The pandemic wedding guide: Here's an easy guide to help you plan the perfect D-day in time of Covid-19

From planning a guest list to opting for a destination wedding and going traditional, here’s a complete expert guide to planning a memorable wedding in the time of the pandemic

Hema CUpdated:Saturday, January 15, 2022, 11:21 PM IST
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Photo: Instagram/Rahul Vaidya

As the sun makes the transition into the Capricorn, it’s the time for weddings in India. And for the past two years, weddings have kind of become an intimate affair. Lengthy guest lists, packed dance floors and concrete plans have been replaced with an ever-changing list of rules, restrictions, and postponements. However, as more and more people get vaccinated, couples and their families are feeling confident to plan their D-day. Since we are not completely out of the uncertainties, planning a wedding can be a task, especially while following Covid protocols.

Hire a planner

Today, many couples and families understand the importance of professional guidance while planning for a wedding. Just like any other event, it is important to outsource the planning team, who specialise in organising weddings. “You can hire a planner on an hourly, each ceremony basis or for the complete wedding. They have the expertise and you don’t have to worry much about the arrangements as the planners lookout for everything,” says Winyl Mathew, who has been organising weddings and events for almost 20 years. “This time is different, especially with changes in guidelines every day. Planners can help you with every bit starting from searching for a venue,” shares Winny, and adds that if the client had to postpone the wedding, vendors are quite flexible given the situation. A good wedding planner proves to be an added benefit.

Smaller guest list

Ever since the pandemic brought the whole world to a standstill, it is challenging to the number of guests that will be allowed at weddings. Every state and city has different regulations, so anticipating that, while also making it seamless for guests can be tough. According to Chennai-based wedding planner Kamlesh Sunder, getting married in such a scenario needs to be a thoroughly organised event. “One needs to see every aspect of the wedding. Once you have the guest list, leave everything to the planner,” Kamlesh says and adds that once the list is finalised, it is important to ask the guests to arrive at the time where a pick-up from the airport or train station becomes easier. “That way you can club the pick-ups and save on travel cost and fuel,” he explains. He also adds that a smaller guest count is preferable for flexibility.

Mumbai-based event planner Christian Luise advises his clients to downsize the guest list. “We advised our clients to create three different guest lists because you never know when new guidelines would come and you are asked to have less number of guests. This way, as a planner, we can just head in the direction that’s required,” says Christian.

Destination wedding

A destination wedding is indeed a dream for almost every couple. And the big Bollywood weddings like Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas, and most recently Katrina Kaif and Vicky Kaushal’s have given goals to many couples. But the thought of a budget plays spoilsport and many go for a hometown wedding.

Mumbai-based event planner Sagar Shetty explains such weddings are more budget-friendly than conventional ones. “You have a huge turn up at the wedding if you plan in your hometown. Sometimes, we have prepared for 1000 people but more guests come in and that creates last-minute chaos like space constraints and shortage of food. A destination wedding, on the other hand, is more organised,” says Sagar.

Explaining his point, Sagar says, “First, you have limited guests and there is no way extra people are attending the wedding. You can always book the tickets in advance and there are many budget-friendly destinations. For instance, Sri Lanka is very economical as our Rupee rate is higher in price. Similarly, there are other cheaper destinations.”

But, it is important to check the capacity of the place you are booking. “Sometimes, the capacity is for 60 rooms and families invite more guests than it’s the last-minute stress. Hence, planning a guest list and venue as per the requirement is important,” he suggests.

Virtual invites

“In 2010, my friend got married and she sent a website link, which was a wedding invitation. It seemed new and modern then, but now it's the need of the hour,” says Prateeksha Sinha, a wedding planner from Delhi, who organised her first wedding in 2019 for a Delhi-based couple. “But when the pandemic hit, I had to figure out the ways to plan weddings with a similar flair. A wedding is a special occasion not only for the couple but also for the families and if they hire a planner they expect best results,” says Prateeksha. She says last year in May when there was a partial lockdown and only 50 guests were allowed, she advised her clients to go for virtual invitations and have LEDs with live wedding ceremonies. “Keeping the guest list small is important and ditching paper invitations at this time is advisable. Now, since everything has gone virtual, you can always have a similar online link for everyone you want to invite for your wedding,” says Prateeksha.

But what about the functions that need people and make the ceremonies memorable? “That’s why a destination wedding is the right option. You have the most important guests and friends there attending the ceremonies,” says Kamlesh, and Sagar agrees that it is also important to do thorough research about the destination and how they have dealt with the Covid-19 situation. “Ultimately, you need to choose a destination where your guests feel comfortable. In India, Rajasthan is an advisable place for a destination wedding,” says Sagar, and adds that from the venue one can always have live ceremonies for the other guests to attend virtually.

Taking the sustainable route

The goal of a wedding is to celebrate the couple and their love story with their near and dear ones. And just like every plan, the bride and groom must opt for more creative ways. For instance, opting for recycled clothes. Although there are Sabyasachi lehengas and Manish Malhotra saris, nothing can beat your mother’s wedding attire with a little bit of refurbishing. Starting with Kareena Kapoor Khan, who wore her mother-in-law’s wedding sharara on her D-day and most recently Yami Gautam opted for her mother’s wedding sari and her Nani's dupatta as a veil, Bollywood has also been setting conscious trends. Isn’t it emotional? Apart from clothing, you can also arrange a food distribution drive after the wedding to avoid food wastage.

Tips to organise a successful wedding in 2022

  1. Hire a planner

  2. Consider a smaller guest count

  3. Consult your vendor team

  4. Budget accordingly

  5. Opt for a destination wedding

  6. Be sustainable

  7. Read planning contracts

  8. Virtual invitations over paper invitations

  9. Be ready with a backup plan

  10. Be flexible

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