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Treating Your Solemnizer Right


 

Treating Your Solemniser Right
Photo by Feldberyl Images. Wedding of Cheryl and Greg.

If you are planning to hold a wedding ceremony OUTSIDE the Registry of Marriage office, the first question that would probably come to your mind is, “Where and how do we find a solemnizer?”

Here’s what you’ve got to do:

  1. Confirm your solemnization date, time and venue.
  2. Browse through the List of Licensed Soleminzers and select a few solemnizers to call.
  3. Contact the solemnizer, no earlier than 3 to 4 months before the solemnization date, and arrange to meet up to inform him/her about your marriage details such as venue, date, time and program.
  4. Download the Solemnizer’s Consent Form and bring it with you when you meet the solemnizer.
  5. Meet and obtain your Solemnizer’s signature on the consent form.
  6. File your Notice of Marriage here.

If you’re planning to hold the solemnization AT the Registry of Marriages (ROM), you can find more details here.

SOLEMNIZERS – The WHO and WHAT?
Solemnizers are either appointed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) or by the Advisers of various grassroots organisations. They are volunteers; they take personal time off to meet with you to sign the official documents and officiate your wedding thereafter. It is only courteous to seek their views on your solemnization plans. After all, they are the professionals who can give you insight and perhaps even bring up details you might have missed!

We spoke to Ms Joanna Portilla, PBM, an esteemed Community Leader and Solemnizer to many couples. She shared on her experiences, about how it feels like to be one. “When I was invited to become one, I accepted it graciously as I felt it was an honour bestowed upon me, to be able to marry couples and be part of their significant milestone.” As a solemnizer, she meets with couples prior to their wedding day in order to understand the scale of their wedding and also to walk them through the ROM procedures. “I also provide advice where it calls for to ensure that they have a happy and memorable wedding. Sometimes I feel I’m also their wedding planner. I try to accommodate their requests or offer suggestions so as to make the event more meaningful.” Joanna adds. She also personally keeps in touch with her couples through Facebook or email, and staying as good friends. “I’m always happy to receive updates from them, for example, when they move into their new house or welcomes their first baby.”

ETIQUETTE 101
Punctuality tops the list of courtesies and being thoughtful always bring you brownie points. Joanna shares her point of view on the issue of etiquette as well and we put together a list of kind gestures you could extend to your solemnizer:

Punctuality is King.

  • The ROM website states that solemnizers have the right to leave if the ceremony is delayed for more than 15 minutes. So please be really punctual.
  • They may have other ROMs to attend to, and if the earlier ceremony does not start on time or it gets delayed way too long, it will affect the solemnizers’ schedule.

Be Accommodating and Understanding.

  • Soleminzers aren’t staff of ROM or the MSF, but an esteemed group of volunteers specifically handpicked and appointed to assist in marrying couples at their preferred date, time and venue, and that they accept the assignment based on their personal time. In the event that he/she is unable to take on the role on your chosen wedding date, be understanding. It’s not personal, it’s probably because they have another couple who booked them before you.

Arrange for a Host to Accompany Your Soleminzer.

  • The host can receive and assist him/her, especially when the couple or family members are busy or have yet to arrive. The host can also assist in preparing the required documents for the ceremony, and hand them over to the him/her for verification.

Keep Them in the Loop.

  • Inform your solemnizer of any changes in date, time or venue early. Check with him/her if their dates are available before making any changes too.

Remind and Reconfirm.

  • Contact your solemnizer at least 3 days before your wedding as a reminder and to reconfirm the time he/she should arrive.

Show Your Appreciation.

  • Arrange for valet or present them a complimentary parking coupon.
  • Present your solemnizer with a token of appreciation. The minimum amount stated in the ROM website is between $50 - $100. We suggest a minimum starting value of $80.
  • You may invite them for your wedding reception. If you would like to invite them, offer sincerity with a formal wedding invitation card.

Remember the Documents.

  • Don’t forget to bring your important documents such as original NRICs or passports (for foreigners) for verification.
    1. Original NRICs for Singapore Citizens and Passports for foreigners (couple and and 2 witnesses)
    2. Wedding rings for exchange (optional)
    3. The marriage certificates
    4. The marriage licence
    5. Original divorce certificate if it is the 2nd marriage for either party

It doesn’t hurt to be respectful and accommodating. Just like every other guest at the wedding, your solemnizer is there to celebrate your marriage; it’s a marvelous occasion.

EXTRA POINTS TO NOTE FOR COUPLES

  1. Couples need a minimum of 21 days advance notice to file for a wedding date. Filing for the Notice of Marriage can be done online at www.rom.gov.sg. However a credit card is needed for online payment. For those with no credit card, they should go to ROM office at Fort Canning to file. The earliest they can file their intended date of marriage is 3 months in advance. For e.g. if the intended date of marriage is 22 September 2013, the earliest date they can file is on 22 June 2013 and the latest would be 1 September 2013. You can check on the earliest date to file the notice of marriage with this link.
  2. In the event that the solemnizer is unable to preside the ceremony, he/she would be responsible to get a replacement for the couple. ROM would make the necessary changes to the details of the solemnizer. Couples need not pay for the changes.
  3. Upon successful filing of your Notice of Marriage, you would immediately be given a reference number that would be used for communication with the ROM.
  4. If changes are necessary such as changes to date, time, venue or witnesses, you can make the changes online at ROM website. Log in with your reference number. You have to pay $15 for the changes.
  5. Arrange to meet your solemnizer at a date, time and place to HIS/HER convenience.



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