"We are just trying to focus on getting by and reminding ourselves that when all this blows over, we will have a beautiful wedding to share with a special group of people - no matter when it happens."
A three-tier wedding cake falling apart or unexpected showers on a supposed-to-be sunny day are scenarios that brides often foresee. But who ever planned for a global pandemic?
As COVID 19 marks it's reach across the globe, particularly the United States of America; lives are being overturned, economies are collapsing and havoc is welcomed like never before. While this unanticipated health concern has hit the wedding industry hard, couples are having to make difficult, often heartbreaking decisions to postpone or cancel their nuptials.
Chetana Guliani, scheduled to tie the knot with Christopher Tutino on July 5th in New Jersey, USA, recounts the turmoil in her mind when she first forecast the situation getting out of hand.
Brides Today:When the news about Coronavirus initially broke out, did you ever imagine it would reach to a point where you will have to contemplate your wedding plans?
Chetana Guliani: "I was visiting India in February when the virus began taking a toll on China. At the time, there were barely a handful of cases confirmed in USA. However, by the time I came home, it was a completely different story. By mid-March, California was on a lock-down and I knew in my heart that our wedding would get postponed. This is unlike anything so many of us in our generation have ever had to go through. My wedding planner, Arun, can probably confirm the dozens of times I have texted him in the middle of the night for reassurance."
BT: Have you virtually been in touch with your vendors? What do they have to stay about the situation?
CG: "Arun, our wedding planner has been immensely helpful throughout this process. There are a few vendors with whom we have developed a friendship, and he has been on the forefront tying all lines of communication. To think of the weeks and months it takes to find vendors that are available and accommodating of your vision, budget and dates... to now attempting to do this in only a matter of a days, while vendors are juggling so many rescheduling requests. Currently, we are just looking at 'possible' dates of postponement. We have only seen March-May weddings getting postponed, while June weddings are starting to get rescheduled."
BT: How do you think this global pandemic has impacted the wedding business?
CG: "I can't imagine the stress that the wedding industry is going through right now. Some people are cancelling their weddings in panic, and are unfortunately demanding refunds for deposits. It hurts to see small businesses get impacted like that. On one hand, you feel for the couples who may have been hit by job insecurity, unexpected expenses, or other issues, but on the other side, there are so many small businesses counting on our day to pay their employees. It's a really difficult time which makes open and honest communication all the more necessary. Everyone's doing their best to get by, so practising kindness is the need of the hour."
BT: What are the major concerns that are troubling you when it comes to throwing a wedding amidst Coronavirus?
CG: "For Chris and I, our major concern is our families and friends' health and well-being. Nobody is lucky enough to remain unaffected by this and nothing worries us more than to have our wedding in a time of uncertainty, increasing anybody's vulnerability to the disease."
BT: Are both your partner and you on the same page with respect to recent wedding discussions?
CG:"Personally it's been hard to focus or engage in any wedding talk recently. Chris and I are trying to make sense of the 'new normal' - working from home, staying indoors for days, virtual contact with our friends and family, and too much cooking! We are just trying to focus on getting by and reminding ourselves that when all this blows over, we will have a beautiful wedding to share with a special group of people - no matter when it happens."
BT: Had all the arrangements for the wedding already been made?
CG:"All the arrangements had been made, but I'm waiting on half of my trousseau, including my wedding lehenga. It was supposed to ship last week but I'm sure I'll have to wait another month. Our goal with rescheduling is to ensure we continue with the same vendors and venues so that we don't lose any deposits. That way we save on added expenses on our end and our vendors rest easy knowing that they can count on our wedding."
BT: How do you feel as a bride in such an uncertain situation and what would you want to tell other brides who are in the same situation as you?
CG:"To my Type-A brides, you're not alone! Give yourself time to breathe. You've worked so hard to plan every detail of every minute. Breathe. Then, re-group and get on to Plan B. If you've been involved with your wedding planning since day one, this might be Plan C or Plan D. You've GOT this! For those of you who are looking to cancel, please consider rescheduling instead. Think of your loved ones who want to share this beautiful day with you, as well as the vendors who want to make your day as special as possible. Last but not the least, think about your spouse with whom you'll share these happy memories and will reminisce long after. The road might have gotten longer but it'll be worth it in the end (Also if you haven't already, hire a wedding planner to guide you through this process and relieve you off some stress)."
BT: Irrespective of everything, what do you think really matters at the end of the day?
CG:"It seems like an oversimplification of what's happening, but, practice gratitude. Be grateful for the opportunity and privilege to have a wedding and to have loved ones you can share the happiness with. Be grateful for good health and access to medical care. Practice kindness towards yourself and towards those who are in need. We are all in it together."
Chetana & Christopher
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