Asian Weddings During Coronavirus
During October there was a subtle change in the government guidance for weddings, finally allowing faith and belief ceremonies to be en exception to the ‘rule of 6’, alongside legal weddings. Exact numbers depend on where you live, for example, wedding ceremonies and receptions in England are currently limited to 15 people. Couples planning an Asian Wedding were amongst those who could finally have a meaningful wedding, but are faced with the challenge of downscaling large celebrations if they are unable to wait for restrictions to lift.
Earlier this year it’s estimated that more than 90% of Asian weddings were postponed in the hope that they’d be able to celebrate fully from 2021.
Deciding whether you should consider Postponing
If you have already booked your wedding for later in 2020 or early 2021 but would like a big wedding, postponing is the sensible option for you. Check available dates with your venue and suppliers and see if you can find a solution that would work for a postponement. Be prepared to compromise but try to maintain a good relationship. You’ll want to keep them as a supplier for your future wedding date!
Or Continue to Plan!
Even in these uncertain times, you can still get back into or start your planning. Technically, with some adjustments, a small Asian wedding can take place. You may wish to go ahead with a small ceremony now, with a larger celebration later. Check with your suppliers to see if they could still go ahead. Then, adjust to virtual consultations and be aware that 2021 dates will be in high demand!
Consider Your Pre-Wedding Events
Be aware that pre-wedding events, such as a Mehndi, are not included as part of the wedding ceremony or reception guidelines. Therefore, they are limited by the general gathering and social distancing rules. So, you will need to check the restrictions in your area and adjust your guest list accordingly.
Limit Your Guest List
If you choose to go ahead with your wedding, government guidelines currently state that where faith and belief marriage rituals or ceremonies are being undertaken under the legal provisions for a wedding reception. These ceremonies also must not exceed 15 people in England and should adhere to all social distancing and other safety measures provided in this guidance. This will result in a significant limitation of your guest list. You will need to undertake the difficult task of deciding who will perform the key roles for your ceremony and who else you’d be able to invite.
As the risk of coronavirus transmission increases through household mixing, to reduce risk to your family and close friends the same guests should attend each part of the wedding, rather than having a different group of 15 for each element.
Liaise with Your Venue
If you have already booked a venue, it is likely a large-capacity venue that you will no longer be filling! Liaise with your venue to see if they are still able to offer you a smaller ceremony, perhaps in a smaller room. If not, you will have to work out how to create an intimate wedding setting in a larger space. If your venue is able to host you, but you choose to move to a smaller venue, be prepared to forfeit your deposit and prepayments.
You’ll need to find a venue that can still accommodate essential elements, such as a mandap, a ceremonial fire or the Asian cuisine that traditionally follows your ceremony.
Adjusting Your Catering
A significant limitation of your guest list lends, of course, to an adjustment of your catering. The meal typically served after an Asian wedding ceremony is authentic Asian cuisine. Although there should be some reduction in costs for the smaller numbers, don’t assume that costs can simply be reduced pro-rata. Talk to your caterers about your options; for some couples, the lower numbers gives the opportunity for their caterers to be far more creative and adventurous with their menus.
Altering Your Reception
As with your ceremony, your reception is currently limited to 15 people in England or 20 in Scotland. Your guests should be seated for any other aspects of a reception. Government guidelines state that if a faith or belief marriage ritual or ceremony is taking place as a wedding reception, it should take place within a reasonable timeframe alongside the legal solemnisation of the marriage. Remember that the “new” style of reception is essentially only a sit down meal, which may be most suited to be your post-ceremony dinner.
Consider a Wedding Planner
Wedding planning is stressful enough at the best of times. However, planning an Asian wedding during coronavirus is bound to be even more difficult! So, consider hiring a wedding planner who will be able to help you liaise with suppliers and adjust to your new, limited wedding. They will also know the right questions to ask your suppliers and you can leverage the great relationships they already have. And should you need to adjust your wedding plans, they can be on hand to do this for you.
Make sure you stay up to date on the current rules for weddings across the UK to inform your wedding planning at every step.
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