Wedding industry 'at risk of collapse' as campaigners fight for government help in time for summer season

The wedding industry is "at risk of collapse", say campaigners who are urging the government for more support.

Last summer we reported on the impact that the pandemic was having on the North West wedding industry. Thousands of weddings were postponed or even cancelled because of Covid restrictions and now there are worries the sector won't survive another season.

Despite the uncertainty, Libby Keane and her fiance Rob from Liverpool are going ahead with their wedding, as planned, in May.

They got engaged in 2019 and have been together for over ten years. Libby says that regardless of the restrictions that will be in place, she does not want to put her life on hold.

What are the current rules for weddings?

At the moment, weddings can go ahead in England, with up to 15 people.

  • From May 17th - 30 people will be allowed.

  • On June 21st - all legal limits on numbers will be lifted, if the science allows. 

Libby and Rob's big day is on May 29. According to the government guidance, weddings and receptions can go ahead with up to 30 people, but further guidance is yet to be updated.

Wedding suppliers have suffered during the pandemic

It’s not just couples who have been left in the lurch. The wedding industry has been brought to a standstill and is waiting to get going.  

Last summer, wedding florist Kelly Louise went from doing three weddings a week to none at all. The business took a hit and she was forced to furlough some staff.

Almost a year later, Kelly has had to come up with alternative ways to run her business and says it has suffered a "huge loss" of work.

Kelly’s is just one of thousands of businesses in the North West where weddings are their main income.   

Sarah Haywood is a wedding planner and the spokesperson for the UK Weddings Taskforce. The taskforce was set up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic by industry professionals. They say they are trying to find "costed, creative and workable solutions to the issues facing wedding businesses".

Sarah says the incomplete government guidance for both suppliers and couples is "not good enough"

There is at least, a timetable now.  It’s hoped that with support - the sector can get back on track.  

As for Libby and Rob, they’re counting down the days until they say ‘I do’.