After weeks of lock down I am having mixed thoughts about the news that Italy opens borders on 3 June.
I would love to step off a plane and feel the difference that is Italy. To not see my friends and colleagues this year when I would normally have hooked up with them many times by now is hard.
We need a strong global recovery, as Italy opens borders restarting the economy this is giving a glimmer of hope for everyone concerned with destination weddings. BUT although this a positive step it is with risk. There is no other option right now and it is not only Italy taking this risk we are soon to follow.
Last week I posted on my Accent Events Facebook page some of the questions that came to mind when I read about Italy opening its borders. The post got quite a few views so I thought I would expand further on what has happened since that post.
I don’t know about you but it is a struggle to stay on top of timely and accurate news over rehashed stories with click bait titles. It gives the impression something new is happening and we are missing out.
It makes staying on top of the facts difficult.
Airline and travel related Italy news
1. 14 day quarantine – Italy are now going to stop this. The UK is going to start this. Although the UK has been allowing arrivals into the UK with no testing during lock down it seems a bit late in the day.
If there are temperatures checks at airports is this not too late if someone is refused boarding a plane. What are the implications of being refused access to the plane?
2. UK travel advice still remains at “All but essential travel” – is the news that Italy is going to reopen borders going encourage people to book flights and travel which could invalidate their travel insurance?
3. For all couples who have postponed their wedding this message could be confusing for them.
4. How long the mandatory quarantine remains in place is going to impact any weddings that may be able to take place abroad. It means an extended stay and additional cost.
5. If guests have been furloughed (UK) and then return to work how will going abroad for a destination wedding be viewed by employers from a time off perspective.
What will a wedding look like in Italy?
6. There is still no news on weddings and how they will be managed THIS YEAR. In Italy funerals can now be attended by up to 10 people. It was not possible to have a gathering afterwards but will this change soon? Does that then mean this will be the same for weddings?
Some town halls in Italy have performed the civil ceremony for Italian couples who will then have a church wedding when these open again but there is no news yet about civil ceremonies for foreign couples.
7. For those couples who have postponed their wedding to 2021 and any new couples it is going to be tough as no-one yet knows what your wedding will look like in Italy.
How many guests can be accommodated relative to size of venue, what set-up options will be on offer, how many guests per table and what will be distance apart. (The risk of corona virus is high for prolonged contact).
“This could be the start of a big change for weddings.”
Remember when a destination wedding was all about the couple and no fuss?”
8. How will insurance companies cover travel and destination weddings as it looks like Covid-19 is going to be around for some time? Insurance for Covid-19 related situations have been stopped as the situation progressed quickly.
To clarify where you stand with your insurance get in touch with your provider.
Premiums are likely going to go up for future travel and at a guess there will be more detailed clauses for cancellation to reflect the possibility or probability of another wave of infection.
You can read more about travel insurance on the Association of British Insurers
Too much news
9. Information saturation – making sense of all the announcements – when are airlines taking to the air again, where can you go on holiday? Can you go on holiday? What will airports be responsible for, what will airlines be doing to safeguard passengers?
10. Low prices to encourage purchase but then if the airline cancels there is the task of getting a refund or in some cases a vouchers and no refund.
11. Social media and subjective opinions. As you can imagine there is a range of opinion on what should be happening. The relaxation of lock down and the slow opening of certain businesses to restart the economy has its supporters as well as those who are more fearful of setting off another infection wave.
12. As a small business I am torn between posting positively but often feel it is not helpful as right now it will only serve to remind you what you are missing!
The wedding and hospitality industry will be one of the last industries to open to be able to host weddings.
There are some signs that venues in Italy are now open to show clients around on venue visits currently for Italian residents, but as of 3rd June I guess this will be the case for destination couples if the FCO changes the status for travel to Italy.
13. How can a destination wedding couple move forward from 3 June 2020?
Before you set off on your journey for a destination wedding it is worth sitting down to think about:
2021 looks like it is going to be a busy year as a high percentage of 2020 weddings have postponed to 2021. Weekends and bank holiday dates will most likely be booked leaving weekdays in those weeks/months that typically fall outside of peak season.
By choosing a small wedding you can better manage any outgoings for deposits. Think about keeping each element of the wedding day separate to avoid high exclusive use costs.
Committing financially when there is uncertainty is going to take a leap of faith. Everyone is aware of the potential of what could happen as we have just been through it.
Try to be understanding when communicating with venues and wedding suppliers as they are also adjusting to a new way of doing weddings and may not be able to meet all requests.
Are you in a place to accept there will be a very high level of caution and yes, fear to travelling abroad.
Health risks and impact to RSVP. We may find that small weddings and elope weddings will become the norm in this situation for some time.
Budgeting for your wedding. Many businesses have not increased prices even though they have had to meet the additional costs of meeting Covid-19 regulations. Bear this in mind that 2021 could see an higher than expected increase to prices as the wedding industry has been hit hard by Covid-19 a whole year of wedding postponements and cancellations.
There will be a way forward, it may take some time to get a clear idea of when, what and how weddings will look in Italy. I believe there will have to be a level of acceptance that things will be different for a while.
I am sure everyone is asking similar questions and unfortunately there is no clear answer for us all to be singing from the same hymn sheet. Confusing times for everyone.
I guess it is a case of proceed with caution and think through all considerations.
As much as we love travel and gatherings these are two major considerations for this virus.
If you would like to share your thoughts or have any questions please use the comments or get in touch.