Couples urged to keep planning and go virtual

  • Focus Premium
  • Sunday, 17 May 2020

ALTHOUGH they have to postpone their big day, couples should remain positive and keep planning their weddings while waiting for the okay from the authorities.

They should also keep an open mind and adopt changes in the new normal including having fewer guests.

“Continue to plan your wedding, but it may be safer to have it on a smaller scale.

“Accept the new norms in weddings such as by going virtual,” says Wedding Professionals Association of Malaysia president Patrick Low.

He says going virtual could mean broadcasting their wedding ceremony live on social media with webcams to enable more people to witness the happy occasion.

“Should the standard operating procedures limit the number of wedding guests in future, this is an option that couples can consider,” Low says.

Muhammad Don Haadi Don Putra and Nahdatul Aishah Mohd Sharif became the first couple to go through a “virtual” akad nikah (marriage solemnisation) ceremony during the movement control order (MCO) on April 18.

They were married via online video conferencing.

To enable couples to shop online, Low says he is setting up an online marketplace for all things related to weddings, similar to platforms like Lazada or Shopee.

“A handful of bridal houses are also going online to promote cheaper gowns and packages.

“The response has been okay, at least it is better than no sales during these times,” he adds.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) has come up with guidelines for the hotel industry on the new norm with Covid-19.

“We have developed a guideline for hotels overall, where screening and distancing criteria are set. For events, it also includes weddings,” says MAH chief executive officer Yap Lip Seng.

In the guidelines, should the authorities allow events to take place, hotels are advised to request organisers to check the body temperature of guests.

“Hotels should also maintain a log of guests attending any events or meetings at the premise complete with contact for tracing purposes.

“Any guest with body temperature above 38°C or respiratory symptoms will be requested to seek medical attention immediately,” read the guidelines on events and meetings.

On couples asking for wedding deposits to be returned by hotels, Yap says most hotels are open to renegotiate bookings for events including weddings.

“But clients need to understand that there are cases where pre-purchases had been committed by the hotel for the purpose of the event.

“We would advise those affected to engage in an open talk with the venues,” he says.

While there are guidelines to minimise risk of Covid-19 infections, Yap says the hotel industry faces challenges in battling perceptions by event organisers and attendees.

“The landscape of events will change in more than one way, not limited to size and screening needs.

“It may also include the adoption of technology and physical venue requirements that could involve substantial investment from operators.

“The cost of holding events will eventually increase too,” Yap foresees.

He urges the government to assist the industry to survive the current situation, where hotels are burdened with costs at times when there is “literally no revenue”.

“The industry has been in losses since March and this is expected to last at least until December, and many will be forced to cease operations,” he adds.

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