The Wedding Is Postponed. Again.


The venues had been booked, the flowers selected, outfits tailored, menus tasted and playlists curated. But as the coronavirus ravaged the world last year and travel shut down, many couples who had planned destination weddings were forced to postpone their nuptials.

Now, almost a year later, with new variants emerging and with travel restrictions still in place, they find themselves faced with a prospect they hadn’t imagined: postponing again.

Marissa Barmine, a medical student, had initially planned to host around 160 guests at the Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, Ga., in April.

Now, in wedding terms, the date is almost upon them, and the hotel says it can hold a socially distanced wedding for 120 people that month. “But Covid is out of control over here in the U.S. and it just feels irresponsible to bring together so many people in this environment,” Ms. Barmine said. “We just don’t feel comfortable.”

When the couple told the hotel they’d like to postpone, they were told that would be considered a cancellation, and they’d be out the $10,100 they’d already put down and have to pay the cost of a new event as well.

“The risks involved did not matter to them, what mattered was what they could do legally and get away with and they insisted that it was still possible to go ahead with the event,” Ms. Barmine said. “We had booked out the date in advance and their argument was that it was too late to give it to another client, meaning that they would lose money.” (The hotel did not respond to a request for comment.)

Instead, the couple is planning a wedding with just 17 guests, including immediate family and grandparents.

The Perry Lane Hotel did give the couple a complimentary suite and is allowing them to apply the food and beverage cost for the smaller event toward their cancellation fee. Still, their 17-person reception is going to cost a minimum of $10,000.

“I am not very optimistic that it will happen this year either,” Mr. Chatterjee said. “There are so many factors involved. Even if we can return to ingapore, will our families in India be able to get visas? Will Europe reopen to U.S. citizens? There is still so much uncertainty.”

The couple is adamant about getting married in Italy, even if it means postponing yet again.

“The place is very special to us, so we don’t really have a choice. This is where we want to do it and we’ll stick it out, whether it’s this year, next year or the year after that,” Mr. Chatterjee said. “I just hope they don’t keep putting up the price,” he added with a nervous laugh.

“There’s a big back log at venues and hotels during the summer months,” said Muge Atici, a Turkish graphic designer who got engaged last year and has been looking at options for a destination wedding in Turkey and Spain.

“I thought this experience would be fun, but everywhere I’ve liked is either booked or available on a day that I don’t want,” she said. “It’s really ugly how much pressure venues put on you to pay the deposit and seal the deal without giving any reassurances about Covid,” she said.

After witnessing all the hurdles her friends have been going through as they plan for their weddings this year, Ms. Atici and her fiancé are considering having a small last-minute ceremony in their hometown of Istanbul this year and perhaps a bigger party next year once more people have been vaccinated.

Many couples feel exhausted by the process of pushing back and planning for what was supposed to be an exciting and meaningful milestone. Some have already decided to cancel their event all together if it cannot go ahead this year, regardless of financial losses.

“My friends are breaking down over their weddings and constantly fighting with their families and boyfriends because of the stress and pressure,” Ms. Atici said. “Honestly, I want to avoid that situation as badly as I want to avoid Covid.”

Georgina Rawlings, a Dubai-based communications and marketing director, postponed her wedding in Zanzibar to July this year and says that as long as there are still flights to the island just off the coast of East Africa, she will travel there with her partner and have a honeymoon even if she can’t have the wedding.


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