Wedlock deadlock: Fears restrictions will devastate industry and create 'wedding backlog'

  • Watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Rob Setchell

Restrictions on weddings could lead to financial ruin for venues and heartbreak for thousands of couples, business in the region have warned.

There are also fears about a backlog next year as brides and grooms choose to wait to tie the knot rather than proceed with the new rules.

The Government has announced that, from July 4, wedding ceremonies with up to 30 guests can resume.

But, with coronavirus still a real risk, social distancing advice must be followed and large receptions or parties are not permitted.

Restrictions mean up to 30 guests are allowed at wedding ceremonies. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Wedding planner Sandie Chivers, from Harpley near King's Lynn, is due to get married herself in January.

Amid fears for her own special day, her business diary has emptied since lockdown as dozens of couples choose to postpone or cancel altogether.

"I cried for a week," she said. "Then I cried more. All the enquiries stopped. People stopped planning, people stopped looking."

Bride-to-be Jenna Gaught has postponed her wedding. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Jenna Gaught was due to get married next year.

But, unconvinced by restrictions and uncertain over finances, the bride-to-be from Norwich has put it back until 2022.

She said: "It's do we keep the wedding on for next year and potentially put ourselves on for a lot of pressure and stress or do we put the wedding back and not have that pressure and stress? That's the decision we made."

Thousands have come to the same conclusion, leaving venues and suppliers facing a disastrous summer.

David Armes, who owns the Stuart House Hotel in King's Lynn, said he's lost dozens of lucrative wedding bookings. It means the business will miss out on tens of thousands of pounds.

"It literally was phone call after phone call," he said. "Email after email saying sorry we've got to cancel our booking."

Dozens of weddings had to be cancelled at the Stuart House Hotel in King's Lynn. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The wedding industry is thought to be worth around £10billion a year to the UK's economy.

Ms Chivers said most couples will find it "hard to compromise" on their big day, especially when it comes to receptions.

She said: "With no receptions allowed, you're only allowed to go back to a property and have people from only two households to celebrate your marriage."

"Nobody wants that. What's a sit down meal at home with mum and dad to celebrate your wedding?"