Putting the ‘happily-ever-after’ on hold—for nowThe Covid-19 pandemic has forced many couples to postpone their weddings, and with cases rising by the day it is unlikely they’ll be able to tie the knot this year.
If all had gone according to plan, Sushmita Manandhar and Hriday Chandra Pradhan would have been married for four months come August 26.
The couple was supposed to get married on April 26. But a little over a month prior to their wedding date, Nepal went into lockdown.
“On the day the lockdown was announced, we knew that the pandemic wasn’t going to end anytime soon, and we had no option but to cancel our wedding,” said Manandhar.
Covid-19, which was declared a pandemic on March 11, has completely altered the way people live, work, and socialise. For many couples like Manandhar and Pradhan who were slated to get married, the pandemic has forced them to put their plans of happily-ever-after union life on hold, for now.
Cancelling the wedding, says Manandhar, wasn’t an easy decision to make. “We have been together for three years, and in our first month together, we knew that we wanted to get married to each other,” said Manandhar. “So, we were really looking forward to our wedding.”
The cancellation also meant months of preparation for the wedding all going down the drain. “We had already selected the venue and booked it, our event planner had already started getting things ready, shoppings were done. We both were so looking forward to getting married, but I guess things weren’t meant to go according to plan,” said Manandhar, who was expecting around 1,200 to 1,500 people to the wedding. “We have families spread all across the globe who were planning to come to attend the ceremony.”
In Nepal, the year’s first wedding season usually begins from January and continues through the first half of March. The second wedding season starts from mid-April and extends to mid-June. The final wedding season of the year usually runs from mid-November to mid-December. The pandemic has already forced many couples planning to get married in the second wedding season to cancel their plans, and with Covid-19 cases still rising, it is highly unlikely that that final wedding season of the year is going to see many weddings taking place.
Pratishna Thapa and Sanjog Niroula, a couple who live in the US, were planning to get married in Nepal on June 13. The couple had been planning the wedding for almost a year and a half. “I was going to land in Nepal on May 28 and Sanjog on June 5. Everything for the wedding was already done—venues for bride side reception and the wedding were both booked,” said Thapa. “We had also bought our clothes and all our jewellery. Our friends and families from all over the world had also booked their flights to Nepal. It was going to be a four-day-long, big celebration.”
When the first cases of Covid-19 first started appearing early this year, Thapa says she was still hopeful that the situation would improve by summer. “We waited until April hoping that the pandemic would slow down. But instead of slowing down, cases were increasing rapidly and that was when we decided to cancel our wedding,” said Thapa. “Since we had been planning the wedding for almost a year and a half and were really looking forward to getting married, we were both devastated when we had to cancel it. I cried myself to sleep for several nights. I laugh when I think about it now.”
Instead of ruminating over having to cancel their weddings, Manandhar and Thapa say that they have focused on the positive side of things. “Of course, we wish we had gotten married as planned, but it didn’t happen. I have always believed that everything happens for good,” said Manandhar. “Before the lockdown, I used to help my father in his business. But during the lockdown, our factory had to be closed so I had ample time in my hand,” said Manandhar.
“During the lockdown, I also started my very own business, bakeaway_nepal, and the response to it has been amazing. This business is something I see myself continuing in the future. The lockdown has also given me enough time to spend with his family and get to know them better. So, it hasn’t been all that bad.”
The pandemic might have forced Thapa and Nirola to cancel their wedding, but it has, says Thapa, given them enough time to spend with each other. “The pandemic has slowed down our lives, and we have used the free time to spend with each other, which has allowed our relationship to flourish,” said Thapa. “Since our wedding got cancelled, we have decided to put in our wedding money into building our future together. We are now in the process of buying our first home together.”
Instead of a big wedding, Thapa says that they will now be opting for a small ceremony. “When the travel ban ends and it’s safe to travel again, we will travel to Nepal and have a small and intimate ceremony. Looking back, we are actually happy with how everything worked out,” said Thapa.