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COVID-19: Night curfew casts shadow on wedding season in Delhi

So now couples are mulling a "day marriage", wedding planners are making a beeline for venues in the neighbouring Noida and Gurgaon, and many hotels-banquets, reading the fine print of the order, are busy answering queries from frantic customers.

By Newsd
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Till Monday many soon-to-be-wed couples were excitedly giving final touches to the day they would take their marriage vows but hit by the latest COVID-19 woe, the re-imposition of night curfew in the capital, they found themselves discussing arrangements from scratch yet again — wedding date, venue and the most important, ”timing”.

The Delhi government’s decision on Tuesday to impose night curfew from 10 pm to 5 am till April 30 to stem the spread of the virus has thrown the couples and the already bleeding wedding industry into a tizzy.

So now couples are mulling a “day marriage”, wedding planners are making a beeline for venues in the neighbouring Noida and Gurgaon, and many hotels-banquets, reading the fine print of the order, are busy answering queries from frantic customers.

Paras Chugh and Abhishek, who were set to tie the knot on April 28, are now contemplating a “day wedding” instead of a night gala.

“It is a total mess. There is a new restriction every week. We are discussing with our wedding planner what to do next. We are contemplating having a day wedding now,” said Chugh, clearly not happy with the new restrictions throwing a spanner in the works of his dream wedding.

The night curfew was imposed after the national capital witnessed a spike in the COVID-19 cases.

The national capital recorded 5,100 fresh cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest since November 27 last year when the city reported 5,482 cases in a day.

Seventeen more fatalities due to the infection took the death toll to 11,113, according to the Delhi health department.

The night curfew decision comes as another blow for the wedding season which has already a cap of 100 and 200 people for any close and open space events respectively in the capital, as per the order issued by the administration in the last week of March.

While the “bride, groom, and close family members” are exempted from the night curfew restrictions, no such provisions are available for guests attending the wedding.

“The bride, groom and their close family members will require e-passes that will be issued by district magistrates concerned. But, no guests will be allowed during stipulated curfew hours from 10 pm to 5 am,” a senior Delhi government officer told PTI.

Couples are worried that the condition of getting e-passes for attending weddings will prove to be a deterrent for wedding guests.

“I understand the cap on the number of people attending the wedding, but getting an e-pass due to the night curfew has raised concerns. Apparently those attending weddings have to get an e-pass. A lot of people who were planning to attend the wedding will back out to avoid this hassle. This also adds to our monetary loss.

“And this news comes so close to the wedding date that making changes to the arrangements is not possible. All payments have been made in advance,” said Bhavna Kaul, who is set to get married on April 25.

Worried wedding planners have wasted no time in figuring out plan B for their clients like booking venues in Haryana’s Gurgaon and Uttar Pradesh’s Noida cities.

“We have spent the whole day calling different venues in Gurgaon and Noida to see their availability. However, the clients are worried that these two regions may also impose restrictions soon, because of the exponential rise (in COVID cases),” said Shakti Singh, head (weddings), Madam Planners.

“A plan of having a day wedding is being explored now depending upon availability of trustworthy venues compliant with safety measures and hygiene. It is also financially bad for clients as despite less people attending the wedding the venue managers still charge as per the number of guests quoted initially,” she added.

For those in the business of luxury wedding venues, like Hilton Garden Inn, and Amaara Farms, while it is too early to gauge the impact of the curfew on business, maintaining the highest standards of hygiene remains the top priority.

“We are elated to see prompt measures taken by the government, however, it”s too early to comment on the impact right now. We are following all safety norms set by the government and as part of the Hilton Cleanstay program, we are taking utmost precautions and cleanliness measures to ensure guest safety and enhanced wedding experience,” said Abhinav Mehra, assistant director of sales at Hilton Garden Inn, Saket.

Shivan Gupta of the Amaara Farms said the establishment started receiving queries for brunch or day weddings after the announcement of the curfew.

“The year 2020 marked a series of significant changes for the Indian wedding industry. In light of the severe spike in COVID-19 cases in Delhi recently, the government has imposed night curfew which will yet again impact weddings.

“We have been receiving queries from couples for a brunch or day wedding, which can be a truly memorable, regal and extraordinary affair. Guests will be treated to a whole day of personalised, curated and bespoke events with intimate weddings by Amaara. Our shimmering glass house is just as special for a wedding at high noon as in the reflection of the moonlit sky,” said Gupta, creative director at Amaara Farms. PTI


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