Asia

Coronavirus: Couple live-streams into own wedding amid fears

(From right to left) Joseph Yew, Kang Ting and his parents in their hotel room Image copyright Supplied by Joseph Yew
Image caption The wedding couple and their parents gave a toast to the room via livestream

Weddings don't always go exactly to plan, but as coronavirus infections continue to rise, one celebration went ahead without the bride and groom.

Singapore couple Joseph Yew and his wife Kang Ting returned from a trip to China just days before their wedding.

When guests expressed concerns about attending, the couple found a way to allay their fears.

The bride and groom stayed away, instead live streaming themselves into a venue full of friends and family.

The wedding couple made their toasts and their speeches entirely over the video call, to the amusement of their guests seated in the wedding hall.

The coronavirus has killed 550 people in China and has spread to about two dozen countries.

Singapore has reported 28 cases of the infection so far - making it the country with the second highest number of confirmed cases of the virus outside China after Japan.

'No other options'

On 24 January, Mr Yew and Ms Kang - who is from Hunan province - flew back to spend Lunar New Year with her family.

Hunan province borders Hubei - the province where the coronavirus originated.

Mr Yew told the BBC that there had been no sense of panic when they were back in Hunan, especially since the area they were visiting was quite rural.

They returned on 30 January, with their wedding due to take place on 2 February at M hotel in central Singapore.

The couple actually got married in China in October, but this second wedding - a grand dinner banquet - was held for all of Mr Yew's family and friends who were unable to make it to China.

Image copyright Supplied by Joseph Yew
Image caption The wedding was held for the couple's relatives who could not fly to China

It is not uncommon in Asian culture for two weddings to be held, especially when both bride and groom come from different countries.

But when guests found out the couple had just returned from China, they started to get worried.

"Some of them said they were not coming," he said.

"We wanted to postpone the wedding but the hotel was not willing to. They said everything had been arranged and it was non-negotiable. So we felt like we had no choice but to proceed with the wedding."

The couple decided they would not attend the wedding to allay their guests' fears.

"We told the guests we would video conference in... some of them were shocked," he said. "I think if we had been there, the atmosphere would be different. People would have been wary.

"My parents were not [happy about it] at first but they eventually agreed."

Image copyright Supplied by Joseph Yew
Image caption The couple celebrated from their wedding room

Ms Kang's parents were also unable to attend the wedding as multiple travel restrictions have been put in place amid fears of the virus spreading.

In the end, only 110 of 190 guests made it - with some still skipping the event for various other reasons.

On the evening of 2 February, the couple dialled into the wedding from where they were staying - one of the rooms at M hotel where the wedding was held.

"We thanked the guests for coming and told them to enjoy the dinner," said Mr Yew.

The hotel also delivered champagne to the couple. They popped the cork in their room after giving their celebratory toasts and speeches, which was all live-streamed for guests at the wedding.

"We were not sad but a bit disappointed," said Mr Yew of his wedding.

"I think there were no other option so [I have] no regrets."

Reporting by the BBC's Yvette Tan

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