Mansfield's wedding industry facing 'nightmare scenario' after Boris Johnson announcement
When Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement that 30-person limits for weddings will be lifted, engaged couples in Mansfield and Ashfield breathed a sigh of relief – but it has left wedding organisers facing a ‘nightmare scenario’.
The hospitality industry has been hit hard during the pandemic but Monday's announcement that restrictions in the sector will be eased has sparked further confusion.
Now wedding suppliers and venues across the area say they face the problem of struggling to manage large parties in a Covid-safe way and be able to facilitate table service.
Kelly Wilson – who owns A Touch Of Charm wedding decor business in Shirebrook – now has an uncertain few weeks ahead of her as she juggles a diary full of brides and grooms desperate to see if their big day can go ahead.
She said: "People initially thought this was great news, but have quickly realised it isn’t as cut and dried as it seems.
"Although the limit of 30 has been lifted, having no dancing, social-distancing measures and table service means a logistical nightmare for venues, which some won’t be able to accommodate.
"It’s just another setback after what’s been an awful 15 months for the industry.
"I’ve had loads of cancellations, although for those who have already postponed several times, they are just happy now to go ahead and not have the typical reception.
"Hopefully this will be the last setback now and we can have a great summer of weddings once restrictions lift.
"We have 147 weddings this year and hopefully there’s light at the end of the tunnel for us.”
Kimberley Lawson is due to marry her partner Ricky on August 12 and says the latest announcement has left them ‘in limbo’.
The 30-year-old from Warsop Vale must now face a tense wait to see if restrictions are extended further as her venue may not be able to accommodate her reception with the current restrictions in place.
She said: “We’re just not sure what to do for the best – a wedding isn’t a wedding without music, dancing and children running around, so what’s the point in forking out thousands if everyone has to remain seated and wearing a mask?
"Venues can’t staff table service for large numbers as it just isn't feasible, so it just feels like the wedding industry has been overlooked once again.”
Carrie Austin, a self-employed photographer who has a studio in Sutton, described the latest announcement as a ‘nightmare’.
She said: "The lifting of the 30 guests restriction sounds great but it's yet another blow to the wedding industry.
"Tables will have to be spread out and venues will have additional costs to cover the table service required, which could mean them operating at a loss after more than a year of almost no income.
“A lot of my photography coverage is fly-on-the-wall style but with guests requiring masks and being unable to pose for group shots, many will not want to remember their wedding in that way.
“How can you expect family that haven't seen each other through a pandemic to stay on opposite sides of a room in masks?
"Covering weddings should be a joy; shooting happy moments, reunions, togetherness and celebrations.
"I understand some restrictions should remain in place but this is a nightmare scenario.”