We've hit a snag, thanks to the Coronavirus outbreak. With weddings postponed, flights cancelled, travel banned, your wedding plans seem to be put on hold for now. Sitting at home, you're probably going over your wedding planner and reminiscing all the fun times you had planned for your upcoming wedding. You're best friends were going to make a road trip to your wedding destination, all your outfits were designed and ready to be shipped and every function was planned to the last detail, decor, and everything!
Alas! Tragedy never does announce itself to your doorstep. It just shows up. Much like the COVID-19 pandemic we are all facing today. But feeling disheartened is not the solution. Similar to your paused plans, wedding vendors are also facing an uncertain situation because of the viral outbreak. And here's what they have to say about the situation.
With weddings on hold and cities on lockdown, the Coronavirus has affected the wedding industry and put many plans on complete hold. The government has put the entire country on lockdown and precautions against the virus are seriously advised. This, in turn, has also affected many of those whose business and livelihood revolves around the wedding industry. However, wedding vendors are positive that the tide will turn soon and things will improve for the better.
"The whole world, every country, and individual are in this situation together today; and while the effects are horrific in the short-term, everyone is working together as a community to resolve it. We are doing our bit and taking care of what we can at our end and our government is also intervening to support us overcome this problem. Our advice to couples is to not panic! In a global crisis like this, you will have to wait for a bit more to get married. Most of the stakeholders in the wedding industry, the hospitality industry included, are trying to support you in whatever way they can; especially in your decision to postpone your wedding. Most people are also offering a deferred date until the situation becomes a bit clear," said DreamzKrraft Wedding.
Also, they said, "People who are planning for the future should continue planning their wedding; as no one knows when this current scenario will change. At most, your wedding may take place at a later date. It is important though to discuss with your vendors that if the situation with coronavirus does not get resolved by the time of your event; you will have to push your event to a further date. Continue planning your wedding, but keep in place contingency plans that will help ensure you are protected."
Our Advice: As the experts from DreamzKrraft Wedding said, the effect of the virus outbreak has given a hit to the industry. However, as suggested, couples should not cancel their bookings in a haste. Speak to your vendors and come up with a common date for the future. Postpone your booking, rather than cancelling it. This way, your money stays safe and invested with the right vendors. If you end up cancelling your booking, you may lose some money, if not all, and you may also not be able to book the previous vendor.
"Let go these darkest days, Chin up a smile, and walk away."
Next up is a wedding planning company Fiestro Events who added that "We have seen that all the work is affected because of this virus. It's not just the wedding industry but yeah, it is one of the most affected industries we can say. Many clients were about to come for meetings, for future bookings. Plus, April is always peak season for weddings but all that is cancelled or postponed. One of our weddings was still live till today but we have denied working for that and forced them to postpone their plans keeping in mind the seriousness of this communicable COVID-19. Deep down we are worried about the future market because even if this ends, people will still think twice before planning any destination wedding for at least 5-6 months. But we're also taking this as a positive thing as we're getting time to work on our things. We're bound to come up with new ideas and other stuff by the end of this lockdown."
Our Advice: "We also would recommend couples not to panic. They should continue with their plans. They can use this time to research new themes or clothes or designers they wish to use in their wedding. We're sure that this will all get sorted soon. As wedding planners for many couples, we're available anytime for everybody to clear their doubts if there's any. Do not think of executing your wedding plans until you hear "Corona is Gone". Planning is the one thing that should never stop, for it will help you to get more knowledge about things. So be positive as we are and let things get sorted."
And we couldn't agree more with Fiestro Events. At times like these, with plans on hold, couples have all the time to plan their weddings even better. Even if you've planned way ahead of time, with the changing situation, you can take time to refurbish your plans. So brides, grab your planners, get online and start pinning and updating your wedding plans!
House of W, a wedding & event decorator company that creates memorable wedding spaces said, "The Wedding and Hospitality industry has been greatly affected by this outbreak. We have cancelled all our meetings and try to do face time/Skype whenever immediately important with the client. Because of the virus, getting small items like flowers and fabric for decor is not as simple as before because going to these crowded places is dangerous. Plus, cities are on lockdown, so market places are mostly closed. As planners, we are also talking in contact with hotels to cut the least guarantee of guests, as we expect that the guest count will below. We're also advising venues and hotels to check every individual entering the venue for temperature, so that proper measure can be taken if someone has a mild fever."
Our Advice: We advise a couple to postpone their weddings if this is still an option. If not, then they should invite a few close relatives and keep the wedding as small and intimate as possible. They can use customized masks as per the theme and get hand sanitizer stations made. Keeping a portable washbasin is also an option to avoid the risk of spread as much as possible.
Just like House Of W puts it, movement in market areas has come to a stop. So, wedding decorators obviously will not be able to purchase the material required to decorate a venue. Plus venues are on complete lockdown as well, as per government mandate. But to keep the planning procedure up and running, couples can keep in touch with their vendors through online means like video conferences, digital messengers, etc. Now is the best time for vendors to go digital as it'll be helpful for not just their clients but their own business as well. Couples planning their wedding should not ghost their vendors and keep in contact with them through phone calls, video calls, and even e-mails. These acts of communication maintain healthy trust between the vendor and couples.
A famous wedding planning company that has planned many celebrity weddings is The Wedding Design Company. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, they added that "Some times call for tough decisions. A wedding is a rather emotional time for a family. We care about you and we know you care about your family and friends. Be positive and brave! Look for an alternative date and enjoy your wedding without any hesitation or fear of what may happen. A year has many dates for a wedding. Our first piece of advice is to postpone, not cancel."
Our Advice: "Being positive is one of the most important things in this situation. You need to stay calm and don't panic about your wedding plans being postponed. With all the fear out there about the virus outbreak, many people have panicked and rethinking all their plans." However, as The Wedding Design Company advised, couples should stay calm and wait for these cloudy days to pass us by. Just keep following government regulations and soon we will be out of this mess and you will be holding your wedding on a later date with much ease. A wedding, later on, will be a better idea, plus you and your family will be able to enjoy it without any kind of fear!
Apart from wedding planners and decorators, many bridal fashion designers are also in the same peril. The slowing down of business has been seen on this side of the industry as well since labels are neither able to have clients over nor are they able to deliver previously ordered items to brides due to travel restrictions.
Shanti Banaras, a prominent fashion label for brides, reveals to us, "The Benarasi Saree industry is based on weavers and artisans that survive on a daily wage basis. This is a challenge and a fight not only to survive the virus but the circumstances that fall with it. It is a hard time but we have to face it together."
Our Advice: "Well, even though it affects our business considerably, we strongly advise against any marriages in the recent future as the circumstances don’t permit such a big gathering, which not only affects the couple but the people who shall be attending it," says the Creative Director of Shanti Banaras, Mr. Amit Shah, "Marriage is a bonding of two souls and spreading happiness, we wouldn’t want it to be something that would put lives at risk."
One of the hippest and talked about wedding planners, The Millennial Bridesmaid's founder Aanchal Tuli reveals to us the effect of the virus, "I'd been working on two weddings that were scheduled for April 19th and April 26th. The first wedding has been postponed as the couple is currently working and stuck in the United States. We made that decision by the end of February because the couple didn't want to deal with the stress of travelling internationally in the current climate. The venues have thankfully been supportive and agreed to reschedule the event to a later date. The problem is we don't know exactly when we'll be able to plan this and so we're all just waiting and following the news closely. For the second wedding, we were hopeful till last week and we were planning to host only the main wedding ceremony at a smaller scale but now with the 21 days lockdown, the family is rethinking this decision too. The problem is that there are no mahurats from July - September, and November and December dates are already booked everywhere. Like my brides and families, I'm just waiting to see how the next few months pan out."
Our Advice: The problem of dates being postponed comes with the fear of being unable to find a suitable date in the future of this year. However, your safety is the most important thing right now. This is why, Anchal Tulli advises this to all future couples, "I think the key thing is to not make any rash decisions at the moment and stay calm and wait. While you can't go out and shop, spend time browsing through online profiles of designers and stores and shortlist your bridal style. Use this time to work on all your digital tasks - your invites, wedding stationery designs, mood boards, personalised messages, and more. Things will get better soon and everything will be back on track. Just try to stay positive and make the most of this home time."
Srishti Kapur, the founder of Floral Art Studio, has this to say on the socio-economic impact of the crisis on the luxury categories of business, "Floral Art comes under the Luxury Category as a wedding vendor. Given the financial and economic impact of COVID-19, people are likely to scale down their expenses which may affect our business. Like most other vendors, payroll and inventory are fixed costs and expenses for us and to keep up we will need to make necessary adjustments."
Our Advice: But with every problem, vendors like Floral Art are also coming up with solutions to make the best of this time, "That being said we are using this time to create an exquisite capsule collection that we are hoping to launch this year-end. But we, as a company is actively avoiding destination weddings and larger gatherings. We are also going to continue to keep safety and sanity in the frontline of any orders we take moving forward and urge other brands to also consider the same"
The founder of WhatKnot Photography, Aditya Mahagaonkar revealed, “The Wedding Industry is going to be one of the worst-hit because of the Virus outbreak simply because Social Distancing is probably the exact opposite of Hosting the Biggest Event of your life. Clients are going to be apprehensive about getting married this year for sure and we expect a lesser number of weddings happening. International Destination Weddings would be hit first followed by Destination Weddings in India."
And even when the lockdown is over, the effects of it would last longer, "The upper class and the higher Middle Class would want to delay all of their proceedings because there is a lot at stake for them. We also expect a few Local Weddings happening at smaller banquet Halls if not the Five Star Properties. Social Gatherings would go down from 3000 pax to 100-150 pax where only the select few are called."
Our Advice: "We expect a lot of vendors to be asked to cut down on their charges as the Economy has come to a standstill currently. It will be important for all the Wedding Vendors to plan in that direction right away starting from cutting down on their expenses to the core. Remember that Cashflow is the King. If you have the money in your bank, keep it safe and secure. You will need it in the latter half of the year when things start picking up. It is important to stay safe for now. It is a 'wait and watch' game and only time will tell how things move."
Soniya Dembla, from the Camera Crew, talks of how not just their team, but fellow photographers are coping with the current scenario, "If you have kept a close eye on the impacts of COVID-19 it is instructive to watch how much keeps changing every week. Many early forecast seems to be laughingly optimistic. The uncertainty is extraordinarily high hence one must think about what the future holds. We are from the luxury industry and while everyone is currently bleeding and the economy is crashing this may certainly prompt families to be more discerning in some of their choices. Given how many industries, from hospitality to travel to entertainment rely on having a successful wedding season, the results of these scale downs could be financially devastating. And it is not just until the quarantine is lifted but this fallout will be felt far beyond the period of lockdown. Weddings are centered around travel and large gatherings. With the corona chaos, we will experience that people will avoid travel, prefer local vendors and small gatherings."
According to Romesh Dhamija of Studio RDP, "The Indian Wedding Industry has always been the recession-proof one, whatever may come, weddings have always continued to happen. This pandemic has been a strong jolt to this. Weddings in India range from 5 lakh to 5 crores, honestly, there is no limit but there are so many facets to this industry right from invitation cards to florist to lights, sound & wedding photography et. It will be very difficult to assimilate the kind of damage that has happened and if the coming season will lead to covering up for the cancelled or rescheduled weddings."
Our Advice: However, with all that is happening, Romesh also has an interesting take on what vendors must do to get their work back on track as soon as possible, "We are predicting in the coming time more intimate settings for weddings and a dip in large destination weddings, the hospitality, and wedding industry will have to work very hard and infuse faith in the clients about the sanitisation & in the health of their workers so that people can reinstate their faith about having weddings with a large number of people and in 5-star hotels. We are also bracing for a heavy influx in the coming wedding season which starts in October as many of the April & May weddings are going to be pushed for next season. Taking a cue from the wedding industry in other countries, it won't be wrong to say that there will be a 15 to 25 % dip in the weddings, especially destination weddings in the coming months."
Vikram Mehta, from Mpire Events, reveals how many vendors and professionals working in the industry are trying to cope up, "I am afraid to say, but I see people panicking. While at the beginning many and most were quiet about the lockdown, I have had compatriots reach out to me in the last few days about a possible meltdown concern. This includes Hotels as well! I frankly think we need to just start working on contingents for the next 6 months, which may include stopgaps for fixed costs in case of an extended period of lull. I, however, see a recovery (not necessarily full-blown) once we touch to winter. Keep reminding yourself we are in this together, it might soften the blow."
The founders of Castle and Coasters, Namha and Edul, one of the topmost wedding decor connoisseurs in the industry, told us how they're coping with the situation, "We, with our couples, are scrambling to make last-minute arrangements to postpone and reevaluate the ‘how, when, where’ that’s experiencing the shift. We are considering switching to more intimate affairs shortly. Once the dust settles, we can arrange a big party to celebrate, later in the year. The reality of nuptials in 2020 is that there is a deterrent in having destination weddings due to the fear of flying that could potentially linger for a while.
Our Advice: "When it comes to deciding as to whether or not we must commence the celebrations, we must take into consideration the age groups of our guests who have RSVPed. If it includes a lot of senior citizens or elderly couples, we recommend they reconsider and postpone. Closely monitoring the regulations and recommendations by our government and the World Health Organization and are discussing it with our couples and guests to arrive at a sensible decision, which given the current state of affairs, is to postpone it for a while. Our common piece of advice is to go with the flow, while we do everything in our capacity to give you a wedding to remember for a lifetime to come. It might be different from what you planned, but we might just discover that it’s even more meaningful and romantic, when done while ensuring the safety of all!"
Known for capturing beautiful emotions and moments Isrrani Photography is a popular name in the industry who went one step further during the Coronavirus outbreak. "Although times may be tough now, we should all remember the love and laughter we spread. We at Isrrani Photography have taken an initiative with this video to help the wedding industry cope with the current situation. Also, it is an ode to all the vendors that make an Indian Wedding what it is! And it is a reminder that this too, shall pass. This quarantine and its team spirit are worth a mention!"
Our Advice: Meghaa R Isrrani, the founder of this company said, "We have seen a lot of cancellations and postponements, we don't see the season picking up until November when you start seeing winter weddings. Advice to other photographers would be to reconnect with older clients, it's a great time for brides to sit and make their albums, go through their wedding pictures and videos. It's a great time to teach new skills to your team. For instance, our edit team is learning new software, its a great time to experiment and start doing something new."
Gautmi Khanna, founder Gautmi Khanna Designs says, "This lockdown period is very crucial for us and our clients. A lot of our clients have postponed their marriage for winters and couples are worried about the planning and execution of their wedding. So, as wedding vendors we're all the time connected with our clients through Skype/Zoom meetings, supporting and helping them figure out best at this time. We are seeing this lockdown as an opportunity to know our clients and their preferences better through regular communication."
Q. What is your Plan B in case of an emergency?
It is very important to stay ahead of the planning and see what it would look like in case of rescheduling. For this to happen, ask your vendors & planners about Plan B, which should involve a potential future date when all of your pre-decided vendors and venue is available to host your dream wedding along with a confirmation from your list of guests.
Q. What should be the terms and conditions for cancellations/reschedule?
During such a time, when the focus is majorly on staying safe while shifting the wedding dates to the near future, it is always advisable to postpone your wedding rather than cancelling. This way, you can lock down your favourite planners and vendors. However, there should be certain terms and conditions in the process. As in, you should talk to your planner about the possibility of rescheduling and fix a date per their availability in contrast to forcing them for anything. The deposits made to the vendors should be either returned in full or considered as a freezing amount for whenever the wedding happens.
Founder Meha Bhargava of Styl.Inc says, "As Wedding Stylists, we are promoting our Virtual Shopping Services. Here, the Indian community living abroad can shop for their wedding and they don’t even have to fly down to have the perfect Indian wedding they want. We shop with them while on video calls. As we don’t know when international travel will be safe. We are going to safeguard the “No-Contact Rule” with our Virtual Shopping & Shipping Service for our clients."
We also have the advantage of working on the R&D with the brides during the quarantine time. So, while in lockdown, we would have a clear idea of what they need. At this stage, we work on the pre-shopping requirements like making mood-boards for various wedding occasions they have. This helps us because as soon as the lockdown opens, we would be able to shop & ship what they require as soon as possible. Part of our client management is to ensure they don’t panic during this pandemic while giving them tips for their upcoming wedding outfits, new trends & more.
Q. How to keep outfits up-to-date when you have postponed your wedding?
On your special day, style and trend should go hand-in-hand, Styl.Inc understands the importance of keeping your outfit up to date. As per Meha, your outfit for Summer 2020 can be made appropriate for your Monsoon/Autumn outfit. She says, “Just add up a heavy colour-specific dupatta to your Summer outfit to make it more suitable for Monsoon/Autumn. Also, team Styl.Inc can also help you customize your current outfit to make it colour specific for 2021, contact them now: www.styl-inc.com
Q. How will fashion designers bounce back from this pandemic?
As your wedding Stylists, we are here to get into your headspace and assemble all your thoughts into one folder. Staying constantly in touch with us is going to be beneficial for both of us. Especially, for your upcoming wedding shopping session. Further, we can build a colour scheme for all your functions. In turn, easing the process of styling all your looks. During this COVID19 lockdown period, we can also start working in the direction you want.
For More Information, Read: Wedding FAQs During Coronavirus Outbreak [LIVE BLOG]