I know I’m not the only person to wonder ‘why’ every time I see posts or photos of happy couples celebrating their vows and acknowledging their love….in front of a crowd during a pandemic. The advent of the COVID-19 wedding confused me when the pandemic first started. A year on, I’m still just as lost. 

I can’t fathom the idea of having such a public function during a time when having close gatherings can be fatal. It seems foolish to have a wedding, a time of love and celebration, when it’s possible that some of the ones who attended could suffer a few days down the line. What surprises me is how impatient people seem to be. Yes, the pandemic is devastating, but it’s not going to last forever. Countries are vaccinating people as we speak. There is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it’s one that will come sooner or later. Why not just hold off on the ceremony for a few more months till things are more stable?

I’ve never really thought about the effort that goes behind a wedding. I am aware that it takes months, maybe even years, of planning, so postponing a wedding can be difficult. COVID-19 has definitely changed the way weddings take place. People prefer smaller, intimate functions rather than week-long fests filled with over a thousand guests. I know some couples preferred a COVID-19 wedding because it brought down the number of guests to close friends and family only. It also made things easier to plan and map out and made the wedding much shorter. 

Many couples also downsized their wedding in terms of costs. Lavish functions and massive halls aren’t safe anymore. Never mind extravagant buffets. Some couples are using this as a way to have an intimate wedding that they desired. It’s a way to circumvent the extended family and focus on the ones who matter to you. But honestly? It’s still a major risk to take.

Having a COVID-19 wedding isn’t easy. It’s a confusing mess of legalities as states and countries constantly change their regulations. Some countries have very restricted limits in terms of guests, whereas others are seemingly back to normal. Even with the vaccine slowly rolling out, it could take months more for herd immunity to develop.

 I’ve seen my parents attend COVID-19 weddings. From personal experience, it’s been categorized into three main types: 

• The all-out rave: this type of wedding spits in the face of COVID-19 restrictions, has at least 50 people more than the limit, and there isn’t a single mask in view.

• The slightly respectful one: This one is a little safer, choosing to stretch the event to maintain social distancing. This way, smaller groups of people show up on different days, providing the chance of in-person meets and social distancing at the same time.

• The Zoom Wedding: This one follows all COVID-19 protocol to a tee, almost gleefully. Almost everyone is invited via Zoom from the comfort of their homes, and it’s honestly quite nice. 

I know that some weddings take forever to plan, so rescheduling is difficult. But is it impossible? I also know that some couples prefer having smaller weddings, and a pandemic provides a great reason. I have a lot of questions that different couples will have different answers for – familial pressure, lack of time, unchangeable dates, or other reasons. 

To those who pushed their weddings because of this, I’m glad you did. To those who couldn’t push them at all, please don’t feel disheartened by my questions. The goal is for everyone to stay protected, and it is possible to celebrate love and stay safe at the same time. I hope your wedding was (will be) beautiful and safe at the same time.

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  • Natalia Nazeem Ahmed is a budding writer and editor with a BA from Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts in Pune, India, with a major in English Literature and a double minor in Philosophy and Film Studies. An avid reader, her goal is to build a career out of her fiction and non-fiction writing. In her spare time, she loves to knit for her loved ones.