03 Feb 2021 | 11.22 am
Weddings Sector Demands Govt. Clarity
Turnover down by a billion last year
03 Feb 2021 | 11.22 am
Wedding professionals lost more than 75% of their business in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to research carried out for the wedding business.
The survey covered more than 500 businesses in the field, ranging from wedding planners to florists via dress designers, bakers and bands, and found that the entire business is worth more than €2.3 billion to the economy in a normal year, but revenue fell by over €1 billion last year.
Tara Fay of Tara Fay Events along with eight other wedding planners — Peter Kelly, Michelle McDermott, Sharon McMeel, Michele Johnstone-Clark, Lindsay Moynagh, Maria Reidy, Annie Byrne, and Marina O’Riordan — undertook the survey to show the dire need for communication with government and semi state bodies.
According to Fay: “Without exception, each of our 501 respondents asked for one thing – clarity. Clarity for themselves and where they can go with their business. Clarity for couples and their extended families who are all trying to plan what should be one of the big days of their lives.”
For 44% of the respondents, weddings make up three quarters of of their income, leaving them and their families along with employees in a very precarious financial position for 2021, and 66% said they laid off staff during the past nine months.
Wedding planners, wedding bands, marquee builders, florists, bakers and dress designers are seeking assistance similar to that in Scotland, where the government announced a wedding industry support fund based on a fixed amount linked to a business’s pre-Covid wedding turnover.
They point out that there is no representative from the wedding industry on either the hospitality and tourism forum or any other recovery panel panel.
February is a key planning month for couples and for wedding professionals, according to Maria Reidy “In order for 2021 weddings to go ahead, those in the industry need a clear plan in place by the end of February. The majority of respondents were of the opinion that if couples knew the restrictions, they are happy to work around and with them,” she stated.
“The ever-moving rules and dates are making it impossible for them to plan their big day and for the industry to be able work to the ever-changing guidelines.”
Michelle McDermott of MC Events in Limerick added: “Last week governor Andrew Cuomo in New York announced that from mid-March weddings of up to 150 people could take place in New York state with rapid testing in place for all attendees and staff. The effects of this are already being felt in Ireland, with weddings being moved to New York where there is a certainty on weddings and numbers.”
Meanwhile, the CSO has reported that the Covid-19 adjusted unemployment rate rose to 25.0% in January, up from 19.4% in December. These figures are an estimate based on the Live Register and Covid-19 related claims.
Jack Kennedy, economist at global job site Indeed, commented: “The startling figures show the return to national lockdown has applied the brakes to the economy once more. With the country facing several more months under tight restrictions, the rapid roll-out of the vaccination programme is now vital, both for public health and for the health of the economy.”
On the pandemic front, discharges from hospitals of Covid patients exceeded admissions in the two weeks from January 20 to February 2, according to official data.
Confirmed Covid cases in hospital oscillated between 200 and 350 through October, November and December before sharply escalating after Christmas Day, December 25.
Covid case hospitalisations reached a peak of 2,020 on Jan.18 and have been declining since then, with a figure of 1,418 recorded on Feb.2.
Photo: Tara Fay and her wedding planer team