'Another false start' - Wedding sector's woe at potential June 21 delay

Owner James Garner at the tower from the ruins of All Saints Church at the new visitor trail around

Owner of Godwick Great Barn, James Garner. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

Two Fakenham businesses reliant on summer weddings say they would be left thousands of pounds out of pocket if the lifting of Covid restrictions is delayed.

With suggestions that the final lifting of coronavirus restrictions will be delayed from June 21, the wedding industry is braced for further disruption.

Businesses had hoped to put the last 15 months behind them, but the new delay fears bring fresh worries for everyone from suppliers to venues.

Figures from the UK Weddings Taskforce claim the industry face losses of over £325m for each week delayed.

James Garner, owner of Godwick Great Barn near Fakenham, said it had been in preparation mode for the last three months after the unveiling of the roadmap out of lockdown.

The venue has been hiring extra staff and getting everyone prepared, a task he called "big and expensive".

Godwick Great Barn near Fakenham hosted a wedding celebration, only 72 hours after meeting the coupl

Godwick Great Barn near Fakenham. - Credit: Archant

Mr Garner said the venue faces losing several thousands of pounds if the five weddings they have booked in the two weeks after June 21 are either reduced in size or rescheduled later in the year.

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“It is a potential hit on our bottom line which has already been hit hard by 12 months of little business going on,” he said.

“It would be disappointing and is another false start which does nothing for the confidence here. We have worked hard to be ready to reopen on a full scale.

"We have been doing weddings since May 17 with reduced numbers. It's been good to get back to business but it would hit morale after all the effort and focus on the 21st being the reopening, and that would be quite disappointing.”

Wedding suppliers have also been relying on a return to normality.

Sandie Chivers, owner of Style and Joy Events, in Oak Street, said the delay would impact her business massively if it is announced.

Shop owner Sandie Chivers at her brand new shop in Fakenham, Style and Joy Bridal and Suit Boutique.

Shop owner Sandie Chivers at her brand new shop in Fakenham, Style and Joy Bridal and Suit Boutique. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

“The delay would be quite dramatic,” she said.

“It would be detrimental, not only to me but everyone who runs a business in this sector.

“You can still trade as you could supply a 30-person wedding, but 80 people earn you around £12,000 but 30 is anywhere between one or two thousand pounds, so it is a lot of difference in money lost.”