Asian Wedding Businesses Left Behind During Pandemic & Call on Government To Recognise The Cultural Significance of Weddings

117 Asian wedding businesses have written to Minister Paul Scully calling on him to recognise the cultural and religious importance of weddings. These businesses are also calling on the Government to ensure the long-term viability of the sector by providing urgent clarity on when weddings can resume and urging him to give the sector immediate financial support.

The UK wedding industry is worth an average £14.7 billion to the UK economy each year, employing 60,000 businesses and 400,000 workers, with £5 billion of this figure coming from the Asian wedding sector. However, the Government has for too long overlooked the economic, cultural and societal significance of the Asian wedding industry.

The Asian wedding sector is a significant employer in local communities, especially in the north west regions, which is a particular area of focus for the Government’s levelling up agenda. Yet, thousands of jobs are at risk as the Government has failed to provide the industry with clarity about when weddings can restart, with full socially distanced capacity as a minimum. Asian weddings normally cater to around 400 – 500 guests and therefore an arbitrary cap on numbers of 15, 30 or 50 guests, will simply not be financially viable for many wedding businesses.

For many in the Asian community, weddings are more than just parties. There is a societal and cultural element to many Asian weddings, as they are often observed as rites of passages and carry significant religious importance. They are typically over the course of five days and involve culturally important pre-wedding events from Mendhi Night to Ladies Sangeet. Couples who may be unable to live together until married must be able to plan-ahead and celebrate in the way they choose too.

As liquidations loom for those in the Asian wedding business, mental health and social stigma is resulting in a precarious position for numerous business owners. It is seen as a stain or blot on their lives after generations of success in the industry.

Ash, from Guardian Occasions Catering in Birmingham, explains:

“Operating within the Asian/Indian wedding industry, physically and mentally we are ready to cater for 500 guests and more, the past year we have had to support couples and their families to adjust mindsets and reimagine their dream weddings within the confines of the industry’s ‘new normal’. This has been challenging, especially when the government has overlooked the wedding industry, we’re expecting the government’s post-lockdown roadmap will offer clarity and guidance.” 

Similarly, Neal Khanna, Director of The Clay Oven Group says:

“As an industry we understand the importance of fighting this pandemic, the social distancing measures that need to be adopted and mitigate the spread of the virus, but we feel we should have parity with restaurants and others within Hospitality. If restaurants can operate at 50% capacity and follow their risk assessments and social distancing measures, there is no reason why we can’t do the same for a wedding. In some ways this would be a much easier exercise, and rapid testing could be organised. We should not be penalized for organising larger events, if a restaurant can have 150 guests because it has the capacity, and can manage with restrictions in place, why can’t we?”

In addition, with virtually no income from the past year, many businesses are on the brink of collapse. The sector is calling on the Chancellor to provide wedding businesses with tailored financial support, to give them a vitally needed cash injection until weddings can operate at full capacity. The Weddings Taskforce has identified that cash grants of up to £10,000 would support up to 38,000 wedding businesses but only until 1st April.

This letter comes following a similar letter to the Prime Minister earlier this week in which over 24,000 wedding businesses urged him to include the industry in the lockdown easing plan and to provide their sector with much needed financial assistance.

______________________

Letter to Mr Paul Scully on behalf of Asian Wedding Businesses

 

Mr Paul Scully
Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Minister,
1 Victoria Street,
London,
SW1H 0ET

19 February 2021

Dear Minister,

Impact of Wedding Industry Closure on Asian Communities and Businesses We are writing to you as a group of businesses and individuals working in the wedding industry from across the UK’s Asian community. We are urgently seeking clarity as to when weddings will be able to properly reopen again and are appealing to you for immediate financial support as our livelihoods are being destroyed by the current restrictions placed on
the sector.

There are 60,000 businesses and 400,000 workers relying on the wedding sector and it is worth an average of £14.7 billion to the UK economy each year. A significant amount of this contribution, as you may know, comes from our communities circa £5 billion, representing just over a third of the total. Despite our importance to the UK economy and the regional employment we provide, particularly in areas of the UK where the Government’s levelling up agenda is focused, our businesses are now on the brink of collapse. Our businesses are  volume based, our models and pricing are created in a manner which means if we are only permitted to host events of arbitrary numbers of 15, 30 or 50 guests, we will not be able to viably sustain our businesses, overheads and staff.

We require clarity about when weddings can restart, at full socially distanced capacity as a minimum, in venues, marquees, structures and other outdoor settings. On average, Asian weddings cater to 400-500 guests and we feel strongly that larger venues should not be penalised, if we have the ability to incorporate social distancing capacity. Like restaurants, we would expect for venues to follow protocol and we fully recognise that a 500 capacity venue cannot be treated in a similar manner to one which hosts 100 seats.

From a societal and cultural perspective, we are in an unsustainable position. Whilst we are not the only culture to suffer, without support for the sector, there will be fewer marriages and an institution that is the cornerstone for so many communities throughout Britain will be lost. The situation is heart-breaking. This is further compounded by the loss of religious and cultural celebrations that could not take place last year, such as Diwali, Eid and Vaisakhi, which we feel were largely ignored in comparison to the Government’s determination over
Christmas celebrations.

We desperately need sector specificity in the upcoming Government announcement on 22nd February. We need weddings to restart at full capacity with social distancing as a minimum in order to start trading profitably and to carry on our cultural celebrations that are held in the highest regard within our communities.

In addition, tailored financial support for the sector is urgently needed. We appreciate that the Weddings Taskforce has already identified cash grants of up to £10,000 which would support the sector, but this will only do so until 1st April. Please note inclusion in the reduced VAT rate and business rates relief is now absolutely critical.

We are calling on the Government to provide immediate sector support and a clear plan for reopening. This small request will ensure tens of thousands of viable wedding businesses will survive, hundreds of thousands of jobs will be saved and our communities will be able hold the wedding celebrations in the way that best represents their cultures and traditions.

Yours sincerely,

 

  1. 1SW Events
  2. 3 Kings Banqueting
  3. AKS
  4. Al Bilal
  5. Al Hamza Banqueting
  6. Al Maida
  7. Al-Mirage
  8. Ananya Cards
  9. Apna Khana Catering
  10. Aria & Egan Suite
  11. Ariana Banqueting
  12. Asiaburrillweddings
  13. AVH
  14. Badsham
  15. Banqueting Suite
  16. Bharat Gangaram Catering
  17. Bhavna Barratt
  18. Bia Lounge
  19. Bolton Excellency
  20. Brijwasi Events – Weddings
  21. BusyBrides Wedding Planners
  22. Cine5dfilms
  23. Clay Oven
  24. Conference Suite
  25. Crown Banqueting
  26. Crystal Plaza
  27. Designer Studio London
  28. Diamond Suite
  29. Digbeth Hall
  30. Eastern Pavilion
  31. Elegance
  32. Evallance
  33. Excellency Midlands
  34. Five Rivers
  35. Grand Occasion
  36. Grand Venue Oldham
  37. Greenleaf Catering
  38. Hitz Rao
  39. HQ Banqueting
  40. Itihaas
  41. Jaineesha Ltd
  42. Jalwa Banqueting Suite
  43. Janina Brocklesby photography
  44. Jay & I Events Ltd
  45. Karen M Artistry
  46. Krystal Events
  47. Kudos Music
  48. Laguna Events and Restaurant
  49. Lalas Banqueting
  50. Lalhaveli
  51. Led Factory Ltd
  52. Madhu’s
  53. Maharaja
  54. Mahirs Experience
  55. Mahirs Experience Ltd
  56. Majestic Bradford
  57. Mashriq Occasions
  58. Maya Suite
  59. Maz Events
  60. Merrygold
  61. Mirage Banqueting Suite
  62. My Lahore
  63. Niche Flowers
  64. Niche Weddings & Events Ltd
  65. Nikaza Asian Couture
  66. P. Roy
  67. Paradise
  68. Payal Events
  69. Pearl Banqueting Suite
  70. Piccadilly
  71. Preeti Catering
  72. Preeti Catering Ltd
  73. Premier Banquetin
  74. Prestige
  75. Priti Raichura Events
  76. Punjab2000
  77. Quint London
  78. R M ENTERTAINMENT
  79. Radhika & You
  80. Ragamama
  81. Ragasaan
  82. Ragasaan
  83. Ragasaan Ltd
  84. RAGASAAN LTD
  85. Red Dot Jewels
  86. Rio Grande
  87. Rohita Pabla- Wedding & Events
  88. Roshan
  89. Royal Banqueting
  90. Saimab mua
  91. Sanjay Foods
  92. Sapna
  93. Sarita Babber
  94. Sarvam Patel Photography
  95. Second City Suite
  96. Shamas
  97. Silver Fox Events
  98. Silverfox Events
  99. Silverleaf Cake Company
  100. Slawa Walczak
  101. Sofia Shakir MUA
  102. Sonal Dave
  103. Sreshta Designs
  104. Sugar Box Events Ltd
  105. Supreme
  106. Tasneem Kanji
  107. The Cocktail Shack – Festivals and Corporate
  108. The Grand Dewsbury
  109. The London beauty stylist
  110. The Maddison
  111. The Sheridan
  112. The White Abbey
  113. VLW Eventd
  114. Wed in Motion
  115. Werneth Suite
  116. White Rabbit Events
  117. Yaseen Banqueting