“I’m getting married – pandemic or not” | Print edition
By Shannine Daniel
How young couples and wedding planners are adjusting to the ‘new normal’
Kavina and Dilshanth had originally planned their wedding for January of this year, but given the COVID situation in the country, they decided on a wedding in June.
Originally from Kandy, but living and working in Colombo at the moment, the couple will be getting married at the Chapel of Trinity College in Kandy and had booked the Oak Room at the Oak-Ray Regency in Peradeniya for their wedding reception.
But as Sri Lanka experiences the third wave of COVID-19, Kavina says they have decided to proceed with the wedding ceremony next month, but will postpone their wedding reception.
âWe might be allowed to have only 25 to 50 people if we have it next month, and we have about 300 guests on our list. Shrinking down the guest list to accommodate 25 to 50 people is sad, and spending a lot of money in a large venue to accommodate so few guests seems pointless. We also decided not to hire a photographer, âKavina told Sunday Times Magazine.
Planning a wedding is always stressful enough. For couples hard hit by the pandemic and the resulting restrictions, the uncertainty has been particularly trying.
“I hope the COVID situation improves in a month or two after our wedding, and that we can host a reception for all of our friends and family,” she says, but is aware that they might end up wasting more time or money if they keep delaying their plans.
This uncertainty is felt not only by couples, but also by the entire bridal industry. Wedding planner and owner of Purple Weddings (Instagram: purpleweddingplanners, website: purpleweddings.lk) Denver Dias had two weddings planned over the next two weeks. âNow, with the recent ban on weddings, one has been postponed indefinitely, while the other can take place in June or July,â Denver said.
Since March of last year, wedding planners like Denver have adapted to the new normal: they work with PHIs who visit venues in advance to ensure that social distancing protocol is followed and that masks are worn by guests and vendors. Denver says it’s also up to wedding planners to monitor whether face masks are worn, that hand sanitizer is available on-site, and that social distancing is respected during the wedding.
âHotels and other places are also accepting the new COVID restrictions. Many hotels are adjusting the seating and capacity in their wedding and banquet halls and making sure everyone is complying with COVID regulations accordingly, âhe said.
Let alone the emotional stress, financially too the couples are badly affected. Those who had planned their weddings in Colombo lost a lot of money because of the non-refundable deposits given to hotels and venues, as they had to cancel, postpone or reschedule to another day and place.
A couple I worked with lost around Rs. 80,000 – Rs. 100,000 because they had to postpone and postpone their wedding twice, and the hotels they booked refused to refund their down payments, said Denver.
But he says many have adjusted to the new normal.
âI’ve noticed that many couples prefer to get married as soon as possible now, even with a small number of guests, instead of postponing their wedding,â Denver said.
Two brides who have had pandemic marriages, Amaani Lenore and Shanaz Fouze, shared their experiences of overcoming uncertainty and delays.
âThe original date of our wedding was June 2020 and we had to postpone it to December 1, 2020. We thought it would be perfect as it was also my parents’ birthday but we had to postpone the wedding again to December 30 as the airports closed again in October and Sherard’s flight from the United States was canceled. It was pretty hard deciding on a date because it all seemed so unpredictable, âsaid Amaani, a coding and robotics instructor, whose husband Sherard is an engineer at an engineering and architecture firm in the United States. United.
They had originally planned a destination wedding, but changed their mind after realizing it wouldn’t be practical with the changing COVID-19 situation. Passionate about weddings, Amaani had planned the wedding ceremony down to the smallest detail, including the decor, colors, theme and vendors, with the help only of Sherard and his family.
âWe were on two different continents and time zones. When I would wake up it would be time for Sherard to go to bed, so we had to take the time to get through the wedding planning. Without the support of our families, it would have been extremely difficult, âsaid Amaani.
âMany family and friends overseas couldn’t make it happen, and it was something we were sad about at first, but having joined them via the live broadcast was heartwarming that day. We had our closest family and friends and invited everyone to join us via the live broadcast. “
âIt all worked out in the end and we still can’t believe how smooth and beautiful it all turned out. We thank God for his grace in the whole process, âshe added.
âMy advice to newly engaged couples is to create a realistic budget as well. Most of us budget without thinking about every little detail. It’s your day and at the end of it you should be able to find joy in knowing that it was a representation of who you are as a couple, âshe said.
Owner and founder of Tayo Bear cafe in Colombo 7, Shanaz Fouze and her husband Tharaka Uduwara who works for a gemstone and jewelry company in Colombo got married on December 4, 2020 – the scheduled date. However, they had to postpone their reception and their return home three times, and they are still deciding whether to proceed with their wedding reception.
âThe wedding ceremony was initially organized for 60 people but we had the function for 13 people including our three dogs and our cat. It was the wedding I always wanted and Tharaka supported me, âShanaz said.
In accordance with health regulations, they narrowed their guest list and enjoyed their big day with only close family members and friends.
âOur biggest concern was the safety of our parents. Only our close family and friends were able to attend the ceremony. The wedding went smoothly as there were no problems or challenges, until it started to rain. But we also enjoyed the rain, and so did our dogs, âShanaz laughs.
âWe saved money by deciding to have a smaller wedding, with a smaller guest list,â she added.
Shanaz said her close friends and family had helped plan the wedding tremendously and they didn’t worry or stress because everyone had completed their chores on time. Their vendors too, from the people involved in the venue to those looking after the flowers, responded to all of their requests and changes, ably.
Shanaz advises couples to limit their guests to those they are extremely close to, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
âYou should enjoy your special day with people who help nourish your relationship. Many of us are aware of the negative remarks some people make at weddings. It is always better to have a marriage without negativity. Most importantly, we are safe when following health guidelines. It may not seem necessary to sacrifice your guest list due to the pandemic, but you will not endanger everyone at your wedding, including yourself and your spouse, if you do not follow the guidelines, â she declared.