‘Overheads are rising and my phone is down’ – wedding venues worried about Welsh government’s new Covid rules

It was a huge relief for the couples eager to get married over the Christmas holidays.

When Prime Minister Mark Drakeford this week announced new Covid restrictions for hospitality, an exception was made for weddings and other ‘life events’.

While numbers are limited in pubs and clubs with the return of the ‘rule of six’, events such as weddings, civil partnerships, funerals and vigils can still take place – but only with strict distancing. social and carefully managed numbers.

READ MORE:‘We demand answers’ – pubs and restaurants respond to return of rule of six in Wales

However, the number of participants must be managed by the venue, which must prove the figure to the local authority, which in turn is verified by a risk assessment.

And that means additional challenges for an industry still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.

Pencoed House Estate has erected a marquee to accommodate all guests – but admits it’s not ideal

Jamie Williams, Managing Director of Pencoed House Estate, said: “Even though wedding venues are exempt from the 30 inside and 50 outside rule, we still need to do a risk assessment to see how many. social distancing we can have in place within reason.

“It means they really sent the buck. They can’t afford to shut us down because of the support needed, but they have to be seen to be doing something.

“It means a lot of extra work for couples and their guests. We can now only have six on a table, which could have had ten or more, due to social distancing. But if people mean 80 guests , it means that we have to put some of them in an adjacent marquee, which is not ideal.

“Some couples reduce the number of guests accordingly, which, while this may save them money, also means that they have the inconvenience of telling some guests that they have invited that they don’t. can’t come now after all.

“It also means that the cost to us is increasing but the per capita expenditure is decreasing; there are more flower arrangements for example, and we can’t do normal bar service but table service instead, which means we need to have more staff.

“The overheads are going up and taking a lot more management. Having said that, we have already done that, we still have the screens, the staff are all trained, but we are getting a lot of questions. My phone is down, not just couples themselves, but guests who want to know if they can attend and what the rules are.

“My personal advice would be if you are vulnerable and you are not 100% sure, it might be fair to decline an invitation.

“But we encourage couples to move on. In May, we were limited to 15 doors and there was no food or drink, so it’s better than back then.

“It was tough for the couples. They were waiting for the announcement to see if their wedding could go ahead, and for some of them it’s their second or third date because they had to postpone their previous ones. It must be very stressful and there are tears.

Oldwalls on Gower is a very popular wedding venue

Oldwalls Business Director on Gower Shakira Obaid said: “We were relieved the weddings were happening and the wedding industry was finally recognized.

“We have spoken to all the couples to let them know that their weddings can still take place.

“We have had anxious couples calling us but we were able to reassure them. We are just relieved to be able to continue and this is a positive end to the year.

“We’re used to it now; work with health and safety officers and work with couples to mitigate risk.

“Some of our clients are on their second or third wedding date and have been on the run all week [waiting for the Welsh Government announcement] so it is a relief for them that they can still move forward.

“We worked with health and safety consultants to determine what the latest restrictions mean for us as a location and how we can minimize the impact on our couples. There will be trade-offs, but ultimately, l number one goal couples taking their Christmas wishes can move forward.

Plas Dinam hopes restrictions will be relaxed by spring

Eldrydd Lamp, owner of Plan Dinam in the Powys, said: “My main take on the latest rules is that it really undermines consumer confidence in Wales.

“Most of our couples come from far away and now when they are looking to get married they will think Wales is riskier for them because it has stricter rules.

“So people will start to think that we won’t be booking a holiday in Wales, we are not going to book our wedding in Wales because the rules are stricter.

“It affects our business because we don’t have the same rules as in England.

“We don’t have a Christmas wedding in January, but I can’t even begin to imagine what it will be like for us if these rules are still in place when we restart.

“It was so hard going through this last time around and we still have scars from it.”

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