Bare but Beautiful
No chapel. Hardly any guests. No photographer. Milton Tan and Olive Chin's dream wedding was
stripped bare, bit by bit. Yet, it was beautiful.
Jun 7, 2020. That was the date we were going to become one. It was going to be the start of a brand new chapter of our lives. A new beginning. Like most couples, the wedding day was one that my fiancée Olive and I looked forward to with anticipation and excitement. We savored every moment, even the busyness of preparations – looking into the decorations, food, wedding theme, and guest list. In the midst of the hustle and bustle, we prayed a short, simple prayer – "Lord, let us not miss out or forget the work of Your hands for our wedding, and Your love for us in our life".
Everything was going well and we were really enjoying the journey. Then COVID-19 hit. Before we knew it, the Singapore government implemented the Circuit Breaker on Apr 7. Many people had to quickly adjust and adapt according to the new restrictions. We and our wedding preparations were not spared either, even though the big day was drawing near.
At one point, we deliberated whether we should change the wedding date or stick with our original plan. But after much prayers and many discussions, we decided to put our faith in God and trust Him to see us through this. With the help and support from our family, Pastor Eveleen, Connect Group members, and friends, we proceeded with our wedding plans, holding on to God in faith.
Disrupted plans and disappearing dreams
We started to make adjustments to fit the Circuit Breaker Phase 1 measures. Our initial plan of having 300-400 wedding guests was reduced to 250. But as stricter heightened measures were implemented, this figure was slashed to just 10 guests. Our vision of our dream wedding – walking down the chapel aisle with our loved ones cheering us on, grew dimmer until it vanished completely. As we approached the final phase of the Circuit Breaker in May, more guidelines, rules and regulations threw our wedding plans into total disarray.
The first setback came when we found out that we could no longer hold a wedding ceremony on church premises. We decided to change the location of our solemnization ceremony to our home. The situation did not improve in the weeks that followed. With each additional rule, we were forced us to make changes to our plans, until we were stripped down to the bare-bones of a wedding.
The final blow came when we were informed that our photographer could not operate in Phase 1. That left us completely discouraged. Given the situation that we were in, we hoped to at least have memories of our special day captured beautifully.
From Breakdown to Breakthrough
We both felt defeated. At one point, we were even hesitant about proceeding with the original wedding date. The Lord comforted us in our own time with Him.
"Was anyone there to capture the moment when you asked Olive to be your girlfriend? Were there flashes, lights or crowds to cheer and celebrate when you proposed to Olive?," I felt God ask.
Then it dawned on me that the best pictures captured are not in the photos, but in the long lasting memories captured in our minds and hearts. These are more precious than anything! Just like how God touched my heart when I first received Him into my life.
Olive's breakthrough from discouragement came on the last day of Broadcast Life Conference. This is what she shares “as I sat in front of the screen not knowing what to do about the challenges thrown my way, the song, 'Over All' sung by our pastors began to play. As the bridge of the song was sung, 'My God You are great, My God You are strong…' the words pierced my heart. They reminded me of who God is, even when my whole situation looks entirely bleak. Coming before the Lord in tears, I acknowledged that He is Over All."
Our big day finally arrived. Despite the many gaps caused by stringent measures, the Lord faithfully provided what we needed for our wedding day. Family members readily stood in to take photos and videos of us that day. The house was decked up beautifully by Priscilla (Olive’s sister) with the help of a Trinitarian vendor who had a government permit to operate. We were all prepared. We were excited. We were ready.
The ceremony was kept short, just 15 minutes. But it was beautiful. Some of our close friends and family members attended it – eight of them in the house, and the rest via Zoom. Those onsite, including Pastor Patsy, who was solemnizing, and ourselves, were masked. Over All was one of the songs in the video we played on our wedding. It is both a declaration and celebration of God being over all that we have planned and went through. Pastor Eveleen, over a Zoom call exhorted us with Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” It was a message that was close to both our hearts, as this verse impacted us at significant points of our lives.
The event was nothing like our intended dream wedding, but we felt so blessed in that it was a wedding that God had planned for us. Despite the numerous changes and setbacks we faced, God revealed His glory and His faithfulness through our wedding.
We both felt God’s comforting embrace at the ceremony. With this start together, we want to continue loving Jesus, walking closely, and serving Him together, and to bring up our future generations in the ways of the Lord.
Reflect & Respond
Stripped to the bare, what makes a wedding meaningful and memorable?
How have you seen God's sovereignty and faithfulness even in your disappointments and circumstances looked bleak? Is there someone you can encourage by sharing your story or this article?
If you are still working through your disappointments, will you bring them to God and ask Him to reveal Himself in your situation? You can submit your prayer request via our Trinity App, our website, or in the comments during our Pre-service Prayer.