By Monday, many soon to be married couples excitedly put the finishing touches to the day they would take their vows of marriage, but arrangements were still being made by the recent woes of COVID-19, the reintroduction of curfew in the capital once from scratch – wedding date, venue and the most important “timing”.
The Delhi government’s decision on Tuesday to impose a curfew from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. by April 30 to curb the spread of the virus has put the couples and the already bleeding wedding industry in turmoil.
Couples are now considering a “day marriage,” wedding planners make their way to venues in neighboring Noida and Gurgaon, and many hotel banquets reading the fine print on orders are busy answering questions from desperate customers. Paras Chugh and Abhishek, who were due to tie the knot on April 28, are now considering a “day wedding” instead of a night gala.
“It’s a total mess. There is a new restriction every week. We discuss what to do next with our wedding planner. We’re now considering a day wedding, ”said Chugh, obviously not happy with the new restrictions that throw a wrench into the works of his dream wedding.
The curfew was imposed after the state capital saw a surge in COVID-19 cases.
The state capital recorded 5,100 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest since November 27 last year when the city reported 5,482 cases a day. 17 more deaths from the infection have brought the death toll to 11,113, according to the Delhi Health Department.
The decision on the nocturnal curfew is another blow for the wedding season, in which, according to the administrative order in the last week of March, an upper limit of 100 or 200 people for local and outdoor events in the capital has already been set. While the “bride, groom, and close family members” are exempt from night lock restrictions, no such policy is available for guests attending the wedding.
“The bride, groom and their close family members need e-passports, which are issued by the district judges concerned. However, no guests are allowed during the designated curfew from 10pm to 5am, ”a senior government official in Delhi told PTI.
Couples are concerned that the requirement of getting wedding e-passes will prove daunting to wedding guests. “I understand the maximum number of people who can attend the wedding, but getting an e-pass due to the nightly curfew has raised concerns. Apparently those attending weddings need to get an e-passport. Many people who were planning to attend the wedding will pull away to avoid this hassle. This also adds to our monetary loss. “And this news comes so close to the wedding date that changes to the arrangements are not possible. All payments have been made in advance, ”said Bhavna Kaul, who will get married on April 25th.
Concerned wedding planners have wasted no time finding Plan B for their clients, such as booking venues in the cities of Gurgaon in Haryana and Noida in Uttar Pradesh. “We spent the whole day calling various venues in Gurgaon and Noida to check their availability. However, customers are concerned that due to the exponential growth (in COVID cases), these two regions may soon impose restrictions too, ”said Shakti Singh, Madam Planners Head (Weddings).
“A plan for a day wedding is currently under review, depending on the availability of trusted venues that are safe and hygienic. It’s also bad financially for the clients as the event managers still calculate the number of originally stated guests despite fewer people attending the wedding, ”she added.
For those in the business of luxury wedding venues like the Hilton Garden Inn and Amaara Farms, maintaining the highest standards of hygiene remains a top priority, although it is too early to gauge the impact the curfew will have on business.
“We are pleased that the government is taking immediate action. It’s too early to comment on the implications for now, however. We adhere to all government-set safety standards and take the utmost precautionary and cleanliness measures as part of the Hilton Cleanstay program to ensure guest safety and an enhanced wedding experience, ”said Abhinav Mehra, assistant manager of sales at Hilton Garden Inn. Saket. Shivan Gupta of Amaara Farms said the facility received requests for brunch or day weddings after the curfew was announced.
“2020 was a series of significant changes for the Indian wedding industry. Given the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in Delhi, the government has imposed a curfew that will once again affect weddings.
“We have received requests from couples for brunch or a wedding, which can be a memorable, regal and extraordinary affair. Guests are offered a full day of personalized, curated and bespoke events with intimate weddings by Amaara. Our shimmering glass house is just as special for a midday wedding as it is for reflecting the moonlit sky, ”said Gupta, Creative Director at Amaara Farms.
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