Wedding receptions banned under lockdown rules could return ‘within weeks’ as industry leaders prepare for with crunch talks with public health bosses next week while half a million jobs are at risk
- Return of post wedding parties could be imminent as lockdown begins easing
- Industry leaders are meeting with authorities next week to discuss the next step
- Wedding receptions could be allowed ‘within weeks’ according to industry
- Their revival could save 500,000 jobs and £300million for the sector
Wedding receptions worth £300million to the industry could be poised to return from lockdown ‘within weeks’.
The large-scale get togethers are currently prohibited under restrictions of the Coronavirus lockdown and have already seen 250,000 marriages put on ice.
It had put half a million jobs at risk but there is now a chink of light which could see a near return to the celebrations of old.
Next week meetings between the Association of British Wedding Businesses, Public Health England, the Health and Safety Executive and relevant Government departments will discuss when the big post ceremony parties could return.
Wedding receptions had been put on ice by the lockdown but could now be ‘weeks away’
Social distancing had meant large wedding parties had been prohibited under lockdown rules
It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to establish a roadmap to recovery for the sectors still shut down by the pandemic.
A wedding industry source told the MailOnline: ‘The entire sector is holding its breath for announcements next week.
‘Everyone is hoping it could pave the way for proper wedding receptions to be back within weeks.
“It would be a massive boost to the industry and save a lot of jobs and couple’s big days.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday he hoped to set out a roadmap for the return of mass-gatherings over the next few weeks and months
Hope for the future of the large-scale events was boosted after Mr Johnson was asked about areas that were still shut.
He said: ‘Mass gatherings are still prohibited; social distancing is still essential.
‘I want these restrictions to be lifted.
“We’ve established taskforces to work rapidly and closely with these sectors that remain closed, to explore how they can be Covid-secure.
Association of British Wedding Businesses venue committee chairman Duncan Clark (pictured with wife Nicky) said the signals were good for the sector and welcomed talks
The possibility of receptions being allowed to return was also welcomed by industry figures Stuart Owens (left) and Alex Rayner (right)
At a glance: What are the current rules for weddings in lockdown?
- Members of different households must maintain social distancing, so fathers cannot walk daughters arm-in-arm down the aisle
- Couples must wash their hands before and after exchanging rings
- Receptions are limited to two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors
- Up to 30 people are allowed at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, officiants and guests, and staff not employed by the venue
- No food or drink is allowed to be consumed ‘unless required for the purposes of solemnisation’
- There should be no singing during the service or use of instruments which have to be blown into
- Spoken responses should ‘not be in a raised voice’
- If a small child is involved, they should be held a parent, guardian or member of that child’s household
- Couples should consider using recordings instead of singing
- Organs music is allowed but they must be cleaned before and after
- Books, reusable and communal resources such as service sheets, prayer mats, or devotional material should be removed from use
“I’m pleased to report that good progress is being made.
“Next week, we will set out a timetable for their reopening.’
July and August are crucial months for many venues that have been strangled by lockdown.
Before the Covid-19 crisis an August weekend could host 10,000 weddings, with a million guests and £300million spent.
ABWB Venue Committee Chairman Duncan Clark said: “If we can get post wedding celebrations up and running to a signiﬁcant degree ASAP it would inject lifeblood into the industry and make dreams come true for thousands of couples.
‘Of course safety comes ﬁrst but we are delighted with the Prime Minister’s statement we will see a timeline of how things can restart by the end of the week. ‘We have been seeking this for many months.”
The pandemic saw some 250,000 weddings put on hold with half a million jobs at risk.
Easing of lockdown measures so far means services with 30 people can go ahead.
But it is hoped the clear timeline promised on how and when wedding celebrations can start again will reassure couples and protect venues from liquidation.
Stuart Owens, whose Artemis Venue Services Group has postponed more than 1200 weddings, said: “The wedding industry is in a desperate state but its full recovery is perfectly achievable.
This now gives fresh hope for couples over their once in a lifetime day, as well as a new conﬁdence for thousands of jobs the wedding industry provides.
CEO of events at Braxted park Alex Rayner – who has postponed 72 weddings since March – said: “We are are just incredibly eager to get going again and deliver to our couples and guests.
‘We believe celebrations can be held responsibly and wait for the government plans next week with baited breath, as do millions of other people across the country who were looking forward to weddings this summer.”