Last month, we heard the heartwarming story of how doctors Jann Tipping and Annalan Navaratnam were married in the chapel of St Thomas Hospital in London after having to cancel their planned summer wedding. Although it was a happy ever after & in sickness and health for Jann and Annalan, many couples haven’t been so lucky.
For richer, for poorer
According to figures released by Bridebook, 64% of the UK’s 2020 weddings have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis due to venue closure, travel restrictions and social distancing measures. In addition to seeing months of work and planning go up in smoke, a huge number of couples have also found themselves out of pocket after being forced to cancel their weddings. Alarming figures show that only 28% of UK couples take out wedding insurance to protect their big day - and, those that do are still losing their hard earned cash. Adam Gibbs and Sarah Summerskill from Woking were due to get married at Cain Manor in Surrey in May and had paid £13,000 of the £17,000 total cost by the beginning of the year. Due to the pandemic, Cain Manor informed the couple that it would not be going ahead with their wedding and, that they would be subject to a cancellation fee of 80%. Worse was to come when Adam and Sarah’s wedding insurance provider refused to cover the cost as the cancellation was due to a government order.
Adam and Sarah’s story is by no means unique - couples across the country have been affected by this unfair loophole and, Bridebook has begun a petition to the UK government to help those affected. On top of this, the huge surge in cancellations have meant that many venues are now fully booked for 2021, meaning that many will have no option but to wait until 2022 to say I do. With the average cost of a wedding standing at £20,371, most couples are simply unable to cover the cost of a new wedding, having paid for the original event over the space of a year and a half to two years.
A veil of tears
As devastating as the pandemic has been for betrothed couples, it’s also been a huge blow to the wedding industry as a whole. It’s estimated that the industry will lose up to £87.5 billion in the UK, with many businesses simply unable to survive. From wedding planners to photographers and caterers, the pandemic has pulled the rug out from under a huge number of businesses and freelancers who have been forced to seek alternative employment.
Many of those who have had their wedding cancelled or postponed are those wonderful staff working in the NHS front line.
At the moment, we can assume that there’s a long road to recovery ahead for our wedding industry - and its customers. In the last couple of months, many engaged couples found themselves swapping tuxedos for trainers and wedding cake for Jaffa Cakes as they quietly celebrated what should have been the happiest day of their lives. Some, however, were determined to mark the occasion - like Zoe and Alex of Aberfeldy who had a socially distanced celebration with their neighbours through their street’s WhatsApp group - proving that the course of true love may not run smoothly but, it will not be stopped!
As the wedding industry has been hit hard by the global pandemic, we have tried to redress the balance a little bit. The Wedding Collective is a group of dedicated wedding professionals who have come together to offer one hard-working NHS worker their dream wedding - absolutely free of charge. With this in mind, the gift will be offered to an NHS couple to have their wedding for free in this amazing competition.
The ‘Wedding Collective’ as they are called will offer services - Wedding Planning by designerweddingplanner, bridal wedding gown from Gillian Roberts, handmade wedding shoes by Freya Rose London, photography will be covered by Dazzitto Photography, the groom’s outfit hand made by Keye London, wedding décor by Event Décor Hire, Florals by Florals by Funmi, the bridal party hair will be by Chatel Noire Bridal hair design, and the DJ, will be with the award winning DJMri, and many other gifts to this prize as a big ‘thank you’ for all they have done for us during these unprecedented times.
Having set up a ‘'Just Giving'’ in order to raise the £10,000 needed to make this dream totally come true, The Wedding Collective is now seeking support from other wedding professionals including venues, caterers and hotels and honeymoon offers. Although the collective isn’t able to help every disappointed couple, the idea is to give back to our hardworking care workers in this small but important way.
For more information on The Wedding Collective, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org