Weddings Canceled Due To Coronavirus Outbreak

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Photo courtesy of Lei Barron

Ryan Dias and Bailey Bright planned to have their big dream wedding in North Shore, Oahu, on May 23. They had to cancel their wedding due to the coronavirus outbreak. The venue, flowers, dresses, and every little detail was paid and now it was all for nothing, Bright said. Families and friends from all over the world like the Philippines, California, Guam, Louisiana, Japan, and Bali were planning on flying in. 

“Us and our families put a lot of money and time into making our dream wedding,” said Bright, the 21-year-old from Redding, Calif. “I’m disappointed and probably more sad than Ryan because I’ve been the one doing the planning and Ryan respects what I want and vision. This has just been a really difficult time for us and I can’t wrap my mind around this. We had family and friends flying in and booked their flights months in advance. It’s just mind blowing.” 

“I’m sad about all of this too but I understand this is hitting Bailey harder,” said Dias, a 24-year-old from Oahu. “Everything that was planned was what she wanted and it was her dream. We are trying to take this step-by-step with contacting people and canceling things and updating our family members and friends. It hasn’t been easy, and the safest decision we came up with is to elope in September.”

Every day has at least one new story about a couple having to cancel or postpone their wedding due to the coronavirus. The local wedding businesses are getting hit hard, according to KHON2, on March 19. Pushing through the disappointment, some couples have found a way to get their dream wedding while some won’t be getting married till next year.

Kiana Akela and Haweo Cadoc planned for their big dream summer wedding on May 24. Akela and Cadoc are both from Oahu. Due to the stay-at-home order they had to cancel their wedding at Kualoa Ranch. They plan to still get married on their set date, while Zooming with all their loved ones to watch.

“Of course we are sad we can’t have our in-person wedding,” said Haweo Cadoc, the 27-year-old from Oahu. “We just want our family and friends safe, even if that means canceling our wedding. Zooming with everyone will have to do. Hopefully when things start to die down and somewhat go back to normal, we’ll have our reception.”

With the wedding industry taking a hit, vendors are being forced to lay off or furlough employees to stay afloat. Hawaii has long been a prime destination for weddings with its idyllic weather, scenic landscapes and diverse cuisines. Photographers, catering companies and wedding planners are among the thousands of wedding vendors across the state. Financial strains have spring cancellation or pushed back to a later date because of mandated government orders in place to slow the spread, according to Honolulu Star-Advertiser, on April 30.

Lei Barron owns her own party planning company called Lei’s Planning. Barron started Lei’s Planning when she was 23 years old and has been open for six years. She opened her business to originally plan weddings. Ever since Barron was young, she loved seeing people happily in love and partying their hearts out for one special day. Barron also plans other types of parties like birthday parties, baby showers and gender reveals Before the outbreak she was planning five parties and now four are canceled, while one is being put on hold. One was a baby shower, and four were a wedding. 

Only one of the weddings Barron is in charge of is still in the works. She FaceTimes with the her clients and plans to have future meetings at her house. Business is slow at the moment, which is odd for Barron because this is the busiest season yet, she said. Summer weddings are popular here in Hawaii and summer luaus. Last year she planned 23 summer weddings and 13 luaus.

“Money is tight at the moment,” said Barron, a 29-year-old from Oahu. “I have an assistant, and I’m still paying her, but for the most part I do everything myself. I hire vendors and staff for the day of the parties but it’s not like I have them on payroll. So, so far I’ve been serving and I have been told by family and friends that they want me to plan their after social-distancing parties. I bet tons of parties are going to go down after this stay-at-home order.”

Brianna Selau is one of the many brides whose wedding might not happen. The stay-at-home order here in Hawaii has been extended till the ending of May. Selau and her wedding planner Barron have been planning her wedding for about a year and half now. Selau and her fiancé haven’t decided if they want to move the date to later or elope. June 3 is supposed to be Selau’s wedding date but at look of things it might not happen she said. 

“I’m not sure what we are going to do,” said Selau, the 25-year-old. “Our wedding is in June. If this stay-at-home order goes on any longer, we won’t be able to have our wedding on the beach. We have come such a long way with planning everything and now it’s all a waste. It’s honestly a depressing time for me.”