When Covid-19 arrived at our shores, it threw any plans we had out the window. Exams were cancelled and postponed, air travel now is no longer a joy but a cause for anxiety and of course, thousands of weddings had to be cancelled or postponed multiple times. Chances are, Covid-19 has forced a change in the wedding industry in an unprecedented way. Weddings might never be the same again (at least in the near future). For those who had always dreamed of that intimate and meaningful wedding, this is the best time to get married. Without having to offend anyone for the lack of invitation.
If you had a wedding playbook to deal with any situation possible, chances are it is no longer relevant in today’s situation. So here’s the updated wedding checklist and SOP (Covid-19 edition) to help you plan the wedding of your dreams on a smaller and safer scale in times of uncertainty.
If you didn’t opt for a virtual wedding, this is important. For Muslims’ akad nikah and non-Muslims’ marriage registration, a maximum of only 30 people are allowed to be in attendance depending on the space of the area at the religious authority’s office, National Registration Department or house of worship of the respective couples.
When choosing your wedding venue, make sure that the space has good ventilation before making a decision. It is also just as important to have the space sanitised and disinfected before and after your wedding.
Make sure that at any time during the event, the venue is not overcrowded. And remember to assign a clear entry and exit points for your guests.
2. Seating arrangement
Your tables should be at least 2 meters away from one another and chairs should be placed at least 1 meter apart to help maintain social distancing throughout the event. The subtle lack of chairs is also a great way to manage your friends and relatives without having to be in their face with social distancing reminders.
You can also opt to provide each table with a sanitiser for your guests’ use.
3. Health screening station
A new feature for any venue and social event is the health screening station. At the entrance, it is the organiser’s responsibility to set up a health screening station for contact tracing and temperature check. All attendees must register through the MySejahtera app before entering the venue. This is particularly important to ensure the safety of everyone in attendance and to ease contact tracing should any of your attendees unknowingly contracted COVID-19. Come up with a rotation schedule to ensure that this station is always attended by someone.
People to deny entry:
- Showing symptoms (coughing, sore throat, flu, breathing difficulties)
- Temperature of 37.5 celcius or more
- Not wearing a mask
- Or all of the above
p/s: Do prepare a manual registration book for contact tracing in case any of your guests have difficulty with the app.
4. Duration of event
In times of pandemic, the whole duration of the wedding should only last for a maximum of five hours as stated by the National Security Council’s guidelines. For your akad nikah or marriage registration, the process should be about 20 minutes as per the guidelines.
5. Stagger your crowd
Doesn’t matter what race you are but Malaysians weddings are almost always a family affair. The absence of an invitation even with your best intention may cause some friction. Therefore, it may not always be possible to limit the number of people you invite. So what do you do? Stagger the crowd to your wedding. A simple way would be to split your sessions into family and friends. This way, more people get to attend your wedding and no one’s feelings is hurt.
6. Contactless greetings
Due to Covid-19, it probably has been months since you last met up with your family and friends. It may be tempting to go and hug them tight. Unfortunately, this simple social act has been taken away from us. It poses a risk to our health and safety (and theirs!).
Maintain social distancing at all times if you do not live in the same household. To ease the pain, here are a few alternative contactless greetings for you and your guests to greet each other.
7.Serve the food
Imagine the feast, the customised wedding cake. Food is a huge part of the Malaysian culture. But still, precautions need to be in place here too. Weddings give us a reason to feast on our local delicacies without having to worry about our healthy diet. Preferably, do a sit-down lunch or dinner for your wedding. It’s a bit more costly and tedious, but it is the preventative measure for your wedding. But if you do decide to have a buffet line, have servers on standby to serve food to your guests to minimise the risk of infection.
9. Taking photos with precaution
This might be the most challenging yet. Social distancing is still required with external family members and friends. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, you might want to revise your photography package to a pre or post wedding ceremony only to limit the number of people. Alternatively, you can get creative and assign a unique photography area for you and your guests to take photos.
Don’t forget to come up with a system with your photographers and videographers should your plans need to change unexpectedly.
10. Expect the unexpected
Due to the uncertainty of the near future, try to plan as well as you could but always be prepared for things to go wrong. When choosing a venue, photographers, makeup artists, caterers, or even your invitation card design, be sure to discuss clauses and measures to take should an unexpected change of plans have to take place. You do not want to be caught having to pay for penalty or burning your money unnecessarily.
If you’re looking for capable teams to be part of your wedding day, here are some of our recommended vendors who provide wedding services to help make your wedding day a memorable one. From event planning, to flower bouquets or even wedding dress, we have it all:
- Event planning: Event Planner by MS
- Flowers: H Flower Wong Marilyn, Bloom Buffet Florist
- Car rental service: Trevo, Parq Valet
- Photographer: Sunlee Khan
- Wedding attire: Baju Melayu Slim, Nick Barney Designer Bridal
- Bridal makeup: Jess Bridal House
While it is definitely more cost-effective to get married during the pandemic, it does take away the element of the big family gathering that makes weddings meriah. The happening aunty dancing to poco-poco, the smile beaming off your grandparents and parents. It is missed. But until the vaccine is distributed to the public, we all have to make our part to stay safe. Better safe than sorry!