A growing number of couples are considering canceling their wedding ceremonies and receptions amid the spread of coronavirus infections in Japan.
Couples are wavering between fears of causing COVID-19 infections among their guests and their wish to hold their weddings as planned after time-consuming preparations.
Affecting such couples, the government announced Tuesday a comprehensive basic policy to tackle the spread of the novel COVID-19 coronavirus, with organizers urged to refrain from holding events that bring large numbers of people together.
Inquiries about cancellations have sharply increased since around Feb. 22 at a hotel in Yokohama, where the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined.
“We hope the guests will attend the ceremonies if possible, as such events are supposed to create and strengthen human bonds,” an official at the hotel said.
At the same time, the official said, “We will take the best possible countermeasures but cannot guarantee that infections can be avoided in places where many people gather.”
A woman from Tokyo in her 30s said she and her partner have canceled their wedding ceremony and reception planned for April, paying a cancellation charge of some ¥1 million. “Life cannot be traded for anything,” she said.
“As my grandmother in her 80s and children were expected to attend, I thought I would regret it if anything happens,” the woman added. “I made the decision relatively early, as the cancellation charge increases in line with the approach of the wedding day.”
Meanwhile, a 28-year-old man from Tokyo decided against changing the schedule for a wedding banquet with his 27-year-old wife in March. “It’s impossible to postpone the banquet as the venue is fully booked for the next year,” he said.
Still, his wife said: “I’m still not sure what the right decision is. I feel depressed whenever new infection cases are reported.”
A 23-year-old woman in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, said that if they have to pay for a postponement, she and her partner will invite only their parents to their planned wedding ceremony in June. The couple is yet to send out the roughly 70 handmade invitation cards they have prepared.
A man in his 30s living in Tokyo held a wedding ceremony with his partner on Saturday, despite being urged by his parents to avoid taking risks. However, the man consulted the venue a week before the ceremony and was told he could face a cancellation fee equivalent to half of the ¥2.5 million total cost of the ceremony.
With support from his friends, he ultimately decided to carry on with the ceremony. Four of the five guests who did not turn up said they had been worried about virus infection.
“Happy days were bruised quickly, although that’s no one’s fault,” the man said. “It was good that those attending enjoyed the ceremony, but we just have to anxiously wait for the end of the two-week virus incubation period.”
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