As the coronavirus outbreak hits global pandemic status, many engaged and to-be-wed couples are figuring out how to plan and celebrate their milestone event in the new context.
Weddings all over the world, and more especially in India, are always big, social affairs, where the young and old, and families from different corners of the world meet with a great sense of camaraderie and joy! But what do you do when there is a whole shift or change in mindsets about hosting or attending big gatherings thanks to the virus outbreak?
Whether you are days away from your engagement or wedding, or have just started planning for it, read on as we spoke to ace wedding planners and WeddingSutra Favorites – Bhavnesh Sawhney and Farid Khan of FB Celebrations, Ketan Sawant of A New Knot, and Hemant Kale and Mareesha Parikh of Swaaha Wedding Management Co to understand the best practices in the new scenario.
If you are going ahead with your events plans albeit on a smaller scale, here are some things to keep in mind for you and your guests’ safety, comfort and health:
1. Try to set up hand-sanitizing stations around the venue and ensure guests stay hydrated and feel comfortable with lots of water bottles and alcohol-based wipes.
2. Talk to the venues and different vendors for assurances that the staff who work behind the scenes and those serving guests are temperature tested (twice a day) and do not suffer from any medical symptoms connected with the coronavirus.
3. Even though a wedding calls for close hugs and rituals like touching the feet of elders to seek blessings, pay attention to the other person’s body language! If he or she is not initiating a handshake greeting, simply do ‘Namaste’ in order to avoid touching them.
4. Explore the possibility of livestreaming your wedding for elderly guests who did not want to risk travel to the wedding or loved ones from abroad who could not make it.
5. Every wedding location has its pros and cons, and you have probably decided on the venues based on the convenience (distance from your home) and weather (indoor or outdoor). Wherever possible, opt for outdoor functions since ventilation and light are crucial to decreasing viral transmissions. Also try to space out the chairs and set-ups, especially at indoor events, so guests don’t feel that there is over-crowding. A sit-down dinner is preferable as it facilitates social distancing to an extent as opposed to buffets or live food stations that people throng around.
6. Lastly, have an open conversation with loved ones who may not feel comfortable attending a big gathering like your wedding or traveling. Couples and their families should anticipate the apprehension that many will feel at this time, and plan accordingly. Scaled down weddings can be as festive and fabulous as opulent ones, if done properly.
For couples whose wedding is some time away, Hetvi Shah of Latin Manharlal Insurance Broking advises them to now start thinking of wedding insurance. She says, “Not just in the context of this coronavirus, but generally too, to-be-weds should be aware of wedding insurance. Discuss the possibility with your broker to understand how it works and what it can cover – so you have answers/ safeguards for different scenarios.”
Finally, just remember, no matter how many precautions or care you take, you can never be sure the venue will be ‘100% healthy and safe’. After all, in these times no place is safer than the other and not everything can or will happen according to plan. And if your wedding is many months or a year away, don’t stress too much because the situation is changing and evolving every day.