Lifestyle Verve

Who wins or gains in the Covid-19 wedding

Written by Akinmade

With the Covid-19 pandemic sill around couples are no longer getting their dream large crowd wedding ceremonies and suppliers are counting their losses and gains with the change in protocols

Sunday Akintoye

At the beginning of last year, many couples had to put their wedding plans on hold as the whole world battle with the Covid-19 pandemic. However, with the ease in lockdown plans were revived and the wedding ceremonies are on again.

But these events are now different from what used to be the norms when most couples, seeing their wedding as a once in a lifetime event, roll out all drums to have elaborate ceremonies with almost all available friends, relatives and colleagues invited and incorporated into the plans.

A major aspect of the Covid-19 protocols still in place is the limitation of the number of people that could attend any event at any particular enclosure. This has drastically limited the number of guests invited to wedding ceremonies as well as the choice of venues for the event. Halls and event centres are now allowed to sit half of their initial capacities.

These new protocols have also changed the nature of wedding ceremonies apart from influencing the choice of venue.

Mrs Olajumoke Adekoya, Chairperson, Seamless Event Management, disclosed that couples and their families are no longer organizing elaborate wedding ceremonies. This, she said, is also affecting the businesses of some suppliers and vendors used for wedding ceremonies.

“Those that are affected are owners of event centre because the governments have warned them to adhere to their approved capacity for any social events to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Aside from that, the musicians, DJs and MCs are losing too because the wedding ceremonies of nowadays are not elaborate,” she said.

For event hall owners, the demand for venues has drastically reduced as some couples are opting for outdoor wedding ceremonies making use of their compounds, gardens, open fields and other similar facilities for their wedding ceremonies.

Investigations revealed that some event halls and centres are doing very low business with the drastic drop in demand for their spaces.

Friday Omeile, Manager of Happiness Event Centre, based in Lagos, said people are cautious of the Covid- 19 and this is affecting attendance at wedding ceremonies. He revealed that people now prefer to use his event centre for business meetings, club activities and small parties than wedding ceremonies.

“Our event centre is not too big to accommodate crowd but before Covid-19, people booked for wedding ceremonies on weekly basis but now it has reduced. I don’t know if it is lack of money that causes it or people don’t want to marry any longer or it may be as a result of Covid-19,” he said.

“Weddings used to be a top event in the demand for our facilities. Now customers are no longer using us like before. We have been forced to strategise to say afloat,” a director of an event centre located in Abeokuta, Ogun State told The Observers Life.

Some of the survival strategies of the facilities owners include reducing the number of their staff and their salaries and allowances, restructuring the uses of utilities and auxiliary facilities.

“We are now conscious of when and how we make used of the central air conditioning system and other utilities and facilities that are expensive to use when we don’t have customers,” Bolanle, a manager of an event centre said.

The low-keyed wedding ceremonies that are now in vogue have also affected other businesses. An African wedding usually involves sending out a large number of invitations to extended family members, friends and colleagues, who are expected to buy the aso ebi (the event’s uniform), as well as distribute some souvenirs to other guests and relatives. But this practice has drastically reduced, with the low number of invites sent out for wedding ceremonies.

In turn, this has adversely affected the businesses of volume-based vendors like food and drink suppliers, souvenir suppliers, and aso-ebi suppliers.

Peju Aburi, CEO, Precious Price Bake, said some vendors are diversifying to other businesses for survival.

“People were doing wedding ceremonies during the lockdown but in low key manner because the period of pandemic helped the intended couples to spend less. All the make-up artists, caterers, photographers, engagers (Alaga iduro and Alaga ijoko) and others vendors were still contacted for the wedding job except owners of the event centre, DJ, Musicians and MC that were affected,” she said.

Mr Tayo Adeyemo, a Photographer, confessed that the situation affected his business last year when the social events including wedding ceremonies were at the lowest ebb.

“It was a tough time for me and my family because there were no social events talk less of wedding ceremonies during the pandemic. I did not work for almost a year but now I am getting some social events and the wedding ceremonies are gradually picking up but are not the same before the Covid-19,” he said.

Adeyemo said many intending couples no longer do glamorous, elaborate wedding ceremonies while only a few people now go to parties as many people are still cautious of the deadly disease.

Mrs Olabisi Akande, a Caterer, said the Covid-19 pandemic has changed many things in Nigeria, including plans for the wedding with only a few caterers now contracted for the event.

 “As a caterer, I still get wedding jobs but the only difference is that I don’t get elaborate wedding ceremonies where I can get more money but I make my money from other social events like social club meeting, birthdays, burial ceremonies and others. To be honest, the deadly disease has changed many people to look into other businesses that can give them their daily meals, she said.

Mrs. Deborah Olajumoke, an event decorator, confirmed that she had diversified to other things since the number of wedding ceremonies has reduced.

“I do petty trading so I don’t rely much on event decoration. If I am invited for a job, I will go and make my money. Truly the wedding ceremonies in Lagos generally cannot be the same as they were before Covid-19 because people nowadays are cautious of the deadly disease and secondly the present situation of the economy is giving many people a serious concern,” she said.

Many musicians, masters of ceremony (MCs), disc jockeys (DJs) and stand up acts are also witnessing low business patronage from intending marrying couples. Hassan Adeyanju, a comedian and MC, said many wedding ceremonies are taking place without the services of MCs, comedians and musicians.

With the limited number of guests that could be invited to social events, some couples are turning to technology to include more witnesses to their tying of the nuptial knots. Virtual wedding ceremonies are gradually gaining traction among professionals as part of the strategy to beat the crowd control protocols in place.

And with a virtual wedding, the number of traditional vendors and the scope of their needed services are drastically reduced. And computer professionals are gaining.

But Aburi while agreeing that the virtual wedding ceremonies are very short and need few people and suppliers, said the online ceremonies are not yet widely accepted.

“Virtual wedding in Nigeria is not common and I have not seen anyone. The one I know is compound and church wedding and it is always done with few people in attendance in line with Covid-19 public safety protocols,” she said.

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