Before I start, this is in no way meant to be a sob story, nor is the intention to make anyone feel guilty. I have been involved within the wedding industry one way or another, for over 20 years now and my intention is to show just how great the Wedding Industry is and how we are affected by Covid-19 restrictions.
How has the wedding industry been affected ?
Quite simply, the wedding industry is one of the worst affected industries – we are literally one of the first to close and last to open. Even before ‘lockdown’ was announced many bookings had already been postponed and enquiries for future weddings virtually came to a standstill. Within 4 days I personally lost over a months worth of bookings.
But Weddings are postponing so everything will be ok ?
Yes and no.
There has been a lot in the media etc trying to encourage couples to seek a refund of any monies paid. This would simply result in their being NO wedding industry at all in the future as very few businesses would be able to cope with this. Thankfully the sensible option of simply postponing wedding dates has been favourable for most couples.
Postponing dates has given a lifeline to businesses in the wedding industry BUT it still means we have lost a lot of work. Most weddings occur on a Friday and Saturday (104 days a year), and for most suppliers they run at full capacity most of the year. Whilst postponing means 2021 looks busy, it will in no way make up for losses in 2020. Added to this a lot of businesses have to ensure they stay below the VAT threshold level – which is a completely different topic.
So, couples postponing dates has been a lifeline, but we still have huge losses.
It is only for a few months though !
For most businesses it has been 3 months, or less, disruption, but for the wedding industry it is so much longer. On top of this we have lost the months of July and August which can account for 60% or more of wedding bookings for the year.
But the government has given grants etc to help
Yes, they have, however again a lot in the wedding industry have fallen through the cracks, with many not receiving a penny of help whatsoever.
Most wedding businesses are mobile, work from home and use storage facilities rather than premises such as retail units. This meant the initial government grant did not apply.
The main help for Wedding Businesses has come from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), however even then, most running as a Limited Company, or newly started businesses did not qualify. Even those who do qualify had to wait 3 months for any payment to come through.
The SEISS payment covers 80% (or 70% for the second payment) of income, however this does nothing to help with business running costs – vehicles, storage, stock, insurances etc which we have to pay still.
We never realised things were that tough
I did mention at the beginning about how great the wedding industry is and I think it is fair to say when most couples have contacted suppliers, they have been met with sympathy but also a cheery, helpful reply. This to me is one of the things I love about the industry – how people try their hardest to help no matter what is happening.
So, is the Wedding Industry under threat of collapsing ?
From what I can gather, there will be (and already is) casualties – but on the whole we will survive. It will be tough but I am sure most will pull through this.
It is quite surprising when we hear about the tens of thousands of people losing their jobs and large companies who have gone into administration. Yes, these are totally different to most wedding businesses BUT they have advisors, accountants, solicitors to help. Most wedding businesses are ran by people who do ‘everything’ themselves and I think it is safe to say, for most they are not great business people but rather passionate in what they do.
What can people do to help ?
Not a lot really. Just be aware if you do speak to a supplier and they seem a little grumpy, it is likely because they are under a lot of pressure. Do not forget the person you speak to or email is a real person, who (most of the time) will do whatever they can to help, even if it does come at an expense they can’t really afford.
Support your suppliers by liking their social media posts, sharing them and also leave a review after your Wedding is the TOP thing you can do to help. Best of all it costs you nothing and takes seconds to do. A review really does make a HUGE difference and we cannot emphasise this enough !
As mentioned earlier, this isn’t meant to be a sob story, however with the wedding industry having so many magnificent suppliers, often you do not know what is going on behind the scenes and the obstacles they face.
Overall though, Wedding Suppliers are still there to support YOU and give YOU the day you have dreamed of !
Written by The Ultimate Wedding DJ on Friday 3rd July 2020