Bride prepares to cancel her two £80,000 weddings in Italy as coronavirus continues to ravage the country


The bride has spent thousands on her big day (Picture: Aruna Seth/BegelARTUR)

Aruna Seth was meant to marry the love of her life, Thomas, in a civil ceremony yesterday.

But like many other brides, the high fashion footwear designer, had to cancel the event – and now it looks as if her luxury £80,000 wedding, due to take place with 200 guests in Lake Como this July, won’t be happening either.

The couple have planned a two-in-one event over three days, with both a European wedding and an Indian one to celebrate their individual heritages.

They had even hoped to get British artist Craig David to perform, but now it looks like they might have to ‘walk away’ (sorry, we had to) from their plans.

‘I was meant to have my civil ceremony yesterday – that didn’t happen,’ Aruna tells us.

‘And our wedding is planned for the third week of July this summer in Lake Como in Italy. I don’t know what the right thing is to do because there’s no way to predict how long the coronavirus crisis is going to last, or how people will feel after lockdowns are lifted.

‘I was speaking to my father earlier this week, who is in his mid-70s, and he asked me “what about all the older guests” (he wasn’t referring to himself, in his mind he’s still 40).

‘We have a lot of friends and family meant to fly in from the US and Asia, especially India, many of whom are older and might be reluctant to fly, even when the immediate danger is gone.

Aruna has several wedding dresses for the big day (Picture: Aruna Seth)

‘I spent so much time on planning the wedding these past six months, so by the time February came around, I didn’t have to stress – but now, if our wedding gets cancelled, it feels like wasted time.

‘Up until yesterday, when our civil ceremony was cancelled, I was feeling very positive. Because I work in the bridal industry, I’ve been very organised and calm about my own wedding but of course, when things get real, it can be frustrating.

‘But it was my fiancé’s birthday yesterday as well, so I was feeling a bit down and kept telling him “we should be getting married in two hours “– but he wasn’t really that bothered because in his mind, if it’s not now, it’ll happen next month.’

As for the wedding itself, it’s going to be an extravagant affair – the couple haven’t held back on the celebrations, with multiple events planned.

‘I’m half Indian, so we have planned a half European wedding and half Indian wedding over three days,’ the bride, who is in her mid-30s, adds.

‘First up is the white wedding, which will be held outside in a villa, and the following days will be a couple of Indian events like the mehndi – which is when you have the henna on the hands and the blessings. Then, in the evening, we will have an Indian reception called a sangeet; it’s super fun, it’s when family and friends do a dance at a Bollywood-type party.

‘We’re also going to have the baraat – it’s when the groom enters the wedding and he either comes in on an elephant or a white horse, and the whole of the wedding will dance on the street and it will go on for hours.

The footwear designer was meant to head to Italy for her final fitting this month (Picture: Aruna Seth)

‘There will be singing and dancing and lots of drums. I’m still trying to convince my fiancé to choose the elephant. ‘

One of the most important aspects of a wedding for many brides is the dress – Aruna has a few of them for different events – and was meant to head to Lake Como for her final fitting this month.

She says: ‘I have a few wedding dresses; one of which is being made in Lebanon and the other is a Suzanne Neville design.

‘My Indian wedding dress is being made in the traditional colours that the bride usually wears – red, gold and silver. 

‘I was meant to go to Lake Como for a fitting in April, which obviously isn’t happening, but at least I don’t have to worry about what shoes to wear, since I have my own bridal footwear line.

Since Aruna is a footwear designer, she has plenty of options to choose from (Picture: Ida Zander)

‘We haven’t booked the music yet, but I want a famous singer to perform, like Craig David – he’s amazing live and we’re in talks, so it might happen.

‘We’re also planning to get a boat and go on the lake.’

The couple have been together for over two years, and got engaged in August last year when Thomas popped the question in their kitchen.

Before meeting, they both had mutual friends, but were never set up as Aruna’s friends didn’t think it would be a good match.

They also, unknowlingly, lived just two streets away from each other.

As it happens, fate intervened. After continuously running into each other, they slowly became friends and eventually it became more than that.

Despite the looming possibility that the lovebirds will now have to postpone their dream wedding, Aruna is doing her best to stay positive.

‘I feel grateful, because know a lot of brides in the same situation who have already had to cancel their April and May weddings’ (Picture: BegelARTUR)

‘I’m still very optimistic and I feel safe in knowing that what is meant to happen, will happen,’ she says.

‘So far, we have spent around £70,000 to £80,000 on our wedding, but I’m really grateful as we will be able to get most of it back or reschedule.

‘I’m very lucky in the fact that my wedding planners, who are currently under lockdown in Italy, are super organised – they have already spoken to the hotels we had booked to roll over the rooms for another date if needed, and the airlines are giving us vouchers.

‘Chelsea and Westminster Council also said we can roll over the deposit for our civil wedding (a few hundred pounds) into next year, if we have to.

The bride is still optimistic (Picture: Aruna Seth)

‘I feel grateful, because know a lot of brides in the same situation who have already had to cancel their April and May weddings.

‘In the past few days, I’ve had quite a few people message me to ask if the wedding is cancelled, and thank goodness, I am a very chilled bride so I’ve just told them that I’ll be deciding in a few weeks and will let them know.

‘We have lots of other plans in place – like setting aside dates for September and October – but if we have to wait until next year, we will.

‘I want to decide by latest mid-April if we’re going to go ahead, potentially even making the call tomorrow.

‘But I feel calm – our wedding will happen when it happens.’

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