'I know about 500 weddings that have had to be postponed': Wedding suppliers crushed by new Covid rules

The wedding industry is "being forgotten," suppliers have said after new rules came into place forcing couples to only have 15 people at their special day.

Victoria and Alex have had to cut their guest list dramatically
Victoria and Alex have had to cut their guest list dramatically

Couples all across the UK already had to cut their guest list back to 30 in line with Covid-19 government restrictions – but this week the Prime Minister announced only 15 people were now allowed at weddings.

The move has caused chaos for thousands of couples – but it's also dealt a devastating blow to the wedding industry as a whole, including venues, hotels, photographers, cake makers, car drivers, DJs and dress shop owners.

The Moat House in Acton Trussell

Chris Lewis is managing partner at The Moat House hotel in Acton Trussell, Stafford – a popular Midlands wedding venue – and said it was clear couples due to get married had struggled throughout the last few months.

He said: "For us it's really come as a disappointing blow going down from 30 to 15 guests. Obviously a lot of couples have rescheduled their weddings and reduced down to a smaller wedding of 30, but now to go down to 15 guests – it's been a shock.

"Clearly anything can happen between now and a couple's wedding, and the last thing we want is for them to panic.

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"We're taking it week by week, month by month, and working with our couples as it is worrying for them. They've had a torrid time over the past few months, and the wedding industry is one of those few that just seems to be forgotten. It's a really unknown time, so we're taking it really cautiously and slowly."

He added: "It's a huge industry, not just venues and hotels but there are dresses, cakes, cars, photographers – and most of these people are self-employed and independent who are getting little support.

"I'm sure more information will come out soon, it's ever-changing at the moment. We'll just need to wait and see."

Rebecca Baddeley, owner of TDR Bridal with her husband Lawson Baddeley, who runs the adjoining TDR Menswear

Rebecca Baddeley owns TDR Bridal, a wedding dress shop in Halesowen. Luckily her business has not been affected by the new restrictions but she said the worst part was seeing the heartbreak of her brides.

She said: "I know of about 500, if not more, weddings postponed just from my business. The main thing has been witnessing the emotional turmoil and the mental health of the brides.

"The way we operate is we're very close to our brides, and when lockdown first happened it really became very emotional. I spent 14 hours a day every day during lockdown talking to brides and reassuring them.

"It really was mentally draining at times but the positive side was the brides remained upbeat. But this new announcement of course has scuppered a lot of plans. Brides and grooms has re-planned their weddings to have smaller events and now they've been told they have to make it even smaller.

"It really has been a tricky time."

Victoria and Alex have been engaged for three years

Victoria and Alex from Staffordshire are due to get married this November after being engaged for three years – but each new Covid restriction imposed on the wedding industry has delivered a crushing blow to their plans.

Victoria Elsmore, who works in Wolverhampton, said she and her fiancé had just started to get excited again about their upcoming nuptials – but now are faced with the prospect of cutting their guest list by half.

The 30-year-old said: "We've had so many of our friends cancel or push their wedding back but we're determined to get married in November.

"My mum was diagnosed with cancer during lockdown which makes it all the more important to me that she is there. We've had to rearrange so many times, it's cost us thousands. We were meant to have 100 guests and had to tell so many people they now couldn't come.

"How do you decide which friends and family cannot come to your wedding? We've just done that cutting it down to 30 and now have to do it again. It's so upsetting."

The couple have had to scale back on the wedding of their dreams to stay in line with the new rules.

Victoria added: "There's the hidden expense of the whole thing. We had to cancel our DJ, the singing waiters we were supposed to have, and this special cake we wanted as well. It was going to be a cheese and pork pie wedding cake, which would have been served buffet style but the new rules won't allow for that – so I had to order a normal cake online.

"We've had to scale back on hair and make-up too."

Her fiancé Alex is also feeling the strain, Victoria said.

"For me I think it's quite difficult to get excited but as we got closer he was looking forward to it more and more. We were due to go suit fitting soon – but now that this has happened he feels quite upset too.

"It's a huge disappointment."

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