By Monday, many soon to be married couples excitedly put the finishing touches on the day they would take their vows, but were hit by the recent woes of COVID-19, the reintroduction of curfew in the capital that they discussed the arrangements again 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.
Now couples are considering a “day marriage,” wedding planners make their way to the 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 are now considering one day wedding,” said Chugh, obviously not happy with the new restrictions placed on one Wrench throw in 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 will need e-passports issued by the district judges concerned. However, guests will not be allowed during the set curfew of 10 p.m. to 5 p.m.,” said a senior government official in Delhi.
Couples are concerned that the requirement of getting wedding e-passes will prove daunting to wedding guests.
“I understand the limit on the number of people attending the wedding, but getting an e-pass due to the curfew at night has raised concerns. Apparently those attending weddings must be given an e-pass. Lots People who intended to attend the wedding will pull back to avoid this hassle, which also adds to our financial 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 is due to 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 all day calling various venues in Gurgaon and Noida to check their availability. However, customers are concerned that these two regions could soon impose restrictions due to their exponential growth (in COVID cases),” said Shakti Singh, Head (Weddings), Ms. Planner.
“A plan for a day wedding is currently under review, depending on the availability of trusted venues that meet security and hygiene standards. This is also financially bad for clients as the event managers still have fewer people attending the wedding calculate the number of guests quoted initially, “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 delighted that the government is taking immediate action. However, it is too early to comment on the implications. We adhere to all government-set safety standards and are taking the utmost precautions under the Hilton Cleanstay program.” Cleanliness measures to ensure guest safety and an enhanced wedding experience, “said Abhinav Mehra, assistant sales manager at the 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 an unforgettable, regal and extraordinary affair. Guests are treated to a full day of personalized, curated and bespoke events with intimate weddings by Amaara. Our Shimmer The Glasshouse is just as special for a midday wedding as it is for the reflection of the moonlit sky, “said Gupta, Creative Director at Amaara Farms.