COVID-19’s Impact on the Wedding Industry

Weddings and events were cancelled, or postponed if lucky, globally as COVID-19 was upgraded to a global pandemic by the WHO on March 11th, 2020. The news followed by some of the strictest lockdown movement the entire world has ever witnessed.

In Australia, Victoria faced the brunt of the restrictions, Which completely upturned plans couples had for their weddings for 2020.

Couples tend to meticulously plan their weddings well in advance. So that they can capture their dream wedding venue, celebrant, caterer, and décor before they are booked out. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, this is especially true during Spring, which happens to be the peak wedding season for most Victorians. Followed by a brief peak period during March, which for most Victorians offers a glimmer of hope during the current stringent restrictions in place because of COVID-19.

Covid Wedding interruptions

 Current COVID-19 Restrictions: Third Step (Victoria Region)

Victoria is on Step 3 right now, and weddings may only have 10 guests, including the couple and witnesses, but excluding the celebrant. Which presents a unique problem to every stakeholder. Couples are suddenly forced to scale down their wedding to a size that would likely exclude direct family members.

Marriage venues are having a tough time accommodating such a small number and turning a profit. Caterers are forced to rethink their prices because of the small number of guests. The entire wedding industry has been forced to a stand-still, and there are a lot of jobs on the line.

 Current COVID-19 Restrictions: Second Step (Melbourne)

If you thought having only 10 guests was a travesty, wait till you find out how many guests are allowed at a wedding with the current step Melbourne is on. The answer is only five, including the couple, the witnesses but excluding the celebrant. All marriages must take place publically, and your backyard doesn’t constitute as a public space as far as covid restrictions go. Couples may only get married within their home under certain circumstances. Only household members where the wedding is taking place may attend or guests allowed under compassionate reasons. You may travel more than 5km to get married but under no circumstances are you allowed into regional Victoria.

 Safety should be everyone’s first priority: Patience is a Virtue

It is essential to put the community needs before personal ones. Couples who have been planning their special day months in advance are going through a whirlwind of emotions right now.

Everyone wants life to get back on track; we want normalcy but not at the expense of greater public health. These are trying times, and the country must come together to meet these challenges collectively. Under no circumstances does anyone wish to endanger lives; every stakeholder acknowledges and understands the gravity of the situation.

Couples want to get married without putting their relatives and friends or their community at risk. Similarly, wedding suppliers wish to contribute towards the industry but in a manner that ensures the virus does not spread. COVID-19 is part of our life for now. We all need to take responsibility and play our respective roles for the betterment of our nation.

Weddings Cancelled: A nightmare scenario

It’s absolute chaos for everyone and a tough predicament to find yourself in. Couples found themselves unable to proceed with their wedding ceremonies, and most were unable to get a refund. The best-case scenario was a postponement, but nobody expects life to normalise before 2021. To make matters worse, the postponement dates initially offered to clients are in jeopardy of the government’s second/third step restrictions. Everyone is scrambling to find a win-win situation for the couples and businesses affected by this catastrophe.

 The Wedding Industry is struggling for its survival

It’s an existential fight for most small-scale wedding organizers. They face an uphill battle that certainly won’t be easy. Consumer watchdogs are looking towards the current scenario and attempting to ensure that couples can get their dream weddings. At the same time, help the businesses stand up on their feet after the pandemic subsides. Small companies can’t afford to give refunds because if they did, they would go bankrupt. Postponement seems like the best option for many.

 Victoria Business Support Fund During Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has offered a $500 million fund via which small businesses can get grants up to $10,000. There are certain conditions and clauses that must be met for eligibility, including a turnover greater than $75,000; and a payroll of less than $650,000. However, wedding suppliers feel that this simply won’t be enough to meet the challenges ahead. Even though weddings are technically allowed right now. The stringent conditions in place make it impossible for wedding suppliers to actually earn profit and cater to just 5 to 10 guests, including the bride and groom. Everything considered, there is no doubt that the vibrant and robust wedding industry will bounce back stronger than ever during 2021 and 2022. Granted, if they can weather the current storm.

 Booking a Wedding event right now

It’s definitely tricky attempting to pull it off with the current restrictions (Step Two and Three). However, it’s not impossible, and a lot of couples are actively pondering over it. Some have made up their mind for a small-scale wedding, which will be followed up by large scale ceremonies and festivities after life returns to normal again. It’s sort of like a micro-wedding, and not every venue is up to this task, so couples have a limited set of wedding venues to choose from.

Impact on Couples

It’s hard to ascertain just how much weddings mean to couples and the absolute chaos their lives are in right now. They have gone through a lot since March 2020 this year. It began with shock and dismay when news broke regarding the ban on weddings taking place. Brides are facing tremendous anxiety and pressure because they have to decide whether to get married right now with only 5 to 10 guests or to postpone it indefinitely until normal life resumes once more.

Getting married in the current climate seems next to impossible. Imagine having a wedding and making the God-awful choice of whom to invite to your wedding when the guests’ list is severely limited. The social fallout would be catastrophic, and even if you are prepared to play Russian roulette. The restrictions alone would ensure that your dream wedding will be but a faint whisper of its former self. The picture keeps getting grimmer for couples since most can’t opt for a refund and are only being offered postponements instead.

Dates Clashing between Wedding Suppliers: No Refunds Provided

Managing the date for your wedding event requires precision management. Since it requires juggling several wedding suppliers’ availability. You need to ensure that your wedding venue, photographer, caterer, and décor managers are all free on the same date. Since many weddings got postponed, it is much harder to get all of your wedding suppliers free on the same date. This has turned into a significant obstacle facing couples wishing to get married during these trying times since refunds aren’t an option right now.

 Couples look towards March 2021

Couples are looking to postpone their wedding nuptials post-COVID-19 since it’s practically impossible to successfully pull off a dream wedding within the current climate. Brides plan their entire wedding months in advance and March 2021 next year feels like a safe bet.

 Keep Yourself Updated

Couples may check updates on restrictions placed in Victoria via this website. To check the roadmap outlined for the resumption of normal life, please follow this website. This should come in handy for couples attempting to select a wedding date in the future.