How will coronavirus affect my wedding?Guest blog by Luba Mitnik-Gankin of Primavera Dreams
With the coronavirus affecting over 100 countries now across the world, this is having a big impact on destination weddings, especially in Italy, as guests will be arriving from a variety of countries from around the world.
We speak to Luba Mitnik-Gankin of Primavera Dreams, a certified international events and weddings planner, a certified luxury wedding planner, and a certified wedding & events design specialist. Luba's previous career as a scientist puts her in a great position for us to find out what couples should be doing.
**UPDATE 5pm 24.03.20. Please also see our blog post "Is my wedding cancelled due to Coronavirus?" in light of the UK Government's stay at home instruction.**
Photo credit: Alex Gordias Photography
What advice are you giving to your couples who are planning a destination wedding in Italy in the next few weeks and months?
Destination weddings require travel for everyone attending. The couples' friends and relatives often live in different countries, and some may require special assistance and face various travel restrictions. For example, I have been working with a couple whose relatives live in Iran and under the current travel ban cannot leave the country. Some couples have elderly relatives whom they want to see at their weddings. These people cannot travel in the current situation due to the travel restrictions or high-risk of getting infected with the virus.
Therefore, I recommend to my couples the following and am working closely with them on all items below:
- Watch the situation closely and communicate with your wedding planner often.
- Ask your wedding planner to investigate options of getting money back from vendors in case of COVID-19 related cancellations.
- Inquire if they can postpone their wedding without paying extra fees. This should be discussed with all vendors.
- If vendors refuse reimbursements, check credit card policies, some major credit cards may assist in getting the reimbursements.
- Work with you wedding planner to develop a Plan B in case there is a need to find different a venue and vendors.
- Do not panic!
Photo credit: Anna Fowler Weddings
And what advice are you giving to couples who are having a destination wedding in Italy in the later part of 2020?
I am a research scientist by formation. While the situation with the new coronavirus is worrisome, I prefer to rely on scientific evidence and past experiences with viruses. At this point, we already see the pattern of decrease in cases in China and South Korea, where the virus hit earlier. With Italy now on lockdown, we may anticipate an improvement in the situation in a few weeks. It gives my couples, who are getting married later in the year, time to wait and see. If the situation improves by June, we would proceed as planned. I would still recommend being proactive and check all the available options in terms of cancelling/postponing ahead of time. I also recommend to all my couples to keep their guests informed that they are actively watching the situation and will update their guests with any changes asap. They need to make it clear that their guests' safety and well-being are of utmost importance.
Photo credit: Jules Bower
What can the couples who have had to postpone their destination weddings in Italy expect?
If a wedding is planned for the date when all public events are cancelled, my clients may expect return of their money from some vendors, such as venues and caterers on a case by case basis. I also recommend consulting with an attorney. The couples are often offered an option to postpone their celebration for up to a year. Most Italian vendors are trying to be accommodating and flexible. When the wedding is postponed, my role is to make sure that every vendor involved is available for the new date (or find a replacement). It requires time and dedication, but I am happy to assist my couples.
More about Luba, international destination wedding planner and designer
I've loved weddings since I attended my first one at the age of 3. I still remember the bride in her wedding dress and the glass of Champagne I was trying to get for myself, fascinated by all these bubbles! I am a certified international events and weddings planner, a certified luxury wedding planner, and a certified wedding & events design specialist.
In my previous life, I was a scientist and a managing director (which also included a lot of planning and organisational skills). I hold the Couple's Choice Award 2018-2020 from Wedding Wire and Best of Weddings in 2019-2020 from The Knot. I am an eager learner and love participating in seminars and conferences which are relevant to the wedding industry.
I am in love with Italy, speak fluent Italian, and organise weddings there for my couples. In addition to be the owner of Primavera Dreams, I volunteer as an organiser of cultural events for the Russian-speaking community of Greater Boston. I am on the board of Hebrew Senior Life – an organisation that takes care of the elderly. I volunteer there by organising different celebratory events for their patients and have done so for many years. My children are also involved. I have three daughters, a son and an affectionate husband. We love our family and friends, love traveling together, and I am so pleased that all of them share my love for Italy!
I have been a planner from birth, and have been planning all kinds of events for as long as I remember myself: at school, at university, at work. I was involved in planning scientific conferences and meetings while conducting research, simply because I really liked it. I also love celebrations: I believe they help us balance daily routines and the sad news we hear on a daily basis.
Weddings to me are an epitome of a happy, beautiful, emotional and meaningful event for the couple and their guests. Weddings create an unforgettable feeling of pure joy. My job as a wedding planner allows me to be a part of the process: to help my couples create this day (or even several days) and then to be a part of it, share in this feeling. It gives me a lot of energy and satisfaction, especially when I see that my participation was worthwhile.