I have to admit that I have not thought much about weddings during the coronavirus pandemic.
However, Claire Potts of Claire’s Sweet Temptations near Bude has thought hard about it and is helping to raise awareness of the problems caused to the industry not only by coronavirus but by confused government responses to it. This bank holiday has been used to highlight the plight of the wedding industry.
She makes wedding cakes, and her instagram tells a story we should all be more aware of. She explains that to get a government grant, people had to be renting business premises, but many in the wedding business work from home and have had no help at all.
Many dedicated wedding venues are not hotels so they get no help either.
Government guidance has been confusing. “They pulled the plug on weddings on the Friday lunchtime before they’d said they could start again on the Saturday. Its a nightmare trying to plan anything.”
Many weddings have been postponed until 2021. Siobhan Craven Robins is a wedding planner. She writes:
“Weddings take planning lots of planning, and lots of time. They are integral to our culture and are a celebration like no other. Figures show that around 100k couples have postponed or cancelled their weddings so far this year. The disruption to lives and the accompanying disappointment is immeasurable. The wedding sector is a huge contributor to our economy (around £10.5 billion a year) and yet here we are, 5 months into this pandemic with no road map and no help”.
Love My Dress puts the rect send on weddings annually at “£14.7 billion which means that weddings contribute more to the economy that live sports events.” On 15th August, the government enabled weddings for up to 30 people (with just a day’s notice):
This guidance supersedes previous guidance. From 15 August 2020 receptions and other celebrations for weddings and civil partnerships can take place, but only in a COVID-19 secure environment/venue. Such events should not take place in people’s private homes (or adjoining outdoor spaces like gardens), given that these will not have the same COVID-19 Secure measures in place. Capacity at a wedding or civil partnership reception or celebration (including the couple, guests and third-party suppliers, but not venue staff or third-party catering staff) should be limited to a number that can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue, and should be no more than 30. We will re-assess guidance in relation to larger wedding receptions in line with the development of the scientific advice.
Basically, the lack of clear and consistent guidance is causing misery for all involved in the wedding industry, but also for those trying to plan a wedding. Additionally, many companies are refusing to refund for cancellations (understandably – as previously with the holiday lettings industry – but this doesn’t help the people getting wed).
Citizens Advice says:
The government says you can’t have more than 30 people at your wedding or civil partnership registration, and at any reception or party.
If you want, you might be able to rearrange your wedding or civil partnership registration for a new date. Contact all of the services you’ve booked to check what they can do.
If you’ve got insurance for your wedding or civil partnership registration, check the terms and conditions to see what’s covered.
If you want to cancel something and your contract shows you’ll be charged a cancellation fee or you’ll lose your deposit, it might not be fair. Check the government guidance on wedding and event contracts on GOV.UK.