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Wedding Belles

Nov 12, 2016 5:50 AM

Jan 1959 Do you, bride #46, take groom #37, to be your lawfully wedded husband? To have and to hold, and be able to recognise him from the sea of similarly-dressed spouses on this shared wedding day? Forget barefoot weddings in Bali. From the 1940s to the early 1960s, mass weddings were all the rage. Usually organised by Chinese clan associations, it was a true value-for-money experience, with couples paying only S$30 to S$40 to participate. They were such big affairs that each person had to be addressed by number instead of name. They even became a tourist attraction, inviting overseas media coverage. But by 1961, the Women’s Charter required couples to formalise their nuptials at the Registry of Marriages, and mass weddings slowly became passé, evolving into single-couple, 100-table Chinese dinner affairs and the now dreaded “wedding summons”.

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