Couples now forced to disinvite wedding guests

Software engineer Bharat Ram, who is getting married on April 25, had an unenviable task on Saturday: disinviting friends he had already sent invitations to.

“I had invited people keeping in mind the limit of 200 guests, which the government suddenly slashed by half on Friday. While it was very embarrassing to call my friends and withdraw the invitations, the situation in the city is so grim that nobody took it badly,” he said.

The government’s restrictions on weddings and other gatherings has resulted in people scrambling to make last-minute changes to functions they had planned months in advance when COVID-19 appeared to be on the wane.

Instead of wedding invitations, many families are sending out ‘blessing cards’, informing friends and relatives of upcoming nuptials and seeking blessings for the couple. Others are webcasting their ceremonies as was the trend last year during the first wave of COVID-19.

Jayashree, who is getting married on April 26, is sending webcast links to all her well-wishers so that they can participate online. “Everyone is concerned about their elderly parents and grandparents who live with them. So many had already decided against attending,” she said.

Cancellations on the rise

While couples and event planners acknowledge the need for restrictions, many felt that the government’s new rule making entry passes mandatory for weddings was too severe. Others pointed out that it would be practically impossible for the authorities to monitor each and every function and ensure that everyone has passes. A senior civic official said that making passes a prerequisite has a psychological impact on people effectively communicating to them the severity of the pandemic. It seems to have had an impact already.

Shivaraju, a caterer, said two weddings he had been booked for in May, were indefinitely postponed on Saturday alone. “Only those ceremonies planned for the next two to three weeks are being held. The ones that were scheduled for later dates are mostly being deferred,” he said.

He added that with the rise in COVID-19 cases over the last three weeks, guest attendance at weddings has already dropped significantly. “At least in three weddings, estimated guests did not turn up and the food went to waste,” he said. Ms. Jayashree said most vendors are open to rescheduling the wedding at no additional cost, and the clause has been part of contracts for several months now.

Mr. Shivaraju concurred adding that most families are retaining the original vendors. “Given how bad the business is, we are happy that they are retaining us and we are ready to accommodate them to the best extent possible,” he said.

However, blocking dates for marriage halls is proving to be a thorny issue. “Many people want to reschedule weddings and block dates in June-July, or after Ashada Masa in August. But the dates they are asking for may not be available due to prior bookings. In such cases, they are seeking refund, which will be difficult,” said a manager of a marriage hall in Rajajinagar, who wished to stay anonymous.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 8:50:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/couples-now-forced-to-uninvite-wedding-guests/article34345889.ece

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