Saying “”I Do”” In The New Normal.

We all dream about the perfect wedding. But, unfortunately, almost every aspect of our lives have been thrown into question due to COVID-19 outbreak, including your big day.
As someone who is dealing with the same dilemma as we speak, I'd like to suggest the following few things to all of you soon to be brides and grooms.

Delay The Function

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You always have the option of delaying your reception until the things are under control while registering your marriage now with the participation of the closest family members. If you're going with that, it's better to get the exact guest count before the event and present it to the Public Health Inspector of the division along with the date, time and venue of the registration, so they can provide you with the necessary safety measurements that should be implemented.

Plan For A Smaller Guest Count

According to section 4.7 of the Operational Guidelines on Preparedness and response for COVID-19 Outbreak for Work Settings document issued by Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, the visitors/guests of the wedding should maintain a minimum distance of 1m at all times. Under these circumstances, the hotel might not be able to accommodate a long list of guests.

Also, there could be your relatives and friends who live abroad and find it difficult to travel amid this crisis. Even the guests who live at a distance might find it too risky to travel during these unprecedented times. Therefore, take these into count when you prepare your guest list. This is probably not the best time to include everyone from every family you've ever known.

While making your guest list, make sure to note down the contact numbers and whereabouts of each and everyone who are going to be at the venue of your wedding on that particular day, including photographers, DJ/band, deco team and makeup artists etc. It is recommended to bring this list to the Public Health Inspector of the division of your venue and get their advice on preparing the banquet hall to cater your guest list.

He/She will visit and examine the venue and brief you about the maximum number of guests that it can fit in according to the rules and regulations laid out on the aforementioned section 4.7, as well as how the food should be served and the implementation of the other hygiene measures.

Speak With Your Vendors

This is probably their first time putting together a wedding during a pandemic, but your vendors will help you to take quite a bit of weight off your shoulders. If there are specific conditions imposed by the venue due to this outbreak, make sure you keep your vendors posted about them. That way, they'll make necessary arrangements to pull off your big day in the best way they can even the access to certain resources are limited.

Also, do keep in mind that they must be flooded with inquiries from soon to be brides/grooms like you, and therefore, be patient.

Send Online Invitations

The Postal Department of Sri Lanka has resumed its services, but if and whenever possible, send your invitations online. In Buddhist weddings, it's customary to visit the closest relatives with a Bulath Heppuwa (a brass tray full of betel leaves) to invite them to the wedding. However, with the current situation, it's recommended not to travel between houses for any purpose.

Many choose to invite their friends through Facebook and WhatsApp groups which are within your fingertips, and it's easy and quick. But, if you have old school uncles and aunties who might give you the stink eye because they don't consider the online invitation as a proper invite, use the regular mail, and do not forget to give them a call too. That would help them to digest this new normal.

Delay The Honeymoon

No country in the world is safe from COVID-19 until the whole world is healed. And even then, we cannot quite predict that it will be risk free. According to Michael Ryan, the WHO's emergencies director, "this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away." It's unfortunate, but in any case, we have to make up our mind and learn to live with it.

If you were dreaming about a luxurious honeymoon getaway in a foreign land, this is probably not the best time for that. The travel restrictions are already tight, and even when they're lifted in the upcoming months (hopefully), we have to rethink and decide whether it's worth risking for.

Luckily, you live in a lovely tropical island surrounded by palm-dotted golden sandy beaches, ancient ruins, scenic train rides, misty hills carpeted with lush greenery, canopied jungles and many other attractions. Which means, if everything goes well, you already have pretty much everything right here for a romantic honeymoon. 

Design With What's Available

This is the time to bring out your (your friend's/family's) creativity and DIY skills. From handmade invitations to cake boxes to even certain decorations, the internet is filled with many things that you can easily DIY with what you've got in your home or the nearby bookshop. While freeing yourself from all the hassle of going out to get them done, you'll be able to save a buck or two at it. 

Follow The Other Legal Protocols

As per section 4.7 of the Operational Guidelines on Preparedness and response for COVID-19 Outbreak for Work Settings document issued by Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services, the planned events and gatherings should adopt the following safety measures. 

  • Before the event, the reception hall/parlour including all furniture has to be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Provide hand washing facilities at the entrance preferably with a foot or elbow operated tap and make sure that each customer washes hands before entering.
  • It is recommended to check the temperature of all guests entering the reception hall/parlour.
  • Visitors shall maintain a minimum distance of 1m at all times.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation in the hall/parlour. An open venue is preferred.
  • COVID control messages and the expected etiquette of guests, while inside the reception hall/parlour must be displayed, at the entrance.
  • Hugging and handshaking must be discouraged and non-touch greetings must be adopted.
  • All guests/ visitors are encouraged to wear a face mask, in the correct method.
  • Guest must refrain from sharing glasses, plates, spoons etc. In buffet-style servings or self-service, a designated staff member must be appointed to serve food, to avoid guests handling common utensils.
  • Taking group photos are discouraged.
  • At the end of the event, the reception hall/parlour must be cleaned and disinfected.

More details on these guidelines can be found here.

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