‘Bride and doom’: 12,500 weddings a week at risk if UK fails to fully reopen
PM expected to comment specifically on the topic in his address on Monday
Couples who have planned summer weddings will face “painful decisions and heartache” if the UK doesn’t fully reopen on 21 June. The so-called “freedom day” would see Covid restrictions lifted and weddings able to have more than the current limit of 28 guests, plus the happy couple.
However, if the government delays the full reopening, then 50,000 weddings planned in the month from 21 June would be at risk of cancellation, the Daily Mirror reports. On its front page today the tabloid has a headline of “bride and doom” as couples desperate to marry plead: “Let us have our day.”
£325m lost a week if restrictions aren’t lifted
In a post on social media the industry-led UK Weddings Taskforce laid out the weekly impact on the sector should the UK not fully reopen on freedom day. Up to 12,500 weddings a week could be cancelled while the industry would stand to lose revenues of £325m every seven days.
Sarah Haywood, of the UK Weddings Taskforce, told the Mirror: “Huge investment has been made in the ramp-up to full reopening on 21 June - the only date we have been given to work to. The loss is not just the £325m for each week’s delay to full reopening. It is the millions also lost on wages to prepare for 21 June, and the effect on cashflow.”
PM to make statement on weddings
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick says weddings will be one of the topics included in the prime minister’s address on Monday, when a decision will be made on whether to ease restrictions.
Speaking to Sky News this morning Jenrick said the government is giving “careful thought” on allowing the current limit of 30 guests to be raised. But he also warned couples not to make plans for large events until the PM has spoken on Monday.
#WhatAboutWeddings: a £14bn industry
In its 2019 UK Events Report, the Business Visits & Events Partnership (BVEP) revealed that the UK’s events industry generated a £70bn total value in direct spend and also provided 700,000 jobs that year. If you add in the lucrative weddings sector then the total value of direct spend of events is increased to £84bn.
In an open letter sent to Boris Johnson last month the #WhatAboutWeddings campaign called for “urgent” action. Since March 2020, “hundreds of thousands of couples have postponed their weddings and the 400,000 workers that support the £14.7bn wedding sector here in the UK have lost more than 85% of their income”, the letter said.
The campaign group found that 39% of suppliers fear going out of business within three months if they cannot reopen, the Mirror reports.
“For workers, it will mean the difference between survival and the loss of their business,” said #WhatAboutWeddings co-founder Tamryn Settle. “For couples, it will mean painful decisions, postponements and heartache.”