Post # 1
We’re supposed to be having a 40-50 guest international destination wedding in early April. Already postponed once from summer 2020. Was hoping for the best then the COVID holiday spike happened, vaccinations were slow, and US now requires COVID tests to return to the country.
I was devastated but everyone was telling me it’s gonna be fine. My parents and fiance were all pushing me to keep going, celebrate with whoever can make it, take precautions due to covid, and everything will be fine. Honestly, I think they are being way too positive and are unable to face the music. They didn’t want us to cancel last time either even when the borders were literally closed at our destination.
We’re mid 30s and already been together 8 years and need/want to start a family soon so we don’t really feel we have opportunity to postpone again. Also, my venue has been a nightmare to deal with and I honestly don’t think I can do it for a 3rd time.
Now I’m just here 5-6 weeks out and never postponed/canceled and feel totally paralyzed. we’ve lost 40-50% of our guest list due to cancelations, and I can’t figure out what to do. I feel completely unable to act on any decision because my fiance isn’t convinced we should cancel. I already feel crushed to possibly have to cancel my dream wedding and having my support people telling me not to cancel makes it even harder. I cry at least every other day about the situation I’m in.
We’d lose 10k in deposits out of a 30k budget to cancel, we can’t really postpone due to the family planning issue, feel bad to cancel altogether due to those that already booked travel, and feel absolutely horrified at the thought of planning a whole new wedding from complete scratch somewhere else with a lower budget, and under an extreme time crunch.
Help! I’ve lost perspective on this situation and am swimming in a sea of uncertainty.
We have only 2-3 days to make a decision and we’ve been going back and forth all week. I feel so sad I can no longer make decisions. Has anyone canceled with this little notice? Or have a similar situation and can say how it worked out?
Post # 2
I think the international wedding is a terrible idea for April. There is no way that the vaccination rates will make travel abroad safe by then (and many countries haven’t even started!). Keep in mind that it’s seriously discouraged because, even if you don’t have to quarantine upon arrival and foreigners can be admitted at all, you could be stuck there if the borders suddenly close. I’m sorry that your dream wedding is probably not possible, but for what it’s worth, I don’t think this is just a matter of months. International travel without running the risk of a sudden lockdown is probably, to be blunt, more than a year away, if not two. So this is more than a matter of just another postponement. You probably would run into the same problem again if you postpone one more time.
I would see if you could have the wedding in the US (where I’m assuming you’re from) in a gorgeous setting, preferably one with minimal or no travel for the majority of your guests. You may be able to reverse some of those cancellations you already had. Consider the loss of $10K just an added cost of the pandemic, something anyone who’s lost a job has effectively had to absorb. You may be mourning not traveling to your international venue, but everyone has had to cancel or postpone their trips.
I’m sorry…we’re all dealing with it. I had to postpone trips and I still have no idea when I’ll be able to take them. But it’s the right decision amid all the border restrictions and risks of not being able to get back home.
Post # 3
If you or your guests were to become unwell at the destination, would you even be able to receive quality healthcare (i.e. would you be eligible, could you pay for it, and does your destination have enough resources like oxygen for their own citizens, let alone visitors)?
Would you be visiting a place which is doing better than your home, risking worsening the situation at your destination? Would you be visiting a place which is doing worse than your home, potentially introducing variants into your local community?
Do you personally feel safe traveling and being in crowded locations whilst in transit? Would any of your guests feel any social pressure (whether they voice it or not) to attend even if they’re not comfortable?
Would you feel you could relax and enjoy the event? Could you remember the wedding favorably if a guest contracted COVID and became seriously unwell?
Could you afford to stay at a hotel long-term if borders close? Could your guests? What would happen if flight caps were introduced and you were booked onto return flights which were cancelled?
Personally, I would not go ahead. But think very seriously all of the above if you’re entertaining the possibility. I haven’t cancelled events but I have cancelled a trip to see my in-laws a short flight away because of COVID border closures. They will not have seen me for my entire pregnancy (almost at the third trimester), and who knows if they will be able to meet their grandchild in a timely manner. It sucks – it really sucks – but we’re in a pandemic and this is the reality we face.
Post # 4
thank you. Trust me, I get it. When I think of having a wedding internationally I’m kind of embarassed/astounded at the thought. But when family and the guests that already booked don’t want to cancel I’m basically here trying to be responsible with no one around to agree with me as they say they all understand and accept risks and I should let them be adults. And I feel guilty to cancel and have them lose money. That’s 10x worse than us losing deposits for sure.
Unfortunately we don’t live near all of our guests so no such thing as a wedding with no travel 🙁 Our original small guest list of only 50 included folks from 6 states. His parents live 2500 miles away and my family lives 1000 miles away. The distance between guests is up to 3200 miles (some from east coast, some on west). We have almost no one local. Even if we had a super small wedding with immediate family only and 1 best friend each (like siblings to us), we’re taking only 10 people, but from 3 states, all at least 1200 miles away. It’s why we chose destination to begin with because everyone had to travel a lot anyways.
Post # 5
yes, decent medical care, but not as advanced as the US, all of us will have travel insurance which covers health care, evacuation, and extended hotel stay as it is required by the country to enter. Plus our resort offers highly reduced rate in case of positive test. The country is doing better than the US with covid and desperately wants tourists. I cannot imagine why on earth they want Americans to visit…I know I wouldn’t if I were them, but tourism is a big part of their economy. We will test before going and would recommend to all guests to test before arriving as well but we realize we cannot police it. We’ll be in a more remote area upon arrival where cases are very low.
I am personally comfortable to be on a plane with proper medical grade masks and so are guests, but no I agree with you that I will feel terrible if a guest tested positive or got sick while we are there but literally no one close to me agrees with me. Not even my therapist agreed with me! They all said I should let adults be responsible for their own actions and consequences. This is the madness I am dealing with. Feels like more judgment to cancel than not.
Post # 6
For me, in this situation, there would be two things I would find unsettling. The first is the possibility of introducing COVID to a community which has been doing well but also might not have access to excellent medical resources or might be higher risk. The hotel workers may accept this risk when they come to work, but do the other people on their bus/in the shops? In addition, if I were feeling apprehensive/guilty about hosting the wedding, I don’t think I would fully be able to enjoy the planning process or the day itself.
However, others might have different perspectives and that’s OK.
I think you just have think carefully about the pros and cons, and then go with your gut, irrespective of how popular or unpopular it may be. Your guests are adults and can make their own choices. Heck, they can still go on the vacation if they want irrespective of whether the wedding takes place! Yes, they might have chosen a different location or might not have used their allocated leave. However, booking any travel during a pandemic does come with an assumption of risk. That is a risk that they have taken on knowingly.
Post # 7
I think it might be ok to still have the wedding. I think you’re well within your rights to request a negative covid test from your guests and it might be the way to solve it. We live at the time when people have to test 2-3 times a week to work, i think it’s ok to ask them to test here and when you all arrive to your destination. Also, if you limit your interaction with locals or do it responsibly. I think there is a way to work this out.
Post # 8
Trying to justify coming from a hot spot country like the USA to a country where the citizens (not the government) have done a good job keeping covid at bay by saying one industry is crying out for customers blows my mind.
I find it amazing how cavalier Americans (and a couple of other countries) seem to be about risking other people (especially taking advantage of poor nations) in order to have a holiday. It is any wonder you guys have the death toll you have.
Plenty of people, myself included, have had to cancel and postpone events and holidays in this pandemic. This is not a unique situation. It sucks but being a responsible person should be what matters right now.
Post # 9
Countries that require negative tests before departure (like Australia) are still recording COVID cases from returning nationals because people are picking it up in transit or are having predeparture tests which are too early. Recently Melbourne (city of 5 million people) and Perth (city of 2 million people) entered temporary lockdowns because of these cases leaking from hotel quarantine despite many precautions being taken. There were no fatalities, but the economic damage is estimated to be north of one billion dollars.
Australia is a rich country, and these people were in hotel rooms and didn’t leave. It would be even more disruptive if people were moving around the community at a wedding in a country with fewer economic resources.
Edit: Testing on arrival still could produce false negatives from recent exposure in the US or false negatives for exposures in transit.
Post # 10
My inclination is to agree with you (quite strongly!), but I am also in the privileged position to be a middle income earner in a country with social security who did not lose their job in this crisis. I can’t know what it’s like to live in a developing country whose economy has been decimated by this. I know that the UN has remarked that for some low-income countries, the economic effects from COVID border closures may exceed the effects of COVID because of how many people live on the brink of poverty. I don’t know whether the OP’s destination would fall into this category. There’s a good chance it doesn’t.
Again, I do agree with you! But I also recognize that I don’t have the authority to speak on behalf of a community that I know nothing about. I’m not trying to attack you, but rather explain why my own responses were a little more ambiguous.
Post # 11
As a former aide worker there are plenty of ways to support communities in developing nations other than taking a trip there during a pandemic. Like pressuring your government to financially support those nations that our nations like to take advantage of (so the South Pacific and Bali for us) to have vaccination programs quicker (and then we can all safely go n holiday). Or just providing aid in general rather than cutting it. Support local businesses in these holiday desinations by buying from them or taking online cooking classes from them (this has been popular from restaurants in Thailand and Bali).
You know what will decimate a developing nations economy? A massive outbreak of a pandemic and the loss of lives, especially of doctors, nurses and other medical staff. @amongclouds:
Post # 12
Yikes, I am a super paranoid and cautious person so I wouldn’t have been comfortable planning a destination for years once this pandemic started. I would suggest that you don’t really have much option than to just go along with it now. Your guests seem crazy, being willing to travel at this time but if people have booked you can’t do much. I do think it’s really irresponsible though. This pandemic is only spreading so much because people can’t seem to stay in one place and it’s not exactly essential travel. The best option would have been you guys eloped last year and waited for everything to pass and then celebrated once travel was safer and vaccine rates were high but I guess you just have to be as careful and responsible as you can when you get there.
Post # 13
Yikes, what a pickle. I would honestly cancel because I couldn’t cope with the guilt if anyone caught COVID at my event. Esp when you factor in the complication of being in a foreign country, what if someone is seriously sick and stranded there for weeks or months? I would eat your losses and do a small local court house wedding now so you can get on with life, and then maybe a bigger celebration later when it’s safer.
I agree with you completely here. Catching COVID is not the only, nor is it even the top concern, for many people and communities across the globe right now. The reason many places are allowing weddings, travel, tourism, etc. is precisely because they are desperate to keep the economy churning to some degree so they aren’t plunged into even deeper poverty.
That said, I still think OP should cancel.
Post # 14
yes there are definitely all of these possibilities. Still people will do whatever they’ll want to do, I just hope they do it as responsible as possible. Guests might still take that flight and go have a nice vacation to themselves for all you know.
There is another side to this- if it’s a country highly dependent on tourism it is possible the consequences of people not having any income for that long gonna be higher than those of responsibly done wedding.
These are the countries that will need to make money somehow eventually and the fact that all of richer nations will be vaccinated but still possibly be carriers in two years when everyone will start traveling again and not distancing or doing it in a safe manner won’t make it any safer for them I don’t think. I think you’re coming from a good place but is it possible you’re leave something out just because you are probably working from home, can sustain yourself reasonably comfortably and just waiting it out? Some people don’t have that option.
But in terms of this bee, she seems like a reasonable person to make an informed decision.
Post # 15
It is unfortunately pretty shocking how little of the tourism economy actually stays in a developing nation. According to the UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) for every $100 spent by tourists only $5 remains in the country. It is a red herring ploy used by the tourism industry to make you think you are actually helping. Most people just assume that the bulk of their money goes into the countries economy. Most of the big players (Hilton/Accor/Marriott etc) usually pay little taxes in these countries as well especially since most people book with a travel agent based in their own country or online.
It’s a rotten industry overall.