Albertans who have weddings planned over the next few months are being warned to start thinking of new arrangements as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to limit large gatherings.
In her daily update on the COVID-19 situation Tuesday afternoon, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health said it’s too soon to say when things might return to normal, and large social gatherings are one thing that will take a while to return.
“We have seen from cases here in Alberta that large social gatherings carry significant risk for transmitting the virus,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw said.
“For those who have made plans for weddings or other large gatherings in the next few months, I would strongly encourage you to consider postponing or at least planning for smaller gatherings, should the orders for mass gatherings remain in effect.
“I realize this is not welcome news and I share in your frustration at the situation. Believe me when I say I wish it were within my power to give everyone back the life they had three months ago.”
Richelle Merta and Dillon Gustavson got engaged in 2018. Merta said she started planning their wedding about five minutes after Gustavson proposed. But plans for their big day have come to a halt because of the novel coronavirus.
“This past weekend was the hardest weekend ever because we were supposed to be getting married on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and instead we just sat here and shoveled the driveway,” Merta said.
The couple said each day that goes by is another reminder of their postponed nuptials.
“The groomsmen suits are getting sent back, the flower girl dresses are getting sent back,” Merta said.
“It was more just the mental anguish of actually having to go through it all again and start from scratch almost,” Gustavson added.
The pandemic has also been a challenge to those who work in the wedding industry.
“It’s been a crazy month, that’s for sure,” said Madeleine Miller. “This is so unprecedented.”
Miller is the founder of Moments by Madeleine Weddings and Events. While she’s fortunate to run her business from home, she said about 50 per cent of her income has been pushed.
“So, 50 per cent of what was expected to come in this year has either moved to later this year or next year,” she said.
She said she, like others in the industry, is taking it day by day.
“It’s been hard. We have postponed pretty much every single wedding to the end of July right now and are starting to work on the Plans Bs and Cs for the rest of the year… We really have no idea how long this is going to go on for,” she said.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get back to that soon but it’s been a hard adjustment. It’s a lot of really, really sad brides.”
Miller’s advice for couples is to try to postpone where they can, rather than cancel, particularly when it comes to the venue.
“That will continue to be the trend where there isn’t as much of a loss and it’s more of a deferral,” she said.
That’s exactly what Merta and Gustavson have done, pushing their wedding to Oct. 3 — the first date that worked for their venue and other vendors.
“If they weren’t available we would have lost a lot of money,” Merta said.
“I think the deposits were $15,000 in total… So we would have been out $15,000.”
As of Tuesday afternoon, Alberta had identified 1,870 confirmed cases of COVID-19. So far, 48 Albertans have died as a result of COVID-19. Hinshaw also said 914 people have recovered.View link »