Dec 13, 2012

Singapore - I do, I do, I do on 12/12/12

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More than 500 couples were married in Singapore yesterday, taking advantage of the century's last repeating date, 12/12/12.

This was almost six times the number recorded on the same day last year, according to figures from the Registry of Marriages.

It was one of the busiest days on the calendar for Justice of Peace Chia Swee Tin, with barely a half-hour break between six civil weddings around Singapore at different venues.

Using a walking stick, the 64-year-old former teacher - with short reddish-brown hair, diamond ear hoops and pink shirt - cut a formidable presence as she barked instructions to couples.

About two a day is the norm, said Chia, who has been conducting weddings since 2003. The most in a single day was eight, although she could not recall exactly when.

Yesterday's proceedings had an extra element. She told her couples: "Today is an auspicious day - I promise you that in 12 minutes, you will be married."

But she also stopped to comfortingly rub the arm of an emotional bride. "I feel energised by people and seeing them together lifts you up - every day is a good day if you want to be married."

Yesterday's figure of 541 couples was a slight decrease on last year's sequential date - 11/11/11 - when 553 couples were married.

Wedding planners contacted by The Straits Times said this could be due to the date falling in the middle of the week.

"It really makes a difference whether it is a weekday or a weekend," said Denise Tan of wedding planning agency Idea Inn. She said that weekdays are less convenient for guests. The wedding planner had no clients who married yesterday.

Still, some couples were willing to go the extra mile to mark their special day with a special date.

"It's the last triple date... (and) it's easy to remember so we planned in advance," said Maurice Ang, 26, who wed Glenys Chow, 24.

A record 1,082 couples went to the altar on Feb 14, 1995 in Singapore, when Valentine's Day coincided with the fifteenth day of the Chinese New Year.

Yesterday, some 40 couples were married at the ROM. While many said they had chosen the date because it was easy to remember, others have precious memories associated with December 12.

Immigration officer Daeng Nur Rima Amer, 29, and football coach Mohamed Farhan Mohamed Farook, 32, first got together nine years ago yesterday.

"It's our anniversary. We didn't plan (the sequential date) but everything came together so we're very lucky," said the bride.

Kezia Toh and Maryam Mokhtar

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