Lockdown-easing plans to allow just 30 guests at weddings from May 17 are ‘not viable’ for couples or venues – amid claims some brides and grooms could try and sell tickets to try and get around the rules.
The government published its roadmap to a free UK yesterday which said June 21 would see unrestricted weddings begin again in full.
But steps leading up to that point have been heavily criticised due to huge gulfs between the so-called ‘life events’ sector and other industries.
The roadmap says from May 17 other indoor events for up to 1,000 people will be permitted, while weddings can only have 30.
It has prompted disbelief from couples and wedding venue owners, who said the small numbers would mean some would never open.
David Povey said: ‘So Boris Johnson, if I sell tickets to my wedding on June 20 can I class it as an ‘event’ and have more than 30 guests?
‘Asking for all the couples, venues, suppliers and the whole wedding industry you’ve trampled over again and again.’
A guest wearing a protective face mask attends a wedding during coronavirus restrictions
The roadmap has prompted people to ask if they should sell tickets to get more guests
The wedding sector welcomed news of a date to aim for, but said the steps up to it were not enough.
Chris Naylor, owner of wedding venues Nunsmere Hall, Peckforton Castle and Inglewood Manor and chair of the UK wedding taskforce said the smaller number would not work.
He told MailOnline: ‘I think the fact we have got a roadmap and date is good news, the June 21 date to have is good – that will give to something to get there.
‘The problem you have got is that a lot venues and businesses are not going to get there. It’s four months away. It’s completely unfair. You can have a conference of 1,000 people, but not a bigger wedding.
‘The restrictions up to then are just not viable for many venues. We think 50 is the minimum viable number and we told the Government this.
‘A wedding is a highly planned event and guest lists are known weeks in advance. It feels like the government haven’t got the faith and trust in our industry.
Wedding venue Nunsmere Hall has been unable to host larger weddings due to restrictions
Wedding venue owner and chair of the UK wedding taskforce said 30 guests was not viable
Industry has backlog of 253,000 weddings
The UK has a backlog of at least 253,000 weddings which will last a decade.
Wedding planning and booking app Bridebook disclosed the extraordinary numbers.
Owner and creator Hamish Shephard told MailOnline: I think 2022 will be the busiest year of weddings in history and it’s likely it will take several years for this to unwind. It could be for the rest of the decade that this wave continues
‘The average engagement because of Covid has extended from 20 months to 32 months, it creates this rollover.
‘On Bridebook we have a backlog of 253,000 weddings in the future. The majority of Boris announcement has being a positive surprise for most couples, they have to get the big guest list organised and the band in now.’
‘They seem to have in their heads weddings are super spread events.
‘I think if you are in an environment with close families and friends you are going to be more careful, I am very much of the opinion that we should be allowed to do bigger weddings in May. There is a big disparity in what the government would think a wedding would be like and the reality in this Covid world
‘For a cultural wedding, they just wouldn’t happen with such small numbers. I think everyone has had it drilled into them Covid is here for the long term so they would be more alert in a family and friends environment. I think the restrictions in May are too severe for the wedding industry.’
Hamish Shephard, who owns wedding venue Hedsor House and runs the Bridebook app said the re-opening was positive news, but would have drawbacks for some.
He said: ‘Overall it’s difficult obviously the announcement for the couples getting married between May 17 and June 12 seems rather cruel, given all their waiting. Hopefully the government can review that.
‘I think it’s incredibly disappointing for that group of couples, but for the large majority it’s wonderful news that full weddings can happen for the majority for couples.
‘What we are already seeing is that many in that window are moving to later in the year to have bigger weddings.
Hedsor House wedding venue is expecting an influx of bookings but only for after June 12
Hamish Shephard, a wedding venue owner, said the 30-guest period was not fair on some
The new steps out of lockdown come after dropping death rates from coronavirus’s spread
‘I think it feels like weddings have been singled out in this time period unreasonably and illogically. Having a 30 person limit is close to having a ban for the majority for couples.’
Faye Hughes, owner of Oxleaze Barn, which can be booked for funerals and weddings, welcomed the June 12 date as a positive step.
She said Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s budget on March 3 needed to include funding to keep venues afloat until then.
Faye told MailOnline: ‘It’s great we have got a roadmap and is fantastic and my phone has been exploding with happy couples
‘Obviously there is a gap in the middle and that has led to postponements, some have moved for the third and fourth time and there is a bit of disappointment because of that disparity.
‘It is tricky doing the smaller weddings from a profitability point of view. If Rishi doesn’t bridge that gap between now and June then some venues will have a problem. We need sector specific support in the budget.’