Wedding plans derailed because of Covid-19

FOR brides-to-be Ana Marie Java and Mary June Villasawa, the Covid-19 pandemic had a way of ruining their wedding plans this year.

Java, 30, was supposed to marry her partner of six years, Joshua Librea, 29, at the St. Therese of Child Jesus Parish in Barangay Lahug, Cebu City last May 16, 2020.

But due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, their wedding plans have been postponed, forcing them to wait until the situation normalizes before they could proceed.

Though they heard about the disease early in January, Java and her fiance never thought its effects could be this big.

"It was hard. We had been waiting for our special day to come, and we didn't want to give up on the date that we'd booked originally," Java added.

Villasawa, 27, and her fiance, Rommel Vincent Enriquez, wanted to marry last May 28, but the pandemic ruined their plans.

Villasawa admitted that due to the delays, she became depressed for a few days.

But she realized that the most important thing is to survive, especially since her fiance is working as a nurse at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City.

Java, Villasawa and their soon-to-be spouses were just two of the many couples whose wedding plans were hampered because of the Covid-19 crisis.

In Cebu City, only 982 marriage license applications were received from January to May 2020 by the City's Local Registrar, only half compared to the number of applicants for the same period last year.

Cebu City Civil Registrar Office (CRO) head Evangeline Abatayo said she received 1,720 marriage license applications in January to May last year.

For the month of June, the CRO has received only nine marriage registrations, compared to 235 marriage registrations in June 2019.

Abatayo attributed the low number of applicants for marriage licenses to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

“It is expected that registrations would lessen because for one, weddings in churches and courts were suspended,” Abatayo told SunStar Cebu.

She added there was no issuance of marriage licenses, a vital requirement for a valid marriage, when the city was placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 28 to May 31.

In Mandaue City, the Local Civil Registrar also recorded only 290 couples applying for marriage licenses from January to May this year.

Liza Guido, administration officer of the Mandaue City Civil Registrar's Office, said in the same period last year, around 398 marriages were registered.

Guido said when the ECQ was implemented in Mandaue City last May, they received no registrations for marriage.

The number of couples who registered for marriage in Mandaue City decreased starting in February this year.

Though January this year registered around 136 couples who wanted to get married, the number of couples who wanted to register during the following months decreased drastically with February having 68 registrations, March with 60, April with 26 and zero for May.

When the city's quarantine status was downgraded to general community quarantine, five couples immediately registered for a marriage license before the City, Guido added.

Wedding planners in Cebu admitted that they have greatly suffered since the implementation of quarantine policies last March.

In an earlier report, Cebu Wedding Suppliers spokesperson Joan Lapus said around 2,000 events, including weddings, were postponed since last March, resulting in a lot of wedding planners, florists, technical people, photographers and other people involved in the wedding industry losing their income.

Lapus said some wedding planners have shifted to food delivery and other services so they could continue paying the rent of their shops.

For Java and Villasawa, changing their wedding plans had to be done.

Java, for her part, said with the new guidelines on mass gatherings in the new normal, they would be willing to follow the church and the government's instructions of limiting the number of attendees.

As for Villasawa, she hopes to push through with her wedding with the downgrading of Cebu's community quarantine status.

"Covid-19 should not stop us from doing the thing that we believe could please the Lord—marriage, a divine unity," Villasawa added. (WBS, JJL, KFD)