My last blog acknowledging Covid-19 was back in May. A lot has changed since then and things have begun returning to the 'new normal'. However, as an industry we are very much feeling left behind. Now we are in July, I am moving couples for a second time due to regulations regarding Coronavirus.
Love My Dress posted an eyeopening and truthful blog yesterday aimed at both suppliers and couples; I highly recommend giving a read here: https://www.lovemydress.net/blog/2020/07/what-about-weddings-roadmap-coronavirus-covid19.html.
An overview of the government guidelines:
From 4 July, weddings and civil partnerships will be allowed to take place. You should only invite close friends and family, up to a maximum of 30 people. The wedding exception is for wedding ceremonies only. Large wedding receptions or parties should of course not be taking place. Wedding celebrations can only happen when people follow the guidance of six people outdoors, support bubbles, or two households indoors or outdoors. It is critical for these guidelines to be observed to keep you and your family and friends as safe as possible. (Gov.uk)
As an industry we have had enough of being forgotten and written off as something ‘not important’ – as lavish and unnecessary. Weddings represent the very essence of everything that we are missing right now; joy, love, celebration, freedom, dancing, hugging, kissing, togetherness. And I don’t believe you should be forced to have the kind of day you don’t want, just because we’re allowed to ‘open’ as an industry.
I am not naive to the fact that more postponements will be coming if the guidelines don’t change. I have lost 75% of my work in 2020, which is a heartbreaking figure to see written down. I am running out of space in my 2021 diary, and next year is way over my normal capacity currently at 36 bookings; I only have winter months left! Yes, I have managed to move most weddings to new dates but in doing so, they have taken up the space of new potential weddings. This overall meaning a loss of business, quite a significant loss.
Personally I haven’t charged cancellation fees, postponement fees etc or even asked for any money upfront, because I do care about my clients. I have had some really kind and considerate couples pay instalments early which was massively appreciated and something I far from expected. I count myself lucky that I do have a support bubble and my business is stable and secure. However many wedding suppliers within the industry aren’t in such a good boat. Our financial support has been minimal and nowhere near to the extent of those on furlough. Many wedding suppliers have fallen into the 3 million people who represent #ForgottenLtd and #ExcludedUK.
Weddings are the most important, sentimental days of our lives. They have been planned with precision and a lot of effort involving multiple suppliers and businesses. So… it’s not as easy as just ‘changing the date’ and we really have to be sympathetic to that. We also have to understand that we can not just go back to normal. The infection rate is still too high and many of the people we invite to our weddings may be in the shielded or high risk group, such as our loved grandparents. We would never forgive ourselves if we put them at risk. However, the question I ask and something that infuriates me is that we are allowed to go to a restaurant or pub and sit amongst a lot of people we do not know yet we are not allowed to host even a meal after our ceremony. Nothing has been made clear and I am urging the government to do something about this soon.
The new regulations are now meaning we are all living in limbo again and couples who have already moved once are back with the same stressful situation. Many do not know what to do, they are struggling to fit in for 2021 as the industry is backlogged and many don't want to have to wait 2 years! None of us have the answers and it really isn’t fair. We are being undervalued & overlooked.
“Couples feel utterly lost and many feel they are facing impossible positions; do they choose to wait in hope, postpone with all the emotional stress that comes to that or cancel altogether? None of us should be in the position we’re in right now. And we have a right to be heard on this. Businesses are being let down and left out. Couples are being ignored or made to feel that their wish for ‘their day’ is somehow pointless. This is wrong on so many levels. To brush ‘weddings’ aside in this way is a fundamental misunderstanding of the culture, meaning and value of weddings and everything that surrounds them.”
This bit needs your attention.
Please kindly email your MP to tell them how this crisis has impacted your wedding plans.
And you can download an MP letter template here.
Find out who your local MP is here.
When writing to your MP, we encourage you to explain your story, explain your situation and explain the impact this is having on you. Keep it constructive – we’re not asking for instant and impractical changes after all. We don’t want to put you or anyone at risk and we don’t want to ask for the impossible. If you want to call out for support for the industry, please do (thank you). Explain that support for the industry is support for you too, and support for everyone else who’s waiting for their wedding.
As I have said above, this is a tough time for everyone. If I can help in any way I am here as a friend or someone to vent too.
Sending you all my love,
Laura Jayne is a professional photographer with a passion for showing people how beautiful they are.