Maltese couples who are planning on getting married later this year are still facing an element of uncertainty with many asking for a ‘Plan B’ in case they have to cancel their celebrations due to a second wave of coronavirus.

Weddings are slowly picking up now that there are no longer restrictions on the number of people allowed during mass gatherings. But destination weddings – which involve foreigners coming to Malta to tie the knot – are still slow, according to wedding organisers.

When the pandemic arrived in Malta in early March, the health authorities imposed social distancing and restrictions on mass gatherings as part of a range of measures to contain the spread of the virus.

This meant that large weddings – which typically have a guest list of some 350 people – could not go ahead as planned, explained photographer Gino Galea.

The majority of couples who had their wedding booked this summer postponed their weddings to the same time next year with some opting for later this year. A few opted to go ahead and get married in church during a private ceremony, with some streaming the event on Facebook.

“Now, as restrictions have been lifted, things are slowly settling and couples are no longer coming to me in a panic. They are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” Galea said.

“However, there is still an element of uncertainty as couples who decided to go ahead and keep their dates booked for November and December this year are asking for a ‘Plan B’ in case there is a second wave of the virus once winter kicks in and influenza season starts,” he said, adding that some couples were playing it safe by organising a simple church ceremony this year with the intention of planning the big party next year – once the future becomes clearer.

When it came to foreigners coming from abroad to wed, he said, there had been some enquiries, but no bookings.

Wedding planner Sarah Young, who specialises in destination weddings and special events for visitors, said there still remained a lot of uncertainty due to quarantine measures imposed by different countries.

Even though Malta’s airport will reopen on July 15, there remained question marks about whether foreign guests would have to face quarantine on their return home – an issue that impacted their ability to take vacation leave for the wedding.

Martina Selvagi, founder of Wed Our Way, which also specialises in destination weddings, said most foreigners who wanted to wed in Malta picked dates ranging between April and October as they wanted to make the most of the weather and turn it into a vacation with their guests.

Many who had weddings planned this summer postponed or cancelled the event due to the virus and also financial reasons as some lost their jobs.

“Now the situation is worse because we are not only losing weddings but even future bookings by couples who would have visited Malta to see the destination before booking their wedding here,” she said, adding that, while she was confident that the industry would bounce back, it will take time.

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