You turn on the news and hear, "Another positive case of Coronavirus confirmed."

Your heart sinks just a little bit more, as your wedding is not very far and you were just about to start shopping for your outfits. However, the severe outbreak of the virus has left you and many around you wondering if holding a big fat Indian wedding during this serious condition the safest bet to play. 

The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, which originated from the city of Wuhan in China, has taken a considerable toll on the wedding industry. With people barely stepping out of their houses, even the tourism industry has hit a major bump. With couples shifting their wedding dates or postponing them, it almost feels like a safe idea for guests to skip many weddings that haven't moved the slot up or down at all. 🦠

However, not every wedding can be postponed or moved up. Many have booked their venues and vendors, and for many destination weddings, tickets and visas are all set to go. 

So, how do you get through the Coronavirus outbreak and still throw the most memorable soiree of all times? Well, before you say 'I do', read our pre to post wedding planning guide and ensure the safety of everyone around you and still have a fun wedding celebration! 😷

Pre-Wedding Planning Guide

Bridal Shopping

  • Always wear a mask when outside your homes. We all know you're heading to the streets of markets like Chandni Chowk and Karol Bagh for your trousseau essentials. Even if you're heading to a reputed designer store, you need to keep that mask on.
  • Carry your water bottle and avoid drinking outside water.
  • If possible, avoid local vendors for eating as the hygiene conditions may not be the best there. At this moment, eating home-cooked meals is the best thing. 
  • Wash your hands the moment you return from the market. If possible, wash them wherever possible during your shopping spree. 
  • Carry a sanitizer with you at all times. 
  • In a market space, you will easily come in contact with many people who may be coughing or sneezing. Ideally, you stay 1-3 meters away from them. Maintaining a social distance is of utmost importance. 
  • Since the virus does not survive on non-living objects for more than 48 hours, touching other things may be alright. However, you do not want to take any chances. Sanitize your hands at all costs.
  • If you have a pregnant woman in your bridal brigade, ensure she takes special care of herself as pregnant women are more susceptible to any kind of viral infection. 

Venue Planning

  • Ensure you choose a venue with plenty of sunlight and fresh air. 
  • Avoid a dark, indoor venue.
  • Avoid locations that require guests to fly down. Air travel can be dicey at the moment.  
  • Choose a location that is accessible by road easily and not too far off. 
  • Avoid planning a pool party or Holi party or any water-based function as pools can be major carriers of germs and diseases. 

Vendor Booking

  • While booking a vendor, ensure that they allow flexibility in case there is an emergency. 
  • Think about getting an insurance company to cover your weddings and check for a policy which covers weddings in case of a serious virus outbreak emergency (yes, it's a thing!).
  • While hiring a vendor, make sure you read all contracts thoroughly and ensure they have a cancellation clause that allows you a full refund or at least some amount if such need arises. 
  • If your vendor's contract doesn't have a pre-existing cancellation clause, then request them to add a one.  

Food Menu Planning

  • Plan a more simple and fresh meal for your guests. 
  • The more complicated you go with your food menu, the more outsourced the ingredients will be. 
  • Try planning food items that can be made with locally sourced, hygienic ingredients. 
  • Ensure you choose a reputed caterer who maintains and trains their staff in food safety practices.
  • You can have non-vegetarian food on your menu. There is no discernible source that proves that eating meat can transmit the virus (please stop believing everything you read on WhatsApp!)
  • If you are planning to have non-vegetarian food in your menu, ensure that the dishes require meat to be thoroughly cooked. 

Wedding Invitations

  • First and foremost choose to send E-invites over physical invitations. 
  • Even though the chances of contracting the virus from an invitation card are minimal, it will still be exchanged between human hands, which is something you want to avoid.

Salon Appointments

  • Brides! For your salon visits ensure that your salon is maintaining a hygienic environment. 
  • Make sure that your facial expert or hairstylist working on you is wearing a mask and gloves at all times. 
  • Make sure they're only using sterilised equipment on you. 
  • Always remember: Asking the above-mentioned questions is not rude. Just support a polite tone always. 
  • Guest List

  • We know this may sound harsh, but you need to keep your guest list small like literally SMALL! 
  • If you were planning to invite a large crowd of people, say about 500 guests, then we would advise not to. 
  • At this moment, it is essential to keep the guest list as small as possible, to avoid interaction between a large crowd. 
  • Let your guests know in advance that you are taking all precautions from your end but they need to do the same. 
  • If your guests are coming from outside, request them to bring their own toiletries and towels and avoid using any at a hotel.

Lastly, stay up to date with the virus outbreak's news and any kind of healthcare announcements in your city and country. 

For more basic precautions against the virus, please visit the WHO advisory page HERE. 

Guidance During Wedding Ceremonies

If your wedding functions are around the corner and there is no time to cancel or postpone, then you need not panic. Now we cannot ask you to cut down on your guest list at the last moment, especially since the invites have long gone out to everyone. However, you can practice the following precautions to ensure that you, as the host, are trying to keep everyone safe:

  • Place large hand sanitizers with pumps in every venue. 
  • Ask your venue manager (hotel, banquet, etc.) to sanitize the venue well before and after every function. 
  • Offer use and throw masks for all your guests at the venue. 
  • In case your guests do not wish to wear regular masks for the function, you can always get designer masks made from them with the help of your wedding planner
  • Keep hand sanitizers in the rooms of all your guests along with health advisory notes so that they also practice precaution. 
  • Always keep a doctor on call for any kind of medical emergency. 
  • Do not ignore any sign of illness in either yourself, friends or family. Even cases on basic flu should be taken seriously and proper medical care should be provided. 
  • Ensure that there are dustbins everywhere and advise your guests to throw trash in dustbins and not on floors. 

Destination Weddings

The effect of this deadly virus outbreak on the masses has left us contemplating its effects not just on the wedding industry but the entire world in general. And it only further brings to the thought of those who've recently planned their destination weddings. You may just be one of those people. With some of the most popular destination wedding locations being hit by the virus, the idea of having a wedding overseas almost seems impossible. And if you've planned a destination wedding, or are planning one, then here are some of the things you must keep in mind.

Make Double Pre-Bookings

If you were planning a destination wedding, then we urge you to make double pre-bookings in terms of locations, one domestic and one international. Since the government is slowly withdrawing from giving visas for certain countries, you must keep a domestic backup. 

Go Local!

It isn't necessary that you have a destination wedding overseas. You can always choose to sport a destination wedding at one of the many unique and exotic locations in India. You could even plan one of the most stunning palatial weddings in India at one of its many luxury palaces

Read Your Contract Wisely & Carefully 

Just like we mentioned before, it is very important to thoroughly read your vendor contracts. Have a conversation with them beforehand about any kind of changes and ensure that they are flexible if for when an emergency arises at the last-minute. 

Double Check Your Guest List

While destination weddings are generally done with smaller, more intimate crowds, we urge you to double-check each guest's travel history. When you're applying for a visa, many countries may not want to give out visas to guests who may have a travel history in recent times to China or Italy. So, make sure you check that out. 

Procuring Raw Material For Decor & Other Things

For destination weddings, many times event management companies source out raw material for decor from other places as they might not be available in said locations. However, due to import restrictions in various countries, it is difficult for them to acquire certain things. We suggest that you as a couple decide on decor or food menus that can be produced by locally sourced material. 

Visa Related Issues 

Currently, India has shut down all access to people of foreign countries like China, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Iran, Japan, South Korea. Visas are not being issued to people for travel purposes for several other countries. So, before you decide to take your entire wedding brigade overseas, make sure you do a thorough check of visa issues. 

Post-Wedding aka Your Honeymoon

If you've passed the wedding shenanigans phase without a single virus scare, then congratulations! 🤗 However, the threat isn't over just yet. 

With various destinations being hit by the virus outbreak, your honeymoon plans may just need to take the backseat for now. You need to decide if you want to take the chance and travel overseas for your honeymoon or enjoy your post-wedding phase locally while putting international travel on hold for now. 

Here are certain things you need to keep in mind while planning your honeymoon during the coronavirus outbreak:

  • Decide whether you and your spouse are willing to go on a honeymoon now. We strongly advise that you postpone. However, it's the collective opinion of the couple that matters. 
  • If your plans haven't been booked, they can be postponed. For it's better to enjoy your honeymoon later to the fullest, and not letting the fear of the virus take its toll on the fun. 
  • If you still wish to go ahead with an overseas honeymoon, ensure that you get a fully refundable ticket, hotel booking and even add travel insurance to the mix. 

Where You Can And Cannot Travel

The list is long and it only keeps increasing. And unfortunately, most of these locations are the hub of honeymoons for couples. The following are the countries with many confirmed cases of Coronavirus that are practicing precaution and not allowing any travellers into the country. 

  • China
  • South Korea
  • Italy
  • Iran
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Hong Kong
  • Singapore
  • USA
  • Norway
  • Japan
  • UK

For more information on the confirmed cases in each country, visit here. 

The cases are heavily concentrated in South East Asian, European and Middle Eastern Countries. However, reports of new cases from areas like Australia, New Zealand, Oman, and Bahrain are also cropping up daily. Right now, there are very few countries that are not affected by this speedily spreading virus, which is an ordeal for honeymooners. 

The Indian government is strongly advising against any kind of overseas travel. That being said, there are still some countries considered safe for travel which is listed below:

  • Malta
  • Turkey
  • Bhutan
  • Monaco
  • Honduras
  • Morocco
  • Maldives
  • Macao
  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles 
  • South Africa and other African nations (hardly any cases reported)
  • South America (only a few cases reported)

If You've Already Booked Your Honeymoon

For all those who have already booked their honeymoons, here's the deal. If you've booked your honeymoon in one of the places with major concentrations of the virus or places with a tonne of travel restrictions like Italy or South Korea, then we best suggest that you do not go and postpone your trip. Because if you visit any of these countries, you will have to wait for 14 days before you can enter India. Similarly, with the rising cases of the virus in many countries, advisories could come in the future, telling people not to travel to said location. 

Furthermore, those planning trips to destinations where the coronavirus is present (even if there is one confirmed case) are advised not to come in contact with sick people and clean their hands with disinfectant soap regularly for at least twenty seconds. 

This global pandemic has left us all very confused. And if you're someone who has already booked their honeymoon, then the main question that comes to your head is "How do I cover the financial loses?"

Don't be stressed, as there are a few options for you to take note of:

  • Speak to your travel agent and check if the bookings are refundable. If yes, then you can easily get your bookings either cancelled or postponed until further notice. 
  • If the money is non-refundable, then ask them if they can give you credit, which can be utilised for a trip taken at another time. 
  • If you're booking is non-refundable in all cases, then contact your travel insurance agency and check if they can help you out. However, in the case of the virus outbreak, your travel insurance may not be enough, unless you have a very expensive kind. 
  • When it comes to airline tickets, let's hope you decided to book the refundable ones instead of the non-refundable ones, to save a buck or two. Refundable airline tickets are easy to cancel and the money returns to the source within 7-10 working days. 
  • If you have made all the bookings and reservations yourself, then you will have to individually contact all points and cancel, hoping they have a workable refund policy. 
  • Due to the COVID-19's rapid spread and an emergency being declared in various countries, many hotel chains are opting to refund money without any questions asked as a sign of good faith. 

The outbreak of the Coronavirus is truly something none of us could have controlled. It is a global pandemic that has severely hit not just the wedding industry but also the global economy as a whole. However, we urge you to not be disheartened and follow safety rules for the time being.

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We hope this guide helped you. If you have more information or would like to leave your thoughts, let us know in the comments. 


How To Plan Your Wedding & Honeymoon During The Coronavirus Outbreak

by Shivani Singh

How To Plan Your Wedding & Honeymoon During The Coronavirus Outbreak