Wedding bells ringing again

Standard ensemble: Most guests don face masks during wedding ceremonies these days. - Picture courtesy of Momento Wedding

GEORGE TOWN: With the Covid-19 situation improving in the country, wedding bells are pealing again.

Hotels have been receiving an increasing number of queries and reservations for wedding banquets at the end of the year, while wedding planners are busy curating the big day for couples.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chapter chairman Tony Goh said several hotels have received bookings for receptions almost every weekend from October to December.

“At my hotel, we have received bookings for 16 weddings so far. The earliest booking was made a year ago and we are now receiving bookings for next year,” he said.

Goh noted, however, that the capacity at wedding venues has been reduced for safety reasons.

“For example, a venue that used to accommodate between 500 and 700 people before Covid-19 will now seat only between 300 and 400.

“To ensure the safety of guests, we always remind them to put on face masks, maintain physical distance and sanitise their hands from time to time,” he said.

However, Goh said reservations for company annual dinners remain slow for the time being.

Shangri-La’s Rasa Sayang Resort and Spa communications director Suleiman Tunku Abdul Rahman said they have had 71 bookings for weddings at both Rasa Sayang and its sister resort Golden Sands up to this month.

“There is about five months to the year-end and we are still expecting more bookings for weddings this year.

“Many prefer outdoor weddings or open-air venues for better air circulation to reduce Covid-19 exposure for guests.

“People are more cautious, especially when they have many middle-aged and older adults attending,” he said.

Suleiman added that the wedding industry was badly affected in the first two years of the pandemic.

“Most of the weddings were postponed to a later date, with some delayed to this year and even next year.

“In the last two years, we had fewer than 15 confirmed weddings on a small scale, all outdoors,” he said.

With the new standard operating procedure, Suleiman said there will be no limit to the number of guests attending as long as physical distancing is observed.

Penang Wedding Professionals Association secretary Evon Lye said since international borders were reopened, it has been receiving confirmations for pre-wedding shootings and weddings.

“We have a lot of confirmations starting from September. Finally, year-end weddings are back in full swing.

“We received confirmations not only for weekend dos but quite a number of weekday weddings too.

“Some couples had actually booked our service way back in 2019 and are finally getting their ceremonies done,” Lye said.

She added that they are already getting inquiries for 2023 and 2024, with many couples preferring small-scale or intimate celebrations.

Lye, who is grateful that business is picking up, said that in 2020, it had received not more than 10 wedding bookings.

“Thankfully, the figures have increased by at least 50% now,” she said.

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