Weddings 'clouded by uncertainty and upset' over possible June 21 delay
- Credit: Mark Ewels
It's supposed to be the biggest day of someone's life, but wedding venues say the continued uncertainty over the proposed unlocking on June 21 is "hugely damaging" for brides and grooms.
Ministers always said June 21 was not set in stone — and could be affected by changes in the pandemic, including the emergence of new variants.
But many people — including the wedding and events industry — are desperate to see the return to normality.
Ian Evans, owner of Copdock Hall, said the uncertainty over whether 'Freedom Day' will go ahead is "creating anxiety" for both his independent business, and their bride and grooms.
"It's creating so much uncertainty and upset," he said.
"It's unfair to us, to the brides and grooms, and all the suppliers such as the DJs and the florists, as we just cannot plan ahead.
"Boris Johnson promised Freedom Day on June 21, so this is hugely disrupting."
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Set out in the roadmap by step four, which will take place no earlier than June 21, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.
This means nightclubs will be able to reopen and weddings can finally welcome unlimited numbers of guests.
But Mr Evans said it is "postponement upon postponement" for the wedding industry.
"We aren't talking about going to the beach, it's about planning for a huge event with hundreds of people," he explained.
"For a lot of people this is supposed to be the biggest day of their life, and it's just been clouded by uncertainty and upset."
Donna Stockley, wedding and events manager at Glemham Hall, said many couples saw June 21 as the "pivotal moment when things go back to normal".
She has a wedding booked for June 26, which has already reduced its guest list to 30 people over the uncertainty.
Meanwhile, a wedding scheduled for early July is "hanging on" for the next announcement — due to take place on Monday — in hope of being able to go ahead with its 80-person celebration.
She said: "It's really tough for these couples and the wedding planning journey has not been what it should be. It's not the normal excitement you expect in preparation for your wedding day.
"Lot's of couples feel like they are putting their life on hold. Last year people were happy to postpone, but now I feel like the tide is turning and couples are fed up with it.
"Also, as a business, we take losses from not having the bigger weddings so having smaller ones does have an impact."
She said the business has had to become "resilient" over the last year, always planning back up options if things don't go ahead as outlined.
"The uncertainty over the dates just creates more work, and it's exhausting," she said.
She also called for the guidance to come out quicker than last time, explaining that the industry was "left in limbo" for a week after being given the go ahead.
"It does feel like our industry is being deliberately left out in the cold, both for the couples and the wedding venues," she added.
Robert Jenrick said that the number of guests permitted at a wedding will be a topic addressed by Boris Johnson on June 14, when the Prime Minister is set to make a decision about step four of the road map.
The Communities Secretary told Sky News: “Weddings can go ahead right now, but with a maximum of 30 guests.
“I appreciate that that is very tough and I would like to see the number of people attending weddings increase.
“We are giving that careful thought – that will be one of the topics that the Prime Minister will address on June 14.
“So again, people who are looking forward to those weddings don’t have very long to wait for an answer.”