When the Coronavirus was just a whisper on the news circuit, Alia Besher Abdulhak was making preparations for her spring wedding. Her ceremony would take place at the dreamy Four Seasons Resort in Dubai surrounded by family and friends who travelled from near and far. After saying ‘I do’ to fiancé Khalid Humaid Bin Drai, they would fly to the cerulean waters of Bora Bora for their honeymoon. But in the blink of an eye, everything changed. The day before we spoke to Alia over the phone was supposed to be her Henna day. “I had a gut feeling things were about to get a lot worse,” she told us.
Beginning with Italy’s lockdown, there came an avalanche of worry as governments across the world put a screeching halt on social events for fear of spreading the virus. “After I sent an email [to cancel my wedding], everyone was so supportive with everything.” Family and friends sent flowers and reached out, showing their love. “Everyone was calling me saying, ‘Don’t worry, as soon as this is done we’re going to be there’.” The Four Seasons also offered their support, returning Alia’s wedding deposit without question.
The wedding industry as a whole has suffered a harsh blow from COVID- 19. Alia sought out Event Chic Designs in Dubai to make her wedding dreams come true and despite the nightmare she finds herself in, CEO and founder Jardel Silva took extra steps to reassure her. “Of course, it’s a very frustrating situation when it comes to cancelling or rescheduling your wedding after so much effort and expectation. But for us, our main priority is to continue to make things happen behind the scenes so we can focus on our bride’s needs to the smallest detail.” Despite the wedding cancellations, for Jardel, it’s not a matter of if they’ll take place, but when.
Founder and Managing Director of Carousel Events, Zainab Alsalih shares the same hopeful sentiment, notedly referring to wedding cancellations as postponements. “Our industry has started a movement to encourage clients to postpone their weddings and events. We should also remember that this is a situation outside of everyone’s control and there is not much we can do about it.”
As for advice on how to cope with having to drastically alter your wedding, the key is to think ahead and take action. Zainab urges all brides who have weddings between now and June to postpone at least until August or September. “Plan ahead, work on back-up plans and make sure that you are aware of all your options.”
Meanwhile, Jardel pushes the importance of keeping positive. “Soon enough things will be back to normal. Take this time to plan and dream... after all, the big day is just around the corner.” For bride- to-be Alia, she plans to do just that – take her time and indulge in some much-deserved bridal-beauty methods.
“It’s more time for me to take care of my skin to be honest, and more time for my hair!” Alia still isn’t sure when her wedding will take place but the thought doesn’t seep uncertainty into her hopes. She leaves us with these kind, optimistic words for brides everywhere “With everything that’s late, there’s something better.”
Harper's Bazaar Arabia April 2020. Lead image shot by Greg Adamski.