3 Women Tell Us About Their Non-Traditional Weddings

A rehab centre, a yacht, and a bar – these places aren’t exactly what comes to mind when you think about where to hold your wedding. Three Singaporean women tell us more about their unconventional wedding locations, why they chose to have their wedding that way, and how much it cost them.

Fiona Cher, 27, got married on a yacht in the middle of the ocean

Total cost: $10,000

CLEO non-traditional weddings

“My husband and I met in London. We maintained a long-distance relationship for a long time because he was attending university in Bath while I was doing my degree in the city. There was a lot of travelling involved so we could see each other.

I brought up the idea of having our wedding ceremony on a yacht as a joke, but my husband thought it was a great idea so we just ran with it.
We wanted our solemnisation to be intimate, special and memorable for us and our families. The idea of a yacht wedding seemed like a perfect metaphor for a new journey together.

Our families were very supportive and our guests were also very excited since most of them were attending a yacht wedding for the first time. We did the planning ourselves but had a team of amazing vendors that helped put everything together. We actually still have two more wedding ceremonies to go: a country manor wedding reception in the UK, and a traditional Chinese banquet in Singapore!”


Jillian Lim, 28, got married in a bar on April Fool’s Day

Total cost: $3,000

CLEO non-traditional weddings

“My ‘dream wedding’ was pretty typical and I wanted to walk down the aisle in a white dress. It didn’t work out that way because I’m not Catholic and you have to go for courses to get married in a church. My husband and I decided to hold our wedding at Skinny’s Lounge because our friends already go there and the place has good vibes all around.

The owner, who’s also our friend, let us use the location at no charge, and it was very much a DIY event. Our friend Dante, a jeweller from the Philippines, made our rings, while Tinoq Russell Goh and Dylan Chan (the same people who came up with Constance Lau’s makeup look for the Crazy Rich Asians Hollywood premiere) did my makeup. We tried to pay our friends but some of them refused to accept payment and told us to treat their services as a wedding present.

My mum did the flower arrangements and my sister made my bouquet. I’m very proud to say that we only exceeded our $3,000 budget by a bit – more than half of it went to food, even though my aunty catered it at a discount. With the help of friends, we kept it simple but with a lot of heart.

Guests were chill about us holding our ceremony at a bar, but they had a hard time dealing with the fact that we were getting married on April Fool’s Day – they didn’t know if it was a joke! We spent a lot of time convincing people it was a real wedding. The ironic thing is, my husband has been sober for two and a half years, yet we still got married in a bar!”


Grace Sim, 46, got married at The Hiding Place, a local farm and rehabilitation centre for addicts and ex-prisoners

Total cost: $28,000

CLEO non-traditional weddings

“The Hiding Place means a lot to my husband and me because it’s where he sought help for his addiction. For him, The Hiding Place is home, and without it, he wouldn’t be the man he is today. The pastor there helped him to find hope for a better future. Plus, the centre is also where we met! Every year, The Hiding Place looks for volunteers to help them make pineapple tarts, and we met when I started going down to help four years ago.

Although it’s a rehabilitation centre, The Hiding Place also doubles as a church, and all the planning and decorations for our wedding were done by the church members, who are also our friends. Some other friends thought it was a strange choice of location and some also suggested that we hold it at a more ‘aesthetically pleasing’ place so we didn’t have to spend money sprucing up the venue, but my family was very supportive of us holding it there. An unconventional wedding location doesn’t mean anything if the wedding isn’t held at a meaningful venue. To me, that’s the most important thing.”

Text compiled by: Claire Soong
An earlier version of this story was featured in the November 2018 issue of CLEO magazine.

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