Molly Lin, 30, and Sing-Chi Lam, 32, planned to get married in front of 400 guests on 11 April – then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
Faced with lockdown measures that prevented gatherings of more than 15 people, the couple, from Toronto, Canada, decided to postpone their big plans until 2021.
But they didn’t want to put off actually tying the knot – so hastily planned a ceremony in a beautiful greenhouse with just Sing-Chi’s parents as guests while Molly’s parents watched over Zoom.
The day wasn’t what they expected, but the couple are so happy they were able to share a special moment amid the pandemic.
‘We never would have guessed that our wedding would be changed so drastically by something like a pandemic,’ Molly, an internal medicine physician completing a fellowship in infectious diseases, tells Metro.co.uk.
‘We wanted a big wedding so we could bless our family and friends and celebrate together but in the end, we were blessed beyond our imagination by everyone.
‘We loved the intimate ceremony and the uniqueness of our wedding – a story we can tell our kids one day.
‘We are excited to one day celebrate with our friends and family but we are thankful that we still got married and we get to start married life together.’
Molly and Sing-Chi, a family physician, met on the first day of a 76km hike on the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island, back in 2018.
Neither had done any multi-day hiking trips before, and both had just happened to join their pals on this adventure. They clicked immediately and spent the entire hike chatting.
Seven days later, Sing-Chi flew to Toronto to see Taylor Swift live.
Molly was on the same flight to return to work.
They stayed up the whole overnight flight getting to know each other even better and when they landed, Sing-Chi invited Molly to join him at the Taylor Swift concert.
She said yes and he speedily planned a romantic date complete with all-you-can-eat sushi and a trip to Toronto Island to see the city skyline. At the end of that night, Sing-Chi asked Molly if she would be up for dating.
She said yes and they’ve been together ever since. By July 2019, Sing-Chi was ready to pop the question.
Again, he planned out a hike with those same friends he and Molly had been with when they met, this time heading on a four-day 44km hike in Jasper National Park, Alberta. ‘When we were standing at the edge of the water, I pointed out the mountains in the distance and asked Molly if she could see the mountains we would be hiking the next day,’ remembers Sing-Chi. ‘When she turned around, I was already on one knee and I asked her to marry me.’
The couple began planning a huge wedding for 11 April 2020, to take place at the Enjoy Centre, an event hall with a greenhouse attached, with 400 guests.
They hired a wedding planner, Sarah from OurJonrahEvents, and put down deposits on everything from the food to the flowers. Then coronavirus hit Canada.
By March, lockdown measures had limited gatherings to no more than 15 people. Wedding planner Sarah managed to get the venue and vendors to postpone the big day to 2021, but keen to still make things official, Sing-Chi and Molly decided they would go ahead with the ceremony in the location and on the day they had planned – and would celebrate with family and friends later.
On 11 April the pair exchanged vows and got married in a beautiful greenhouse filled with thousands of plants – with Sing-Chi’s parents, Sarah, photographer Becca Schultz, the pastor and his wife in attendance.
They did a video conference call with Molly’s family and Sing-Chi’s brother and sister-in-law so they could be there in spirit, too. ‘We were surrounded by thousands of plants in the beautiful greenhouse so we imagined them as our guests,’ says Sing-Chi.
It wasn’t the wedding day they expected, but the couple are so happy they went ahead with tying the knot. ‘We did lose money mostly for the perishable and decor details for the wedding day, and attire costs for our entire wedding party and many of our family who were unable to attend in person,’ the couple tell us.
‘We recognised that our lives still needed to go on in spite of the uncertainty of this pandemic, so we decided to continue with our original wedding date, April 11.
‘We wanted to make a covenant of love and commitment to each other so we had an intimate wedding ceremony in front of God and our immediate families. ‘We are still planning to celebrate with our friends and family when the pandemic subsides.’
The couple lucked out with the timings. ‘One thing we are extremely grateful for is that the wedding actually took place,’ says Sing-Chi.
‘Molly arrived in Edmonton one week before the government restrictions. If the lockdown had occurred earlier, Molly likely would have been stuck in Toronto and we would not have been able to get married at all.
‘We were also fortunate enough to have gotten our marriage certificate and registration done before the closure of all registries later in March.
‘Despite all the challenges that the pandemic brought, we count ourselves fortunate and we are thankful for that.’ Friends and family were able to drop off treats and gifts right before stricter lockdown measures came into place, including a chocolate cake the couple cut on the day. ‘Our friends and family definitely went above and beyond in loving and caring for us,’ say the couple.
‘On the day of the wedding, Sing-Chi’s father went out early in the morning to buy a wedding bouquet for Molly to use during the ceremony, as earlier on we had decided on not getting any florals. Later that same day, Sing-Chi’s high school friends parked across the street from our house and surprised us with congratulatory signs and champagne while maintaining social distancing.
‘Unbeknownst to us, one of Molly’s bridemaids made a 23-minute video filled with heartfelt messages from our friends and family from all over the world, who all wished us well on our wedding day.
‘We were so touched when we watched the video after our ceremony.
We had to fly to Toronto early the next morning so we stayed at the airport hotel that evening, and another friend surprised us with champagne when we arrived at our hotel room. ‘Our friends and family surprised us with so much love and made the day so special for us.’
The couple are now looking forward to celebrating with a full-on reception once the pandemic is over, and heading off to their Samaritan’s Purse medical mission to Kenya they had planned as their honeymoon.
In the meantime, Molly is working at St. Michael’s Hospital with the IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control) team, reducing the transmission of infections – including Covid-19 – in hospital settings, while Sing-Chi is working from home doing virtual care, while also making himself available to help out in hospitals in Toronto if he’s needed.