KKR Hotel Kanazawa provides equipment that guests can use to take group photos themselves. (Courtesy photo of KKR Hotel Kanazawa)
KANAZAWA – Hotels and other wedding venues in central Japan’s Hokuriku region are evolving to adapt to the coronavirus as many couples postponed their big celebration due to the pandemic.
Numerous couples who had wedding ceremonies planned have been affected by the spread of COVID-19. According to a survey by popular Japanese wedding magazine Zexy, around 80% of the ceremonies scheduled in the Hokuriku area for April and May last year had to be postponed when a nationwide state of emergency was declared.
The survey was conducted at 43 wedding venues in three prefectures in the Hokuriku region. While the number of postponed or canceled ceremonies has decreased since last summer, the venues are offering creative wedding plans such as live streaming ceremonies for those who cannot attend, according to Zexy’s publisher Recruit Marketing Partners Co., based in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward.
Taisuke Akasaka, 29, and his wife Tsugumi, 29, from Tsubata, Ishikawa Prefecture, decided on their wedding date in the fall of 2019. As the coronavirus spread around the world, the couple wavered between the planned holding of the ceremony and the cancellation of the ceremony. taking into account the cancellation fees.
Thorough measures were taken to prevent infection at their ceremony in November 2020 at the KKR Hotel Kanazawa in Kanazawa City. In addition to disinfecting their hands multiple times, guests also put the business cards attached to the invitations in a box at the venue instead of having them sign a guest book at the wedding registration table so the guests don’t come into contact with each other as much as possible. The actual number of guests, including family members and friends, has been cut in half from the originally planned 100 to almost only those who live in the prefecture. Although the format for the ceremony was different than originally planned, the couple said they were satisfied and that there was a time when they almost gave up in despair, but they are really glad they held the ceremony.
Guests at Taisuke and Tsugumi Akasaka’s wedding ceremony are taking steps to prevent coronavirus infections such as wearing masks. (Photo courtesy of the Akasakas)
The hotel has stepped up coronavirus countermeasures after being severely impacted by the cancellation and postponement of all 15 wedding ceremonies scheduled for April and May 2020 and other factors. Since then, the reception rooms have been enlarged and signs have been put up asking guests not to pour drinks for people at other tables. The hotel has also prepared devices for newlyweds and guests to take group photos themselves and encourages people to use the devices instead of letting hotel staff take pictures with guests’ cameras and smartphones.
Meanwhile, the eloquent Japanese-style Shogetsu restaurant in Toyama City has created a “home wedding” plan that is basically the same as the restaurant ceremony but takes place in the newlyweds’ home. The restaurant representative says there is no difference between the ceremonies at their venue and at home. “We want to help those who have almost given up on wedding ceremonies amid the coronavirus pandemic,” they commented.
Yasuhiro Tatsushima, Bridal Manager at KKR Hotel Kanazawa, pointed out that the purpose and nature of ceremonies never change over time. He said, “We can offer all sorts of options. We hope people will come to us anytime for advice so that we can inspire them.”
(Japanese original from Chinatsu Ide, Hokuriku General Bureau)