The UK Weddings Taskforce has received confirmation from senior Government sources that weddings cannot take place, in all but a small number of venues, between April 12 and May 17 with 15 guests, in contradiction to what was stated in the Prime Minister’s roadmap announced in February.
The Taskforce has been informed that from April 12, weddings and receptions will only be permitted in places of worship, public buildings and outdoor settings that are already permitted to open – which does not include the large majority of the UK’s licensed wedding venues.
It is estimated that 7,000 weddings are affected and will have to be postponed or cancelled if the Government refuses to honour the reasonable assumptions made by couples, businesses and wedding sector workers.
The Taskforce has been seeking clarity over inconsistencies between the roadmap announcements, accompanying Government-produced graphics, the ‘COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021’ published February 22, and the ‘Reopening businesses and venues in England’ published February 24 by the Cabinet Office.
Three weeks after the Prime Minister’s announcement, the wedding sector still awaits the publication of the official guidance on the resumption of weddings which has not been forthcoming despite repeated requests.
Spokesperson for the Taskforce Sarah Haywood said the group discovered the information by ‘analysing the small print and repeating seeking clarity’.
She says: “The roadmap indicated weddings and receptions could resume on 12th April. We have now discovered, not by being offered the information but by analysing the small print and repeatedly seeking clarity, that this is not the case.
“The £14.7bn wedding sector can reasonably expect Government’s own messaging to be clear and unambiguous. It is neither, and after a year of uncertainty for businesses, their employees and over half a million people whose weddings have been on hold, this is yet another major blow. It will cost the industry – already on its knees – millions of pounds, lead to the loss of more jobs and leave an estimated 7,000 couples without a wedding.
“The reality facing the sector is that a couple could technically get married in a zoo, but not in a Covid-safe, purpose-built wedding venue.”
In an average year approximately 23,000 weddings take place between April 12 and May 17 (Step 2 in the Government’s Roadmap for easing restrictions in 2021).
Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictions placed on the industry, it’s been estimated that around a third of this number are still planning to go ahead.