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Japan resort hotel proposes 'two-person' weddings for couples coping with coronavirus

A church that stands next to Karuizawa Hotel Bleston Court is seen in the town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, on June 23, 2020. (Mainichi/Mari Sakane)
A party room, which can be used for marriage ceremonies including those offered in the "two-people" wedding plan, is seen at Karuizawa Hotel Bleston Court in the town of Karuizawa, Nagano Prefecture, on June 23, 2020. A window connecting the room to the terrace can be opened to avoid the space becoming closed. (Mainichi/Mari Sakane)

KARUIZAWA, Nagano -- With quite a few couples forced to postpone or cancel weddings due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, an accommodation facility in this central Japan resort town has begun proposing couple-only wedding plans.

In the "two-person" weddings offer, a recently married couple would hold the ceremony without other people attending -- a new form of the event in an age where people have to live "with corona." Some couples are also planning to hold wedding receptions or parties to invite their relatives and friends to after the pandemic ends.

Hoshino Resorts Inc.'s Karuizawa Hotel Bleston Court made the proposal based on opinions from couples who wish to hold their marriage ceremony during the coronavirus crisis. Among the messages they received were, "We would like to hold a wedding on a special day for the two of us," and, "We don't want to move the date, as we'd like to build our home and try to conceive after holding the wedding."

The facility has received many inquiries not only from people in Nagano Prefecture but also in the greater Tokyo area and Tokai region, and says the offer is gaining popularity.

Hotel owner Yasuhiro Watanabe commented, "As it has become hard to travel abroad, it's getting difficult to hold marriage ceremonies overseas, as is throwing one where many guests are invited. Karuizawa is near the greater Tokyo area, and it's an open area where it's less likely to become crowded. As a hotel in Karuizawa, we wanted to support (troubled couples)."

Since March, there has been a spate of cancellations from customers set to hold weddings at the hotel. But many have also voiced their desire to still hold a wedding ceremony, and more couples chose to postpone their weddings rather than canceling them, the hotel says.

Watanabe explained, "Precisely because of the coronavirus, an increasing number of people have come to feel they want to cherish their emotional connection with others. It is our hotel's mission to properly continue providing wedding ceremonies tailored for newlyweds with a basis in safety and security."

Mynavi Wedding, a marriage information website, is investigating what kind of efforts couples and wedding planners have been making to hold marriage ceremonies during the novel coronavirus pandemic. The results are scheduled to be announced in November.

Using the hashtag "Kufu-kon" (ingenious weddings) on social media, from June 22 Mynavi Wedding also started collecting ideas on how to avoid the "three Cs" of confined spaces, crowded places and close contact with other people. It aims to relieve the anxiety of couples troubled over how to hold a wedding under the current circumstances, and to use the ideas as hints for thinking about a new style of marriage ceremonies.s

The posts will be collected until Oct. 31. For further information, please go to the official website at https://wedding.mynavi.jp/contents/special_contents/coronaidea/ (in Japanese).

(Japanese original by Mari Sakane, Nagano Bureau)

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