This article is part of our Planning a Wedding in a Pandemic: Covid-19 series.
Updated on 5 May 2021
This is a follow-up article to the recent update in rules and regulations for weddings in Singapore, in particular the need for Pre-Event Testing (PET) for celebrations with 51 to 250 attendees.
As of 24 April 2021, couples can increase the number of guests at their wedding solemnisation and reception from 100 to 250. This number applies to the entire event and includes the wedding couple but excluding the Licensed Solemniser and vendors.
Couples are allowed to host only one reception and the final number of guests allowed depends on the venue’s safe capacity when requirements such as zoning and grouping of guests are put in place. (Please refer to the official GoCovid’s site for the most updated rules and measures.)
For celebrations with 50 attendees or less, rules and regulations remained the same.
For celebrations with 51 to 250 attendees, a Pre-Event Testing (PET) will be required.
- For solemnisations with 51 to 250 pax, only the wedding couple who are unvaccinated will need to undergo PET.
- For receptions with 51 to 250 pax, all unvaccinated attendees (including the wedding couple) will need to undergo PET.
- For solemnisations and receptions held back-to-back with 51 to 250 attendees, all unvaccinated attendees (including the wedding couple) will need to undergo PET.
Here’s a summary extracted from MOH:
More information regarding PET can be found here. A few key things to note about PET are:
- It must be done before entry to the solemnisation or reception
- It must be done at most 24 hours before the end of the event (i.e. for a reception ending at 11pm, the earliest PET should be done is 11pm the night before)
- There are 2 types of PET – Antigen Rapid Test (ART) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test. ART is encouraged due to quicker turnaround time of 30 minutes as compared to PET that can take up to 48 hours
- Cost of PET will be borne by the hosts/organisers or the guests
- Cost of PET starts from $19.26 per test
- PET can be done off-site at a MOH-approved COVID-19 swab providers’ clinic or on-site at the venue (subject to the couple making arrangements with the venue operators). Here’s a list of swab-test providers.
- PET is exempted for attendees who have successfully completed their COVID-19 vaccination in Singapore at least 14 days before the wedding date. (Vaccination status are now displayed in individual’s TraceTogether and HealthHub application that can be shown for entry into the venue)
Following this update, we know you’re wondering if you should increase your guest count. And if you do, what are some things you need to consider as well as how are venues able to assist you. We’ve reached out to Adrian Yuen, Group Events Manager of Artemis Grill & Sky Bar to get an insight, while also understanding how they’ve been hosting celebrations since the pandemic.
PET Procedures at Artemis Grill
Given the increase of guests allowed to 250 pax, are there any changes that have been made to Artemis’ packages, standard procedures, or policies?
Adrian: We have decided not to make any changes to our wedding and solemnisation packages, as our primary focus is to host intimate weddings below 100 guests. Wedding couples do, however, have the option to use our Grand Private Room for the extension of another zone, which can host another 32 persons with safe distancing measures. It might not be the most ideal setup for some couples, because of the separation between rooms.
When it comes to PET, it must be arranged off-site, like most venues we do not have a holding area to accommodate this arrangement – a lot of F&B establishments are facing the same challenges.
Have you received any requests for bigger capacity since the announcement was made?
Adrian: We received a few requests for larger capacity recently, but they are mainly for year 2022 as the situation is still very uncertain for 2021. Also, most couples prefer their guests to not have to go through PET before attending their wedding.
There are a few concerns on planning a large capacity event and they are as follows:
- Increase in wedding budget – the ART starts from $28 per test so for a guest list of 250 pax, it would mean an additional cost of $7,000. ($28 x 250 pax = $7,000)
- Location to manage PET before the event and whether the space will be provided complimentary
- Timeline – in terms of the validity of the test as well as having to stretch the wedding itinerary to include the time for PET on-site.
Pandemic Wedding for 100 pax or lesser
How is Artemis Grill managing the current zoning requirements?
Adrian: Currently weddings must be hosted by separating groups of 50 pax or less into different zones. These zones have to be 3-meters apart with a barrier or divided by a physical wall of 1.8 meters or higher.
In each zone, we ensure that tables are set for no more than 8 guests with a one-meter distancing between all tables. The exception is made for a designated core ‘wedding party’ comprising up to 20 persons (including the bride and groom) who are also part of the 50 pax in a single zone.
Individuals in this “wedding party” may interact with one another within the group, and may sit at tables of up to 8 persons. However, they must not intermingle with other attendees outside the ‘wedding party’.
Artemis has also implemented a few more safety guidelines on top of the current government measures to ensure the safety of our guests:
- Staggered arrival timing between zones at a 30-minute interval, along with fixed seating arrangements made in advance.
- A restaurant appointed safety ambassador guides guests from the entrance of the restaurant, helps the couple to register their guests, ensure SafeEntry check-in and temperature taking is done and then usher them to their pre-assigned seats. (Wedding couples can still assign their friends or family to be seated at the reception to welcome the guests, but they are not allowed to intermingle with each other therefore we take over the registration procedure)
- A house-rule card is printed on each seat to remind guests about the current guidelines. (For example, masks must be worn unless they are eating or drinking and that they’re not allowed to intermingle between tables)
- The assigned manager takes care of their zones, explains the current situation and the safety measures that the restaurant is implementing.
To what extent is the venue flexible in terms of accommodating changing guest attendance?
Adrian: Changing of guests’ attendance is allowed up to a week before the event, but we offer flexibility within 48 hours prior if there are not any drastic changes. We understand it is a challenging period for everyone, so being accommodating is a key factor for us when organising someone’s special day.
Are there any things couples should be aware of when planning their guest list?
Adrian: There are a few things they can take note of.
Firstly, with the limit in guest capacity and zoning requirement, the wedding couple should ensure those who are assisting them are grouped under the ‘wedding party’ of 20 pax. These 20 pax can mingle within the group as they carry out their duties.
Secondly, I always suggest for the couples to pass on duties to our restaurant team instead of assigning someone from their guests to manage the event flow. This is to avoid having them moving around. The restaurant team is more than happy to help with tasks such as AV management, vendor liaison and other duties that require a wedding helper to assist.
Thirdly, babies and children are considered as one person within the 100 persons guideline, and each table is limited to 5pax inclusive of baby/children.
From the venue operator’s perspective, how would you suggest a couple begin the process of putting together their guest list?
Adrian: They should begin by setting a cap on their guestlist, based on the current guidelines. Also, listing their most important guests first is always helpful. I have created a seating template that helps bride and groom to ensure they do not go over the limits.
Are there any further measures the venue is taking on top of the government’s?
Adrian: Aside from assisting the couple in registering their guests, we have also implemented in-house procedures for pre-planning and onsite crowd management:
- A contactless Ordering Form – This contains a QR code with the full menu. Guests can choose their preferred dishes and state any dietary needs before the wedding, thereby minimising interaction between guests and staff.
- Staggered Arrival – Timing is very important because not every venue has a large lobby (compared to hotels for example) so staggered guests’ arrivals help to ensure all are within the safety guidelines.
- ‘Cinema Seating System’ – The solemnisation is at the garden space by the main restaurant, and we have implemented a cinema seating system to inform guests of their assigned seats within the rows. Our restaurant team will usher group by group to the garden space for the solemnisation, thus avoiding intermingling. Returning to the restaurant from the garden will be guided by the restaurant team as well.
As you can probably already tell, a lot of care is taken to ensure the safety of every guests. On top of government’s required procedures, venues are also adopting their own practices based on their priorities and venue limitations. Therefore, reaching out to your venue provider would be the first step should you find yourself uncertain about what needs to be done. If you have any general questions or concerns, you can contact us here.
A special thank you to Adrian for giving us such deep insights! For more information about Artemis Grill & Sky Bar, you may contact the events team via their website.