Please sign this letter using the form below. We welcome signatures from wedding industry business owners, couples planning weddings, newlyweds and friends of the wedding industry.
Signature deadline: Midnight on Thursday 13th May.
Rt. Hon. Boris Johnson MP
10 Downing Street
14th May 2021
Dear Prime Minister,
On Monday 10th May, you made an address to the nation in which you outlined the further easing of restrictions in Step 3 of the roadmap. At the start of your speech, you mentioned the ‘efforts’ made by those waiting to get married and you were completely right to do so. Since March 2020, hundreds of thousands of couples right across the country have postponed their weddings and the 400,000 workers that support the £14.7bn wedding sector here in the UK have lost more than 85% of their income. We have all made ‘efforts’ and sacrifices over the last 14 months, but we continue to be forgotten and ignored, and weddings still face the highest level of restrictions despite the clear success of the vaccine and progress to date.
We, and all of the signatories to this letter, write today to call on an you for an urgent review of guidance for weddings in Step 3 from 17th May 2021, offering all couples and businesses parity with other sectors as a minimum requirement, and to ensure that all restrictions on weddings are fully removed on 21st June giving a clear unequivocal commitment to this as soon as possible.
Weddings are milestone events in life, with many couples’ plans having been delayed for a significant amount of time, and as such they should now be a priority in reopening.
We have written to you before on a number of occasions outlining the importance of the wedding sector, not just in economic terms but also for the societal and cultural impact that weddings have on communities across the country. We feel that our entreaties have fallen on deaf ears as, despite the planned lifting of restrictions announced this week, weddings are still as harshly restricted now as they were last summer, despite the success of the vaccine roll-out.
Comparable areas of hospitality and live events have higher numbers and fewer restrictions than weddings. We are now in the situation where a group of people can attend a Zumba class inside together but not dance at a wedding, where a father can hug his child outside their venue but not walk together down the aisle and where a one night stand after a boozy night in the pub is fine but wedding guests are still told to wear masks during a ceremony with friends and family.
For more than a year, we’ve been told that weddings have been restricted because of ‘hugging and kissing’. However this week, your government has been trumpeting the return of common sense with ‘responsible’ hugging and, crucially, your government’s own report categorically states that there is no increased risk of transmission of Covid-19 in hospitality settings or at private events.
There can be no justifiable reason why restrictions should remain – the vaccine programme continues apace and every other part of society is opening up. Significant life events must be prioritised to allow couples everywhere to move on with their lives after having compromised and made sacrifices for so long.
The wedding industry itself urgently needs restrictions to be removed as without hope of viable trade throughout the peak season Summer months, businesses will fail with jobs being lost in every constituency across the country. We remind you again that 400,000 workers rely on the wedding industry and another year without full trade will mean an entire industry, predominantly employing women in both urban and rural areas, will face immediate collapse. After suffering three restrictive lockdowns, our sector is in peril. Restrictions post-21st June will be catastrophic.
Over the last year, the number of marriages taking place has plummeted and the institution that is the cornerstone of so many communities throughout Britain has been lost. The situation is heartbreaking, and the impact on the economy runs well beyond the loss of direct industry contributions through jobs, taxes and VAT. The birth rate has fallen to an all time low in England and Wales during the pandemic, with couples delaying family plans, which is a significant cause for concern with the medium-term recovery of the economy. There are delays to married couples buying their first homes and indirect spend on associated sectors sees losses across retail, tourism, travel, hospitality and the small local businesses like taxi firms, dry cleaners and gift shops who rely on weddings every year.
The restrictions on weddings impact lives and livelihoods.
The Conservative party has traditionally been one that has had pride in supporting small businesses, and the creation of jobs, wealth and opportunity. It is a party that traditionally claims to support a strong society, where families and communities create secure foundations on which people can build their lives. The failure to support and give fair treatment to the wedding industry is a failure to commit to your own proposed aims and values.
Prime Minister, you have, on numerous occasions, referred to ‘a Great British Summer’ so we once again call on you to commit to immediate parity, and the removal of all restrictions on weddings after 21st June to let us all play our part in delivering exactly that.
Annabel Beeforth, Tamryn Settle & Jessie Westwood – What About Weddings
Plus all those signed below, representing couples and businesses across every constituency in the UK and friends of the UK wedding industry.