Thousands of weddings across the country will have to be cancelled following confusion over the Government’s roadmap out of Covid restrictions.
The Weddings Taskforce, set up with the support of Government to represent the sector, had expected all venues to reopen from April 12 based on “widespread” interpretation of guidance published on February 24.
But it said it had now received confirmation, after weeks of asking, that weddings and receptions are only permitted for 15 guests between April 12 and May 16, in places of worship, public buildings, locations and outdoor settings that are already permitted to open.
The taskforce estimates this will affect around 7,000 weddings across the country planned before May 17.
Emily Lewis, director of the Moat House House in Acton Trussell, Stafford, said it feels like "the rug has been pulled out from underneath us" with all the changes.
She said: "I think it's really frustrating, to be honest, to the industry because, yet again, we have been led to believe one thing, and later down the line, the rug's been pulled out from underneath us, which seems to be a bit of a running theme really with the wedding industry at the moment, and we've taken personally quite a cautious approach.
"I have been scrolling through the guidance to find the line in it, because we had found a line in there that said about weddings being able to take place in premises that were permitted to open, so ourselves personally had kind of held back and we had a couple of people, tentatively booked into those dates, but we had said to them that this is what we've read in the guidance and what we've been told and more information will come.
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"But we really can't confirm anything at this point because you can kind of read this in one of two ways and from our point, having learned from the past 12 months that these things tend to not always work out the way you want them to.
"There's been no kind of tailored support specifically for the wedding industry and a lot of the wedding suppliers have been left out of support, so yet again, it's just like another step back to be honest."
Jay Singh, operations manager at the Willows in Willenhall and Grand Station in Wolverhampton, said: "In terms of the clarity, it's always been up and down since last year, where you can do 15 or you can do 30.
"We've had booking for 30 guests, and then they've cancelled because it's being reduced back down to 15, then it's been moved back to 30, then back to 15.
"The clarity has never been there so, again, in the industry, I mean, looking at it going forward, we're just keeping our fingers crossed, trying to stay positive, try and keep our customers positive, even they have reserved thinking that it still might not go ahead, but we're just keeping hope that it will."
Matthew Davies and his fiancée Lauren, both 29 from Wolverhampton, are due to get married at the end of May – only weeks before the proposed lifting of all restrictions on June 21. He said the lack of answers from the Government has left "everyone in limbo".
Mr Davies added: "Since the Prime Minister announced his roadmap there has been no further explanation or clarity on weddings, including exactly how many people can attend and which venues can open.
"The majority of weddings take place at licensed venues, such as hotels, as the Government well knows, so it is incredible to discover these will not be part of step two.
"The lack of answers has left thousands of couples in limbo and unable to plan with any certainty just weeks before the most special day of their lives."