Weddings during the coronavirus pandemic
By: Carla Vascot
Editor in Chief: Julieta Muñoz
Weddings around the world have undergone a disruptive change and it is very important to know how each country is developing strategies for economic recovery and safety protocols for the wedding industry.
We spoke about the impact of COVID-19 with Natalia Langsdale, owner of a successful marketing and boutique-style events agency, located on the French Riviera.
Carla Vasco: How many weddings do you normally organize in a year, and how many couples have chosen to postpone the date to 2021?
Natalia Langsdale: This year, I had seven very unique high-end weddings booked or in progress. My specialty is exclusive destination weddings and we focus on quality and exceptional nature rather than quantity to ensure that our weddings fall into the extraordinary. So far, all couples have postponed to next year, except one. The only wedding that remains in 2020 is a three-day wedding in September at the iconic Eden-Roc Villa in Cap d’Antibes.
CV: Is there a wedding association in your area that helps create new protocols for weddings in the face of this pandemic?
NL: There is no official wedding association where I am based (south of France). I am part of the Belief COVID-19 Weddings group on Facebook and other more local groups. We receive biosafety and operations protocols from the government, and this applies to all who work in hospitality, like hotels, restaurants, bars and venues.
CV: What do you recommend to couples who want to get married in 2020 despite the pandemic? For instance, limited guests, safe locations?
NL: Here in France we are waiting for more news from the government, scheduled to be released on June 2nd. For now, the only advice would be to wait and postpone. Currently, the government has limited gatherings to 10 people, and the possibility to go out freely on the street without a certificate has been upped from 1 km to a radius of 100 km around your current residence. Therefore, you cannot travel within France as you please. Wedding guests coming from abroad are still faced with restrictions in regards to air travel and general entry into France.
Since May 11th, the containment measures previously in place on French territory have been gradually lifted. People entering France from the European Union, the Schengen area and the United Kingdom are not affected by the quarantine measure. The presentation of the international travel certificate, in paper or digital format, remains essential for any trip to France during boarding and border control operations. For French citizens residing in the UK, this does not bring about any change: travel to France is only authorised for compelling reasons. Since April 8th, the international displacement certificate is required upon entry into or transit through French territory.
CV: Do you have a plan for intimate weddings and how beneficial can this new normality be for your sector?
NL: I received an enquiry from a foreign couple for a wedding at a private villa for October right in the midst of the confinement. However, with the limitations of travel, this enquiry is still pending. The wedding party would consist of just four, including the bridal couple. There will be couples who will want to marry for personal reasons, for example, sickness. In this case, the mayor of Nice said that weddings would be examined on a case by case basis, but that applies to residents here, not for couples who come to France to do an elopement wedding.
I have heard of a Zoom wedding taking place in the United States. That could be the future for those in urgency to say their "I do’s.” In the US, the legal system supported by the authorities of California and New York State has allowed this process for legal mariage.
CV: What advice can you give to wedding companies right now?
NL: Unfortunately, top wedding insurances for bridal couples don’t seem to do much besides dealing with a few cancellations or rescheduling to 2021. Therefore, the responsibility also falls back to the vendors and venues. We will need to act on our own good judgement and be kind and fair. We have postponed weddings without extra costs, but I know others who have charged a fee. In the long run, we must be aware that our actions will be judged and word-of-mouth is very powerful.
If, as a wedding community, locally and internationally, we can help one another and add a grain of understanding to bridal couples without profiting from their unfortunate financial circumstances, then we will come out of this stronger and with a tighter community of professionals who are there for one another.
My Riviera Weddings was founded by the creative, polyglot (English, French, Swedish, Polish, Italian and German speaker) and extremely open-minded Natalia Langsdale. In parallel, Natalia runs a highly successful boutique Marketing & Events agency on the French Riviera, catering for the luxury industry to include yachting and business aviation companies.
My Riviera Weddings itself was born out of years of event organising in the luxury industry with bespoke events such as:
‘Dinners in the Sky' 50 m above ground level, overlooking the port of Monaco.
Golf with biodegradable golf balls and floating targets at sea with the backdrop of the principality while on a 70 m superyacht.
Pétanque (boules) competition out at sea on a luxury superyacht with cashmere carpet and Michelin star chef for a gourmet experience.
These are just some of the specialities Natalia has offered to her discerning clientele. Imagination and a fine eye for detail brings My Riviera Weddings into a completion of marrying a rare skill set that makes the most special day come to light through dedication, attention to detail and the 'crème de la crème' of products, suppliers and exceptional venues.
Natalia and her team look forward to discussing your wedding day with you and making it the most memorable occasion that will be evoked years on from its taking place.
My Riviera Weddings has been featured in British Vogue print magazine and the UK Brides magazine several times last year, along with being hand-picked by Madame Figaro France as one of the most prestigious wedding planners on the French Riviera, not to mention wedding blogs such as Adoré and French Wedding Style blogs.