Dear Brides and Grooms to be, and families of soon to wed couples, we know there’s a whirlwind of information on news channels and social media around the impact of Coronavirus on India. Was your family in the middle of wedding preparations when the Coronovirus hit us with an unexpected storm of staying indoors, avoiding public places with more than 50 people gathering together, avoiding airports and canceling travel plans to contain the damage this virus on speed wheels can cost? We know our real couples have questions and we understand the dilemma that our one-big wedding family of wedding vendor partners have been going through trying their best to cater to every couple and families needs in the best way possible.
WeddingWire India connected with some of the most trusted names of the wedding industry, to get you inputs and answers from the wedding planners, photographers and make up artists on how they are handling the Corona outbreak.
On handling reschedules/cancellations
Tamarind Global: Currently, even those in the medical community are unable to predict the duration of this current crisis. We would advise our clients to move any events planned in spring to late summer/ autumn, and even then be ready to face the fact that it might have to be a smaller, more intimate affair than they had maybe envisaged. Those who are willing to push their date even later, probably have better chances of having their plans see fruition.
FNP Gardens: Our advice to all clients is to definitely take care of themselves and their guests first, If in any case they are looking at reschedules/cancellations, we are supporting them in handling this unforeseen situation and giving them all the emotional and financial support wherever possible.
Tivoli Group: Keeping public health in mind, large gatherings should be avoided, this will deeply impact the wedding industry. However such drastic measures are required. Additionally, I hope that the government at both the state and central level will provide our industry with stimulus to boost demand and enact policies to improve the ease of doing business.
DreamzKrraft: Clients with weddings and other events scheduled for March and April have moved it to May and June. Since there are not many wedding mahurats /auspicious dates available after June, we have also discussed with them to keep their options open if they need to move their dates to October or even toward the end of the year; in case the current scenario doesn’t improve. Everyone is putting safety as the first and foremost priority, and all vendors including hotels and us too are going to be flexible when it comes to the weddings that are being postponed. We believe the entire economy and the world is in this together and we all will bounce back together as well. For now, we are focusing on planning for the May and June events; but we are keeping in mind a contingency plan if the situation doesn’t improve by then.
Castles & Coasters: Firstly, we have advised all clients not to cancel but postpone their wedding (emotionally and financially beneficial). Secondly, in order to save our clients from surges of panic because of the uncertainty, we have derived a Wedding Survival List during emergencies. This list basically acts as a guideline where each aspect of planning has 3 shortlisted options in order of preference. So whenever the pandemic is settled, dates of other aspects being available are limited. Simply put Plan A Plan B Plan C & Plan D.
On Booking Date clashes (in case of reschedules)
FNP Gardens: We are in this together. If this situation arises, we will give both of our clients an option of picking another auspicious date but will execute the program with the same love and endeavour.
Tamarind Global: At Tamarind, we work as multiple teams with capable heads, who lead their own group. We have done three weddings simultaneously, a few times in peak season, with each one being pulled off to our exacting standards. Moreover, once we take on a client, it is our responsibility to make sure we look after them – we certainly would not desert them because of a date change.
DreamzKrraft: Right now, we are available on the days that our March, April clients have pushed their dates to. But it is possible that a situation may arise where we may already be booked for those dates. We may choose to partner with someone from the industry and make sure that the wedding goes off well. The industry is close knit like that, and in such trying times I’m sure everyone will support each other. Eventually we have to get together so that at the end, clients do not get affected and the events are executed smoothly.
Banana Leaf: In that case, we work around our schedule. A wedding is a special time for everyone involved and we’d hate to be the spoilsports. We stretch our team wisely to fulfill our commitments. We are making someone’s dream come true after all.
On Measures to Control Contamination during Celebrations
FNP Gardens: We have increased the number of staff in our upkeep department who now sanitize the entire area at regular intervals before the function and even during the function, especially in common areas like washrooms, wrought iron furniture and decor elements. Also, we have kept sanitizers for the guests at places like food stalls, lounge areas to keep them protected.
Jaypee Palace Hotel: Cleaning and disinfection is a must in all the surfaces which are visibly contaminated with body fluids all potentially contaminated high-contact areas such as bathrooms, door handles, floor, chairs, telephones, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells has been disinfected using disposable cloths, paper roll and disposable mop heads. Health and well being is our foremost priority, our team members and all who are visiting our property is our main concern, we are vigorously monitoring novel coronavirus and responding based on the best advice of medical professionals and public health authorities. Stay cautious and positive by following all the needful precautions like washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with hand wash, soap an alcohol-based sanitizer. Don’t shake hands with people; instead wish them with folded hands. I would encourage people to be more careful. If you are detected with any symptoms please visit the nearest hospitals immediately and get checked. One should also be aware of what local health officials are recommending.
On Impact of Corona on Future Bookings
Ritika Kadam: The globe is rightfully panicking over this viral epidemic! Every business including mine is affected. Appointments have been both cancelled and delayed.
FNP Gardens: In our opinion, it should not be that bad. It might take some time but in India, marriages will always be synonyms with Grandeur in which FNP holds the prime position.
On Making the Ceremony Memorable for Guests who cannot Travel and Attend
Castles & Coasters: Yes, we have faced it ourselves and please find below a few points to keep in mind -
- For our last wedding that got postponed a day prior to us flying out, we faced this issue where last minute visas were getting cancelled and several close family and friends were not able to attend the wedding. For them, we had planned to do an event wise showcase, where we identified hall of fame and hall of shame. In the hall of fame, we plugged in 10 categories ranging from best dressed / dancer and so on and like wise for the hall of shame. A member from our team was dedicated to click Polaroid’s at the event. This collected data was then creatively collated and sent out to the guests who couldn’t make it.
- One can also have on-site edits of each event which can be sent out to guests.
- One can have an Insta page which all guests can follow and see live updates and data. Couples do this nowadays but they usually don’t have a dedicated professional taking videos and pics on real time basis.
- Old school live streaming.
Banana Leaf: They can always send letters and congratulatory words through the post. In these times, old school methods have more sentimental value especially when a wedding is in session. Guests can of course sort to technology and make video calls, messages and also paint the town red if they feel unto it. Many of our clients have decided to have private wedding rituals and then have a gathering of friends and family when the situation is safe for all and under control.
On Traveling for Weddings & Wedding Shoots
Shades Photography - With the virus spreading worldwide, we and our photographers are taking precautionary steps of not travelling to international as well as domestic sectors. Additionally, we consider safety first for all our fellow industry professionals and are restricting anybody's travel to cover events, be it anywhere around the globe. The travel work is thus, currently on standby. We advise the entire community to observe the necessary discipline in such a pandemic situation to stay safe.
On Wedding Insurance possibilities in India
Tamarind Global: Currently, it has not been a trend, but we would have to see how insurance companies react to the idea. One way to ensure partial safety is to include force majeure stipulations in venue contraction that stringently cover pandemic cancellation scenarios.
DreamzKrraft: The government is being robust in including the COVID-19 effect within the clause of most insurance companies. However, no specific event has been mentioned in the force majeure clauses yet; but they are moving toward incorporating it and we expect some relief to come in soon. In his speech to the nation, our Prime Minister announced that there will be an economic fund relief that they will deploy, the details of which are yet unknown, but we are expecting the government to support the financial losses that people have faced due to the coronavirus.
Castles & Coasters: So far we haven’t gotten wedding insurance for any of our events because the clauses are still vague likewise in hotel contracts. They have a Force Majeure Clause but it’s a subjective call whether covid comes under it or not. Having said that international chains like Marriott & Hyatt have issued statements allowing clients to cancel a booking 24hours prior without any fear of loss of money.
Banana Leaf: Such pandemics can be tricky in the insurance case. Some companies are prompt including the current situation for all. Some are still planning on benefits to the insurer and consequently trying to offer the best help possible. Although insurance is always handy, this can be a special circumstance. It certainly helps in comforting the bride and groom, and their families of the expenses and that everything that might fall apart is recovered under the insurance. Therefore, it helps to ensure less damage.
On Awareness & Staying Abreast of Global Insights
Tamarind Global: One of our company verticals is in the Destination Management business. We deal with tourists from all over the world coming to India. Though we are in work from home mode right now, we are closely monitoring the situation as it unfolds over the world. We have to be in a position to offer informed advice to our clients at all times. However, the information coming in is not enough to make any predictions about how bad it’s going to get, so like everyone else, we too are waiting and watching.
DreamzKrraft: We are also on the look-out for global indicators to understand when we can expect things to be better here in India. Meanwhile we are all actively working from our homes and communicating, albeit remotely, with our clients via video & voice conferencing on our DreamzKrraft app; and that makes it easier for us to keep the planning going on.
Castles & Coasters: Yes of course! The virus has affected every individual's daily life along with industries across the spectrum. However, vetting all the information that comes in is essential. There is an influx of misrepresented data floating around creating panic and outbursts that are not healthy! We believe each one of us is responsible for the data we share and this shared data, gathered information on the virus will help us know it better and in turn defeat it!
Maadhyam Events: Yes, it is very important to stay informed. But at the same time, it is our social responsibility to not believe everything you read and only convey relevant and authentic information
On Staying Strong and Positive
Tamarind Global: We are moving into uncharted territory in the next few months, but human beings are resilient – the important thing is whichever direction we move in, we need to behave responsibly, and be cognizant of the safety of our communities. We will bounce back – we all will. It’s just a question of when – but we are hoping that the coming winter season will see a lot of happy brides and grooms celebrating their weddings.
Ritika Kadam: Our nation has been incredibly proactive! Just hope the public adheres to social distancing and we are otherwise in good hands.
Please Note: We have opened up a dedicated hotlline to answer any and all wedding planning questions. Dial 080-47191954 to find answers to all your wedding related dilemmas.