This pandemic has opened a box of paradoxes. Where on one hand there is the fear of the virus, on the other, there is hope of fighting off this challenge. There is caution and distancing. But there is also virtual communication and awareness. There are restrictions, regulations and yet, amidst all the panic and anxiety people have started accepting the new normal. A normal where they are not pushing back on celebrations and finding ways to nonetheless, spread joy. Weddings, birthdays and anniversaries are reasons that continue to bring revelry like old times. And keeping in mind social distancing and hygiene norms the planners and event managers are slowly getting back to business.
So do you have your special day coming up but are not too sure how to go about it? Are you hesitant to let a makeup artist dress you up? Are you getting sleepless nights over trying to limit your guest list as per government rules? There is a looming underlining anxiousness when it comes to figuring out the logistics and feasibility of a celebration today. And so to clear up some of the confusion, we spoke to some of the best insiders from the industry itself.
Planning a wedding during COVID times
The big questions
Should one postpone a wedding or go ahead with it during the pandemic?
Shweta, Co-Founder of The Tailored Tale says, ‘This is more of a personal choice or a family decision. We have a lot of clients who are under this confusion. The best way to go about it is to weigh the pros and cons. However, if planned properly it is definitely practical to have a small wedding during COVID.”
Tasneem Deesawala, founder of Themes & Dreams agrees ,‘I would suggest going ahead with the celebration. We have ways to celebrate by sending gift hampers to those who cannot attend or cannot be invited. ‘
But what are some of the practical aspects of planning a wedding that has changed during COVID? And how easy or difficult is to incorporate hand sanitizers, hygiene etc. in the celebrations?
J Pradeep Chandar, Creative Director at Marriage Colours has planned quite a few lockdown weddings too. He points out, ‘The only change in planning a wedding is to now follow the government regulations. If the government has announced a limit of 50 persons, then it is all about being sensible and following the regulation. At the same time, we need to provide facilities of social distancing, sanitization to the guests. It is in fact, very easy because sanitizers, etc. are available in abundance. The difficult part is to ensure that the guests are using it. You need to ensure that it is placed at the entrance, not somewhere inside the corner, so that when people enter, they spot it. A person can be exclusively stationed to ensure the same.’
Shweta from The Tailored Tale adds that it helps to have a professional planner on board. The planner and vendors can have discussions through virtual meetings. On the D day sanitizer stations or cute boards emphasizing the importance of social distancing, no hugs, etc. can be placed at the venue. Tasneem at Themes & Dreams too suggests putting up quirky notes at the entrance to ensure people sanitize their hands. Also, she points out that people are aware of the precautions and in fact, masks have become a style statement today.
The Looks – Makeup artists
You have to look swell on your important day. But the makeup industry is probably the worst hit during this pandemic. Even if one decides to go ahead with their celebrations, people are skeptical of calling makeup artists. ‘The risks are higher since one has to touch the client’s face!’ points out Sarrah Broach who runs Sroachbeauty. Vinnu Maddy of Vinnu Artistry agrees saying, ‘the beauty industry is the most sensitive industry and usually the chances are higher of passing infections if the hygienic precautions are not followed. It’s a hard and challenging time for our profession, but we need to accept this and stay calm and safe’. He also jokes about how due to the present situation, ‘we see a pandemic glow instead of a wedding glow on the faces of the bride and the family.’
Thus how are people reacting to makeup artists and what are the experts themselves doing to ensure safety?
According to Sarrah, a few clients are demanding a lower price because not many people are invited to the ceremony in the first place. But whether there are 20 guests or 200, the makeup artists use the same high-quality products with maximum precautions. And so she hopes that clients understand that if the makeup artists have increased their rates, it is for their own safety. Similarly, Vinnu believes in doing a video call with his clients, if they are hesitant, to make them comfortable and to explain to them all the precautions taken to keep them safe.
Online makeup tutorials
However, the online space is a safer haven for makeup artists. Can online tutorials help clients who do not want to call over a makeup artist?
Sarrah believes so. ‘Online makeup tutorials have helped thousands of people to do their own makeup. There is diversity in content creators. People can choose to follow the artist they can relate to the most and learn their techniques. Makeup artists also provide 1:1 session to teach the clients on a personal level by understanding their needs. Sarrah in fact, conducts online sessions on her social handles too.
However, Vinnu doesn’t prefer online makeup classes. He believes, ‘it is always better to learn/teach makeup in person because it’s difficult to judge the skin type and tone under the camera lens.’ Striking a balance, Shweta opines, ‘online tutorials are fun, but if you do not have prior experience, please do not risk it for your big day.’
Dining and Cakes
Now no celebration is quite complete without food and of course, a cake!
But how should you arrange dining and seating?
Pradeep from Marriage Colours suggests going ahead with a serverless buffet or a sit-down dining option. Also, he points out that ‘packed foods and self-service’ are good alternatives. Shweta also adds to ‘pick a venue where there is a separate dining section’.
The cakes and bakes
But what of cakes? Interestingly, the bakeries, especially home-based bakeries, have not seen a drastic slump in their business. This is essentially because as Arwa Raja who runs Cake Crumbs points out, ‘people could not go out to eat so they probably preferred having the best at home during the lockdown’. Sanviti Tummala, the pastry chef at Consilioo Pasteleria agrees too pointing out that ‘ people started ordering from home bakers because of better and safe hygiene standards. Also, people probably were bored eating the routine home-cooked meals and started ordering cakes and desserts even without any special occasion to celebrate. ‘
Yet, what were some of the changes that these bakers had to adjust to?
According to Sanviti, ‘COVID made us ensure to maximize our safety and hygiene rules. We started sanitizing everything before and after use. We also became very particular about our delivery boys wearing gloves and masks.’ Overall the cake industry may not have been as badly hit as the others. In fact, as Arwa points out there is a trend of more home bakers and chefs appearing in the market and the competition has peaked. However, on the other hand, she agrees that ‘no one is placing random orders because it is understood that cash flow is limited and hence the market is saturated further.’
Finally, we all do weave dreams of making our special occasion, especially a wedding or first birthday grand and memorable. However, the conditions and situation of the present times should not stop you from feeling elated or making memories! Let’s do the best that we can. And who knows, you can always reinvent your band bajaa baraat wedding once again for fun sake, when times get back to normal.
Before we wrap up a quick look at the takeaways from our experts!
A quick list of tips from our experts for a pandemic celebration:
- Pick a venue that is big enough to accommodate your guests. Social distancing is very important
- Try to pick a venue that is outdoor, so that social distancing is easier
- Try and segregate your functions if you have a long list of guests you cannot avoid inviting. For example, you can invite friends for the mehendi or haldi ceremony and only family for the marriage ceremony.
- Work out a timeline with your planner in a way that the venue is ready at least 4 hours prior to the function. This way you will not come in contact with any of the vendors.
- For birthday or anniversaries planners, such as Themes and Dreams provide a happy box that includes few decor items, balloons, etc. that can be assembled by the client.
- Make sure the makeup kit is sanitized and the makeup artist is using disposable supplies.
- Try to have less than five people on round tables for dining to ensure social distancing.
- Of course, ensure guests wear masks, sanitize hands regularly and avoid hugs and handshakes.