A great conversation with California based cross-cultural wedding planner, Michelle. We talk all about how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting multicultural couples who want to get married. And more importantly what they need to look for after the Coronavirus restrictions are over and weddings are allowed.
Michelle: “Wedding cancellations, postponements and reschedulings have always happened, but this is weird because we don’t know what the future holds.
(…) For the most part we have been planning ahead until we are told that we can’t. The excitement continues with my clients. So even though it’s a scary time, we are still really excited. We don’t know what is going to happen in the future, but we are also not going to stop plans. The ban can be lifted soon, and even though gatherings aren’t so much allowed, we can slowly start lifting the bans and life will go on.
The questions I’m getting from my clients are, “should I postpone, should I cancel?” And it’s followed by “ok, if I do postpone, when should I postpone to?”
I’m working with a client and her wedding is supposed to happen on June 6th. But that’s so close and it’s a persian-lebanese wedding with big productions. So we in our hearts know that the idea of having 300-400 people attending the wedding is probably not going to happen. Especially if there are older people, and people traveling.”
Michelle: “Keep your eye on the prize. Getting married is most important. I’m marrying my best friend, this is the dream vision I had for my wedding. Let’s try to get it as close as possible. Continuing the conversations, continuing to plan is the best thing you can do for yourself emotionally.
It’s ok to grieve and I think people should. If you can’t reschedule, or have to cancel, or emotionally just can’t handle planning another wedding for another date, then it’s ok to be sad about the wedding.
There are also a lot of people involved around you. Sisters, brothers, parents that aren’t helping the situation. They may be negative Nancies. Instead of finding creative solutions you may have negative people giving you negative feedback. Just stay focused on yourself and the people that are being positive around you.”
Michelle: “The courthouse is not open, so legally you can’t get married. But there is also the spiritual aspect of it. There is also the ceremonial piece of it. For example signing the ketubah. Culturally and for jewish communities that’s legally binding. If you want to do a Zoom call with someone who is performing jewish ceremonies, you can still do that if you absolutely want to. But legally there is just nothing that can be done.
2021 is already starting to look very very busy, so I 100% recommend that you continue being excited, and continue planning your wedding. Even if it takes a year for the vaccine to be made (which is what the estimated time is) then I think the summer of next year sounds pretty safe to plan a wedding. So I would continue moving forward because vendors are going to be booked up. But if it’s so special for you and very important to get married this year, consider a weekday wedding. If that’s something that is possible for your family I would support it. It’s very unlikely that your vendor is booked during the week.
People are excited to go to a wedding! They want to celebrate with you! Getting an invitation in the mail to a wedding is exciting! Especially if we have been caged up for 6 months, of however long it is, we are going to want to party.”
Michelle: “For one of my couples it’s very important that their grandparents are present. That they experience the wedding. So for them they were ok pushing it to 2021 summer. That’s how important it was to have the family there. For other people it may not be that important, it may be just important to have your closest 5-10 family members. In that case planning an at-home wedding or continuing your wedding considering all the facts, I think it’s good to start off with the smaller number. But we won’t know what those numbers are until we get direct directions from the authorities.
Even then, thinking of the planning perspective we have to think of how the environment is going to change at weddings and how it’s important to continue to keep safe. Because we are still not in the green. For example, having the staff in masks and gloves. Making sure you are doing plated meals to minimize contact. Making sure that people are separated. For ceremonies, for example I can see it now where we are going to have to have gaps. Moving forward when I’m finding venues for my clients, we need to think about the space.
It needs to be a little bigger so we can allow social distancing. Even if that’s not a problem in a year from now, I still want to be prepared for it. Having sanitizing stations, masks available, all kinds of things that will keep people protected, especially right now. These are new things that we are going to have to start thinking about. It may even require a whole new vendor to come in and do sanitizing.”
Michelle: “What makes a wedding really special, aside from the ceremony, is when you are thinking about your guests. And you are thinking about what they need and how can you make them feel hosted. How can they feel comfortable? Because you are hosting an event for them. Especially at your home. As long as you make it unique and special to you, I think focusing the attention there is what’s going to help people feel like “ok, I’m glad I did this!”
My couples are very excited that they are infusing these cultures together. And they want one side to know the other side. Honestly for me that’s very important because it shows respect and reverence for each other. If you don’t know someone, how are you going to love them or welcome them into your home?
Michelle: “We are going to be so excited to see our family and friends! I can’t see them not being excited! Even though you may legally get married on the original date, there is nothing wrong with now doing it again and professing your vows. Part of the wedding is telling all your friends and family that this is the person I vowed my life to. If it’s possible, and you have the emotional capacity for it, I would say redo the ceremony again on the new date and have the reception and all the things that go with it.”
This made me think that a lot of intercultural couples who need to get married fast, (for paper or visa reasons), would often have a second wedding. They want to get married in another country and plan another wedding for their family members. So I think in our little multicultural circle this may be a more common thing to do. To plan multiple weddings and have two celebrations.
Michelle: “Stay positive! I know that it seems so crazy right now, but be excited, be happy and know that the world is going to continue. We just don’t know exactly when.”
Written on: April 15th, 2020
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