our solemnizer. You can choose to hold the solemnization at ROM or outside of ROM. If you choose outside of ROM, here are the details you need to fill up.
- Name of Venue
- Exact address of our venue
- 2 witnesses’ full name and NRIC numbers
- Solemnizer’s full name and license number (usually given to you by the solemnizer once he/she has confirmed with you).
After submitting, you will be given an appointment to proceed to ROM office to collect your certificates, usually few days before the actual day. Remember to bring a photocopy of your 2 witnesses’ NRICs, both your NRICs as well as the consent form signed by the solemnizer.
Finding a venue, caterer, photography/videography services
These apply if you wish to hold your solemnization outside of ROM. Some may choose to hold it at places which do not include food catering. Or if you were like me, we chose outdoor, pool side at a hotel, therefore food was included.
Photography/videography services were added because everyone needs to record down the vows we make to each other, you know, just in case someone wanna bring up the vows during a quarrel. Plus, who wouldn’t wanna spend this extra money since you have already spent so much? Ha!
Of course, these are optional. You could opt for signing of the paper at ROM, then head out for lunch with your family. Simple. Now that I think back, I wished I could just do it simpler. All because I wanted Casper to be present during the event, so I had to source for a venue that allowed pets. He’s family, and he needs to be present.
ROM gown/suit and hair & makeup
After the proposal, the very first service we signed up for was bridal services. ROM was inclusive in the package, so it cut our trouble. We only needed to make appointment with the consultant for gown choosing and a subsequent one for gown fitting. Choose gown > alterations > fitting. That simple. Same goes for the groom, but honestly, his was way easier than mine. It took me about 2 trips and a total of 4 hours to try on 10 ROM gowns while he merely spent 10 minutes to decide on his jacket. Whatttt? I had to strip down, pull up the gowns, tie/zip then sashay out the fitting and all he did was throw on the jacket and that’s it.
Hair & makeup would be done either at the bridal shop or the makeup artist (MUA) would travel down to the venue prior to the event to doll the bride up. This usually incurs additional transport fees.
Tip: It would be good if you knew exactly what design/cutting of gowns you will prefer. Same goes for hairstyle and makeup. Look at Pinterest for more ideas!
Collection of marriage certificates
Get a Q number at the reception upon arrival for your appointment. The waiting time was approximately 15 minutes for us. Once you meet the officer, he will request for the consent form and your NRICs for verification. Check all your details, names, NRICs, venue details printed on the marriage certificates (1 original, 1 black & white). You will need to read your oaths on the spot. And that’s it.
Groom’s attire – Most bridal shops only provide jackets for ROM, so you gotta prepare your own shirts/vest/pants/belt and shoes.
Bride’s shoes – Depending on your height and the type of gowns you choose. Short gowns will definitely show your heels so get something white/silver/neutral colours with blings preferably. Long gowns will hide your heels but they will still show when you march-in as you would need to pull your gown a lil when you march.
Manicure – If you are engaging photographers to take photos of the event, it is very likely the photographer will capture small details such as your fingers when doing the ring exchange with your partner. Ladies, get a nice french manicure, added with some blings or 3D will be good. Men, clean short nails. Toes will be optional, depending on the heels you are wearing.
Accessories – The bridal shop will prepare a few for you to choose that match with your gowns. Unless you are uncomfortable using theirs, you may prepare your own.
Hair – You will be advised not to cut or rebond/perm your hair at least 1 year prior to your day as the chemicals will make it difficult for the stylist to set your hair. You may dye your hair though, so that your hair will look softer in photos. A neutral brown or copper will be fine. Wash your hair the day before so the hair will be less clean when the stylist sets your hair.
Bride’s makeup – Bring your own ampoules and false eyelashes as the MUA usually charges them. They also prefer to work on a completely clean face, with no products applied beforehand.
Contact lenses – Coloured or enlargement lenses make up your eyes stand out better. However, avoid colours like green or purple so you won’t look too scary.
Groom’s makeup & hair – Men are simple. They hardly need anything on their face other than styling of hair. If needed, using a BB cream should be sufficient to cover up any blemishes. Men who wear glasses, ensure your glasses look nice in photos.
Parents’s outfit – This is pretty much up to individual. It’s a formal ceremony afterall. Proper attire is needed. For me, I went shopping with my mum to get her a nice dress and new shoes as she was pretty psyched about me getting married, so she wanted to look her best as well. Plus, both families meet on that day. You wouldn’t wanna look too shabby. She even had her nails done with me. Like mother like daughter 🙂
So here are some tips you could take note of. I hope I did not miss out any, but if I do, I would add on some time later. Hopefully they are useful in your preparations to getting married. Rest well and drink plenty of water to have dewy skin. Just avoid drinking too much 2 hours before you sleep on the night before. No bride wants to get married with water retention. 😉 Good luck!