Bhopal: Fear looms over wedding planners, marriage venue owners after resurging COVID cases

BHOPAL: The owners of marriage gardens in the city fear that the resurgence of Covid-19 cases may hit their business. Night curfew has been imposed in many cities in the state and restrictions have been placed on people coming from worst-hit states like Maharashtra.

The solemnisation of marriages in Hindu families is set to begin from April and the wedding season would continue till July. Marriage gardens and halls have bookings from the third week of April onwards. The rising graph of corona cases, however, has created an atmosphere of fear and uncertainty among the people. They don't know what shape the things would take in the coming weeks and months. The government may come out with new guidelines, restricting the number of guests or even impose a lockdown, they fear.

Owner of Mahamaya Garden on Hoshangabad Road, Manish Soni, says that night curfews or lockdowns in any part of the country affect marriages. "After all, baraats and guests come from different places. Now, if the Madhya Pradesh Government decides that anyone coming from certain states would be quarantined for say, a week, people from such states would avoid attending marriages in the city," he said.

"There is a feeling of uncertainty and apprehension among the people. Booking enquiries have reduced though no booking has been cancelled so far. We are trying to convince them that everything will be alright," Soni said.

The Marigold Marriage Garden on VIP Road, Lalghati is booked from April 21 up to May end. "Once vaccination began, people were convinced that Covid won't return. But that hope has proved wrong," said Ruchi Agarwal, owner of the garden. She said that they suffered huge losses due to cancellations of booking last year. "If this happens again, we will be ruined. It will be difficult to survive," she said.

Manager of Pradhan Mandapam Marriage Garden, Hoshangabad Road, Bagh Swaniya, S K Yadav, said that their venue is entirely booked from April 20 up to July. "But how do we expect guests to attend wedding receptions when they know that they would be in trouble if they are caught on the way after 10 pm?" he says.

The owner of Rose Marriage Garden, Airport Road, said he was sure their business would be hit. "When people read about the surge in Covid cases in newspapers, they definitely become apprehensive. It affects the scale of celebrations of weddings," he said.

The owner of Elegant Green Garden, Kolar Road, is disappointed. "Last year, too, Covid had ruined the marriage season and it is happening again," he said.

I have already spent Rs 3.5 lakh on making bookings of marriage garden, photographer, videographer etc. Now, I am not sure what would happen. I fear that a big part of my hard-earned money would go down the drain if the situation deteriorates and a lockdown or any other drastic measure is taken by the government.
- Praveen Shakya, Businessman
We have decided to shift the venue of the marriage of our son from Bhopal to Ujjain. There is no night curfew in Ujjain and we would be able to celebrate the event better there.
- Sunil Agrawal, Businessman

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