Today the What About Weddings campaign team have written to the Prime Minister alongside leading wedding industry associations and trade businesses to ask the government to bring back Covid-secure weddings once restrictions are lifted, and called for an end to small arbitrary numbers in the guidelines.
With over 1000 case studies of couples and businesses who have been impacted by the restrictions on the wedding sector since March 2020, we continue to tell the stories of those who urgently require clarity and a roadmap from the U.K. government. We must be included on 22nd February with a view to reopening in full for our 2021 season.
With sincere thanks to all those who signed.
Please read our letter to the Prime Minister below in full.
16th February 2021
Dear Prime Minister,
Thank you for everything you and the Government are doing to protect the country from the scourge of Covid. It is deadly to those who are vulnerable to it, and we’ve been right to do everything we can to slow its transmission. But now that the vaccine is being rolled out so successfully, we would urge you to allow Britain’s half a million unwed couples to marry at last.
We represent the 60,000 businesses and 400,000 people who work in the vibrant British wedding industry – the venues, marquees, planners, florists and caterers, all worth around £14.7 billion to the UK economy each year. And 80 per cent of those working in our sector are female, often flexibly around childcare. But our call today goes beyond the immediate and pressing concerns we have about the survival of the wedding industry .
From a societal and cultural perspective, bringing back marriages is crucial. The institution of marriage is a cornerstone of British life, and hundreds of thousands of couples have told us of their stories of heartbreak, misery and uncertainty as they simply try to plan the rest of their lives together.
These restrictions are quite literally preventing families and lives from being formed, and many young couples have become distraught having lost sizeable wedding deposits. We already know how hard it is to get a foot on the housing ladder and so this has been a bitter pill to swallow.
On Monday 15th, we will have vaccinated everyone in the top four risk groups, accounting for about 88 per cent of those who have sadly died from Covid, as well as around 55 per cent of hospital admissions. Once these groups have immunity by 8th March, weddings should be allowed to go ahead in a Covid-secure manner.
We are not immediately expecting mass gatherings, an abandonment of masks or hundreds of people on dance floors or in close proximity. Until we have vaccinated the top nine groups – all over 50s – we won’t be truly safe from the disease. So we are calling for Covid-secure weddings from 8th March.
By Easter, given the pace of the current vaccination rollout, we will have protected around two thirds of risk groups 5-9. Once the top nine groups have been vaccinated by the end of April, normal weddings with no legal restrictions must be able to take place from 1st May.
With such great news about vaccinations – something Britain and your Government have led the world in – now is the time for hope and optimism. Hundreds of thousands of British couples are waiting in the wings, desperate for certainty from you about how they can not only reclaim their lives but also plan theirs and their families’ futures. We must not let them down.
What About Weddings, Annabel Beeforth, Jessie Westwood, Tamryn Settle
Asian Wedding Association UK, Atul Lakhani
Association of British Wedding Businesses (ABWB), Hamish Shephard
Association of Independent Celebrants, Philip Spicksley
British Institute of Professional Photography, Martin Gaynes
Hostology, Josh Dugdale
MUTA, Joe Chalk
National Association of Wedding Professionals, Siobhan Craven Robbins
Retail Bridal Association (RBA), Laura Elliot
The Nationwide Caterers Association (NCAss), Mark Laurie
UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, Bernadette Chapman
Wedding Venue Support Group Ltd (WVSG), Duncan Clark