It seems that during the COVID-19 pandemic, even love has to be put on hold. When Cagayan de Oro City was put on MECQ last June 1, 2021, majority of the couples decided to postpone their weddings indefinitely, waiting until when family and friends could celebrate the special union with them.
The wedding industry is one of the hardest hit industries during the pandemic. The decline in weddings brought economic challenges to the gamut of wedding suppliers who now have to strive harder to bring in enough cash to keep their shops and employees, ranging from bead workers to florists.
But just as we lament the severity of the economic crisis facing the wedding industry, we also celebrate the resilience of these ultra creative people.
One perfect example of how resilient they can be --- they came up with a new term exclusive for this hard time: The Pandemic Rate. The Pandemic Rate is a 50 - 60% discount on the services of a Wedding Coordinator. However, the couple must take the initiative to inquire if it is being offered by their coordinator.
And while Wedding Coordinators in Cagayan de Oro have always been flexible in working within the couple's budget, this pandemic made it more pronounced than usual. DIY decorating for weddings has skyrocketed in popularity and wedding coordinators are pushing their creativity to the limits to achieve the couple's vision of the wedding aesthetics at about 1/4 of the usual costs.
Government mandated restrictions on churches and restaurants are also affecting the number of guests a couple can have. From budget is the limit --- couples now have to restrict those in the church to 20 - 30 people. For restaurants, pre-pandemic's normal seating capacity per table is 10 - 12 persons. Pandemic seating capacity is now at 4 - 5 persons. These figures could increase or decrease, depending on the quarantine status of our city.
Some couples have opted to have a small, civil wedding this June and a more lavish church wedding at a later date. This made restaurants offer an alternative, Intimate Wedding Reception option. Some have also decided to go for a home reception, just like what couples did in the '60's & 70's when there were fewer restaurants and hotels in the city, but with a big difference. Home receptions during the covid pandemic is of a distinctly smaller scale. Neighbors in the community are aware of the wedding, but most know they could not be invited because of the covid budget and social gathering restrictions.
The good thing about us Kagay-anons is that we have hearts of gold. "Magsinabtanay nalang ta," is an often used phrase for all the adjustments that are needed while planning and executing a wedding during this covid pandemic. Weddings that were scheduled in the midst of the sudden MECQ and that were postponed were gracefully facilitated by everyone involved, budgets that were severely cut down because of pandemic circumstances were amiably discussed and alternatives are always offered and friends and families that could not be included in the wedding entourage or guest list still send wedding gifts or best wishes.
Despite the covid related challenges, Kagay-anons never forget the true essence of weddings --- the celebration of love.
We would like to acknowledge the valuable insights shared by Sheldon Akut Frias of Strictly Sheldon Events.