Dreaming about the big day when weddings can return

Uncertainty around weddings remains for venues and planners as they look to recover from a lost year.

Country Dream Weddings and Events West Midlands have said they are cautiously planning future events
Country Dream Weddings and Events West Midlands have said they are cautiously planning future events

Churches, wedding venues and planners have all faced difficulties in the last year around weddings due to changing restrictions and regulations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

At present, weddings and civil partnerships should only take place in exceptional circumstances, such as if one or both of the couple are seriously ill or undergoing life-changing surgery.

However, with more people being given Covid-19 vaccinations and positive cases, deaths and hospital admissions continuing to decrease, there is a cautious optimism around more people being able to attend weddings this year.

Father Craig Fullard, parish priest of St Newman Cluster in Wolverhampton, said that current restrictions meant none of the churches in the cluster could open for weddings at present.

He said it was down to the people organising their weddings as to how many people they felt could safely be at the church, but said he looked forward to welcoming people back.

He said: “There’s more of a chance for people to have enlarged weddings if the vaccination programme continues to work, but they will have to made a decision who they can and can’t invite.

“It’s a really important day for the couple, but it’s also a really important day for their friends and family, so a lot will depend on how many they feel can attend.

“We are led by the government guidance, as well as the archdiocese and the national church on what we ought to do.”

Father Fullard said he thought the harder part of the wedding arrangements for couples would be the wedding breakfast, due to the planning and costs involved.

Arley House and Gardens events manager Amy Applegarth said she agreed with Father Fullard that it was difficult to plan at present.

Indicator

However, she also said she was optimistic that the announcement by the Prime Minister on February 22 about the roadmap for the future would help her to plan ahead for weddings at the hall in Upper Arley, near Kidderminster.

She said: “I’m hopeful that the industry will resume and we are campaigning to be able to have 50 plus weddings as that is viable to the venue and to the majority of our suppliers.

“I think the vaccinations are a massive step forward and a real game changer when you compare where we were a year ago and it’s protecting more and more people.

“We are looking at, when we reopen, having lateral tests available and guests being tested beforehand to find out if they are positive or not.”

For event planners such as Country Dream Weddings and Events West Midlands, they are awaiting further news, with a sense of frustration about no new plans in place.

Manager Laura said: “Everyone’s in the same boat within the industry, waiting for the update and any indication of a road map forwards.

“I think there have been some positive updates with the vaccinations and it’s a good indicator of where things are going, but it’s early days.

"We’re taking bookings at the moment, but halved our deposit in case people have to change their plans.”

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