MANILA -- Wedding planner, event organizer and event stylist Marinel Pascion is usually busy the whole year round.
With her company Wedding Bitz PH and Funbox Events, she specializes on weddings and also handles other events that entail careful planning and painstaking preparations.
Pascion works in tandem with photographer JM Ferrer of Kreativ Images Photography and Films, who documents every important event.
But with the lockdown brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, their companies had several events cancelled from their normally loaded calendar. Starting in mid-March until May, Wedding Bitz PH and Funbox Events was supposed to work on seven weddings, two debuts and 16 children parties.
“On the negative side, talagang naapektuhan siyempre ang income ng company,” Pascion rued. “And how to reschedule every event is our concern, lalo na hindi pa natin alam when this pandemic will end.
“On the positive side, this experience taught us how to handle the situation, because nobody saw this coming. What if this thing happens again? It will enable us to plan strategically. And for the couples, they will have more time planning their wedding.”
Naturally, the couples and the birthday celebrators had no choice but to move or cancel their events. “They communicated with us through e-mail, Messenger and phone calls,” Pascion said. “All of them were forced to good to do the cancellation and re-scheduling.”
Before this, hardly any wedding events had to re-scheduled or postponed, according to Pascion. “Unless it is an emergency talaga, but mostly, acts of God ang reason why nagkakaroon ng postponement and rescheduling. Like if there was a typhoon or maybe there was an earthquake. But that’s rare.”
Pascion attested it is indeed difficult to find a date for the new schedules of the events cancelled in this lockdown. “We still do not know when this ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) will be lifted and if our clients have the guts to hold mass gatherings after this pandemic.”
Since a wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime event, especially for the bride, Pascion understands that the change of date can be heartbreaking for the couple. After all the preparations, Pascion always considers the cancellation as a “blessing in disguise” for his clients.
“I am always telling them that it is okay to move the wedding date, so they can have better preparation for the big event.” Pascion said. “That may be easier than done for our clients, but we support them in the best way we know how.”
Finding other streams of revenue is hard if you are in the events planning and organizing industry, said Pascion. “What we can do is to support the client or the tell the people to save the event for another date. It is impossible on our part because all our events require mass gatherings. Paranoid na ang mga tao sa mass gathering lately.”
Ferrer, who has photographed a number of successful celebrities, including Lani Misalucha, Morisette Amon and Shiela Valderrama-Martinez, to name a few, has resorted into baking and selling cakes and pastries. He also earns from fruit crops, like bananas and cassava, which are always available in San Pablo City, Laguna.
Pascion insisted that saving for the rainy day is still the safest way to get by in difficult times like this pandemic and perhaps to cushion the impact of COVID-19.
“Save, save, save. That’s the only solution. Personally, I’m the type who will always prioritize needs versus wants. That’s why I am able to save more. But maybe, if I ended up with a barangay that was locked down, I will resort to online selling,” she said.
Still, Pascion looks at the brighter side of the hard lessons everyone learned from this lockdown period. “Stay healthy. Love your family. Be thankful and praise God always. This, too, shall pass. After the rain comes the rainbow. That’s something to be hopeful for.”