Pre-pandemic, planning a wedding, whether a lavish affair or intimate nuptials, meant venue scouting, shopping sprees, and of course, a host of meetings with vendors. No matter the size or scale of the ‘I dos’, it invariably involved all hands on deck. But as we find ourselves amid the new reality of self-isolation, extended lockdowns and the tragic spread of the coronavirus outbreak, weddings, as we know them, will be drastically different for the time being. So, what is the lowdown on organising a wedding in the social distancing era? Will it mean downsizing the guest size as well as appearances? What precautions will be nonnegotiable?
To get the answers, we turned to two celebrity wedding planners: Vandana Mohan of New Delhi-based The Wedding Design Company, the name behind Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh’s special occasion, and Tina Tharwani of Mumbai-based Shaadi Squad, who planned Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli’s Tuscany wedding. Below, the experts share their top tips, and also silver linings.Make way for intimate guest lists
Some states in India might have started easing up some COVID-19-related restrictions, but weddings in the upcoming months will likely have smaller guest lists to mitigate the spread of the contagious disease. Narrowing down the number of guests may seem like a daunting task, but Tharwani predicts that friends and extended family will understand. “As a boutique wedding planning company, our key focus has always been small-sized weddings under 300 pax,” she reveals. And the upside to this, she goes on to explain, “will be more intimate, personalised celebrations. Couples will not just have quality time with people they are closest to but will also have more opportunities to pay attention to detail and customise every aspect of the wedding. Detailing in terms of decor and the food menu, as well as personalisation of cutlery, personal notes for guests, etc, will be easier than ever and will become a new trend post pandemic.”Virtual meetings will be the new normal
As our living rooms have turned into makeshift boardrooms, another obvious change for events will include virtual appointments. “Meetings with vendors will now be done digitally,” says Mohan, who has been relying on Zoom and FaceTime to connect with couples and families. Planning conducted at home she asserts is not any less meticulous. “We might be in unusual circumstances, but as a design and planning company, nothing has changed for us. We are still offering the same services, as we would in normal situations. From major planning requirements to minuscule things, we will take care of everything. Of course, there will be on-site meetings eventually, but those will need to be planned very carefully.” It’s really about working in tandem with your specialists, and coming up with a communication plan that works for you and the vendor.Select venue and menu virtually
Choosing your venue, which is an imperative piece to this puzzle, will now include virtual walk-throughs. Online photo galleries, live video chats with the site coordinators and pre-recorded video are apt alternatives for finalising a space to host your wedding. You can save the snapshots as references and ask relevant questions. Once lockdown lifts, you can visit the venue firsthand. As for the menu, while you can finalise the fare online, tasting will need to happen in-person. A smart way around this is to request your catering company for a drop-off/pick-up service. Consider a plated, sit-down dinner versus buffets at the wedding to avoid congregations.Socially distant weddings can help minimise the carbon footprint
An intimate wedding can become the perfect playground for bringing your dream wedding to life, while reducing the negative backlash on the environment. Tharwani advises leveraging the naturally available structures at the venue as part of the decor. “If the space has a gorgeous tree, use it as a mandap backdrop. Use potted saplings, herbs or succulent as centrepieces (they work as great wedding favours too!)”. This thumb rule should be extended to flowers and food too. “Depending on the time of year, request your florist to source locally-grown flowers, suggest some seasonal alternatives or provide living plants. Food is the centre of any celebration, and going green with it doesn't mean sacrificing on taste. Try to commission a catering company with a sustainable ethos, who sources organic, local, fair trade and ethically-produced ingredients wherever possible. The farm-to-table movement is in full swing but when you're budgeting, keep in mind that organic produce may cost more, so ask your caterer to source from in-season, locally-grown products to help keep the cost down and guarantee the freshest finds.”Safety and sanitisation cannot be compromised
“The planning process must take into account every sanitisation, hygiene and precautionary measure to make sure it is a fun wedding, but most importantly, a safe wedding,” Mohan cautions. Implementing equipment like thermometer scanners, face masks, sanitising and hand-washing stations, gloves for staff, and possibly, waivers for guests to sign, will be extremely crucial, she believes. It will also pay to plan seating arrangements and table settings that are six feet apart from each other, with no more than 10 guests seated together. “There’s no measure that is negotiable by us as a planning company, and as per Government policies. We must follow each norm, and not skip any step to ensure a safe and secure celebration.”Also read:
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