2020 had the whole world turned upside down. In 2021, we’re continuing to see the consequences of the pandemic, especially in areas deeply rooted in human connection and interaction, such as the events industry.
Asia has long been a coveted corner of the world for people looking to organize celebrations in style. Among the events industry leaders is The Wedding Bliss Thailand, a wedding planning & design company that operates around Thailand, as well as internationally. Their work is well-known around the world for its expressive style and creativity.
“The pandemic has obviously hit our industry quite hard. Especially because we work on destination weddings, and Thailand has remained practically closed off for the rest of the world until now” — says Jess, executive director of The Wedding Bliss. “So many couples had to postpone their weddings indefinitely, because it’s hard to say when life will get back to normal. All our vendors and luxury venues are fully prepared for active work whenever we get a green light from the government and international communities”.
With new hopes and dreams for 2021, we spoke with Jess for a Q&A session with The Wedding Bliss team.
Truly Classy: First off, how hard has the luxury wedding industry been impacted by COVID-19, especially for destination weddings?
The Wedding Bliss: Destination weddings were literally impossible under the current situation for 2 obvious reasons: international travel is not open, and group gatherings were not allowed for quite a long time, all to help slow and eventually stop the spread of the virus. In that light, all our international clients had to postpone their weddings until the situation clears and travel becomes safely allowed again.
TC: We learned that you actually executed a wedding during the pandemic, can you tell us how you were able to successfully pull it off despite the restrictions of the pandemic?
TWB: The event was executed to the highest standard — pandemic or not, we pay utmost attention to the aesthetic and visual appeal of the event. This wedding was of a Thai couple, and it was hosted in Four Seasons Chiang Mai. It was a day filled with beauty and meaning.
The event was possible thanks to the fact that Thailand had a zero-case state, so gatherings and parties could go ahead. Despite the fact that destination weddings are rarely a huge-scale event, being more intimate in their nature anyway, the guest list for this wedding had to be somewhat cut anyway, since no international guests could fly in to attend, as well as to accommodate the limited group rule established by the venue.
TC: How are wedding planners adopting to COVID-19 to ensure weddings are safe?
TWB: Working with leaders of the hospitality industry, we can always rest assured that everyone takes safety and quality as their highest priority. Our team, our vendors, and our venue partners strictly follow health guidelines, including obligatory sanitation stations, no buffet policy, and so on.
As wedding planners, we are also skilled at managing unexpected situations and crises. And usually, it’s our job to ensure the couple is not in any way affected by these, or better yet, does not even notice them. While it’s impossible to make our clients not notice the pandemic, we still do our best to ensure it doesn’t impose more stress on them, by managing all the changes to their events and acting preventatively where needed (agreeing on new dates with vendors, adjusting budgets, noting guidelines, etc).
TC: What advice would you share to couples who are trying to decide between postponing, canceling, or perhaps considering scaling down their wedding?
TWB: Postpone, rather than cancel.
First of all, after a year of being limited in our activities, as social beings we will all need as many opportunities to celebrate life and love as possible, and weddings are one of the most important days in any person’s life! Think about the memories they will make, even if at the moment it feels overwhelming to even think about planning an event. Believe us, it’s going to be worth it.
Secondly, event industry professions are now more flexible than ever in terms of their policies of postponement. For instance, at The Wedding Bliss, we do not limit the time period in which the event should take place anymore, which allows for our couples to wait until the situation clears to decide on their new date. The same is true for most other vendors we work with, who are eager to help couples in any way possible to ensure they will still get to celebrate their dream wedding.
One thing to consider though is downscaling your guest list. This might help bring the wedding date a little closer, since smaller groups will be allowed to gather way earlier than large crowds, due to easier organization of social distancing, etc. Think about your wedding venue space as well, and stay in touch with the venue manager (or your wedding planner), to ensure that your group size can be safely hosted.
TC: Can you please give us your thoughts on the destination wedding market after the pandemic?
TWB: Yes, we have a positive and bright future to look forward to. To this day, we still receive many inquiries and still have new bookings for weddings in late 2021 and further out in 2022. Some couples have asked for our information and are likely to decide once they have a clearer picture of how the future will be in terms of the pandemic situation and travel restrictions.
We are quite certain that once these circumstances improve, the celebration and travel across the countries will be back stronger than ever. Hence, our team remains prepared for smooth operations once restrictions are eased.
TC: Lastly, how important is it to have a wedding planner during these uncertain times?
TWB: Having a wedding planner by your side is an invaluable asset for couples at any time, but especially so in critical moments like this COVID pandemic.
There’re so many things that happen behind the scenes when planning a wedding, it’s very time-consuming and hard to think about every single detail, so wedding planner can take this role on them, while the couple can still go on about with their life as normal — work, chill and enjoy the planning process rather than stress about it.
With the pandemic going on, there are yet even more things to think about, from constant monitoring of health situations, government regulations, regional and local rules, international trail restrictions, to the logistical details of organizing a safe event environment, always being prepared for the last-minute changes and adjustments, and so on.
It’s a wedding planner’s job to make this journey as smooth for their couples as possible. It’s a strategic investment, if you will, into your own well-being and peace of mind.
The Wedding Bliss Thailand is a full-service wedding planning and design company, with years of experience and expertise in the industry. Led by a tandem of passionate sisters, the team is continuously named as one of the top destination wedding planners and designers in South-East Asia and acclaimed as the industry trendsetters by top wedding media outlets from around the world.