Wedding businesses are increasingly worried about the future and bosses have warned the UK industry is on the verge of collapse if restrictions are not relaxed in June, after it was reported that Boris Johnson waited until 2022 to get married.
On Sunday, The Sun reported that the Prime Minister and his fiancee, Carrie Symonds, were waiting until July 2022 to get married to be safe, even though current restrictions in England on weddings, which limit attendees to 30 people, are due. be relaxed on June 21.
“What does this mean for my industry? Are we going to be stuck with 30 people all summer? People have taken this, rightly or wrongly, to mean that he is not confident enough to get married this year, ”said wedding planner Sarah Haywood of the UK Weddings Taskforce.
“I hope it’s just that he’s too busy this year. But you can see what that might look like for a couple who have been sitting with this uncertainty for months, some with multiple postponements. Was he supposed to get married this summer and this has been postponed? We do not know.
“I felt upbeat for this summer, but it definitely left some air,” said Sally Rawlins, an Essex-based wedding photographer. “It’s great for people getting married next year because you can guarantee Boris Johnson won’t have a 30-person wedding without a reception.
“But we’re not all going to make it next summer. I have two years of weddings in this summer, if people start to postpone and cancel, which they already have with this uncertainty, I cannot continue to take out loans to pay for things.
Haywood said the industry was frustrated that the couple’s wedding had generated so much interest at a tense time in the industry – the PM had promised to give 28 days’ notice for changes to marriage rules, but none announcement was made on Monday due to concerns. the India variant.
“Her marriage is now attracting more attention than the entire wedding industry has attracted. It shows how undervalued we are, how we are not taken seriously, ”she said.
Last week, a new All-Party Parliamentary Group on Marriage (APPG) convened for its inaugural meeting, after a year of unrest for the £ 14.7bn industry, decimated by the pandemic.
Siobhan Baillie, Tory MP for Stroud and chairman of the APPG, said wedding businesses had been frustrated by “inconsistent and confusing restrictions” throughout the pandemic.
More recently, step 3 of the roadmap now allows determining the number of funeral guests based on the size of the venue, while weddings are still limited to a maximum of 30 people regardless of the size of the venue. .
“I think there is really a lack of understanding about the professionalism of these companies, as well as the precision and organization of weddings,” she said. “We want to make sure we demonstrate to Public Health England that this is a Covid secured area. I just don’t think they could take much more delay. “
“I don’t know of a single wedding company that isn’t in debt,” said Jessie Westwood of the What About Weddings campaign group. “Most of us participate in some pretty massive events that take place from June 21st. July and August are absolutely reserved for most people. If the restrictions are not lifted in June, the industry will collapse, that simple. “
It is estimated that 800,000 weddings are expected to take place within 24 months of a full resumption of commercial activities for the industry, of which 475,000 are expected this year.
Westwood says a government-backed wedding insurance plan is needed for the industry if large-scale events are going to be affected in the future.
“If we don’t get any insurance and we don’t fully open up, I really think it’s going to be pretty bad for the industry,” she said.