Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Wedding planners ‘devastated’ as busy season approaches

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Wedding planners around the country are being hit with massive blows as their busy season begins.

Photo: 123rf

This comes as Auckland remains in lockdown and alert level 2 makes large gatherings impossible.

Hawke’s Bay is a popular region for weddings, with its high sunshine hours and variety of venues.

One venue in the area, Meadowood, just invested around $100,000 in improvements, but feared they might not be able to recoup it.

Emma Hadden from Meadowood
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

Owner Emma Hadden said this was “devastating”.

“It looks like we’re going to lose 75 percent of our October weddings, and that’s just one month, and who knows how long this is going to go on?”

She said it was hard on couples too.

“I’ve had so many brides on the phone to me just crying. At this stage in their planning process it should just be fun, rather than wrapping up those last few details and in actual fact it’s not fun – it’s the uncertainty, they just don’t know if they’re weddings going to go ahead.”

One of those brides is Marcia Nelson – who should be gliding up the aisle next week.

She had a guest list of about 140, but thought she might have to cut this back – which would be hard.

“It’s quite an awkward situation, where we didn’t feel like we could wait until the last minute to let guests know, so we’ve had to basically choose some of our guests to kindly request that if we’re still in level two next week we’d ask them to step back from attending our wedding.”

She thought when the country went into lockdown – with just one case – she might be ok – but it had dragged on.

“When we started planning our wedding earlier in the year, we thought that we’d kind of shaken Covid to a certain extent, even though we realistically we all knew it had a chance of rearing its head, but it kind of all happened quite suddenly I guess.”

Planit Events owner Bex Tacon
Photo: RNZ / Tom Kitchin

It’s also been challenging for Bex Tacon of Planit Events, also in Napier.

“We’ve had a series of cancellations unfortunately – we had a really busy October booked which is now virtually empty. In November we’ve faced a few cancellations from weddings who were based in Australia and who now can’t get enough of their family and friends here to get married.”

She said businesses in her field need support – as simple as a pat on the back or just telling them they were doing a good job.

Some are taking advantage of restrictions to get married with just a handful of guests.

Jo Toebosch of Dreamy Little Weddings in Havelock North had seen a rise in small wedding bookings – of around 10 people.

It came as a surprise.

“We couldn’t sort of figure out what started it actually – we thought was it our advertising at that time? But I actually think it was just during lockdown and people were thinking ‘what should we do, this is just going to go on and on and on, we want to get married, so let’s do it.”

But small weddings do not solve the problem for larger venues.

Emma Hadden from Meadowood was calling on the Government to not forget businesses like their’s over this time.

‘Will the Government support us just because we’re not in Auckland? I think they should, I think they need to. Certainly the hospitality industry has got to be supported. We’ve just been hit so hard.”

She said wage subsidy and resurgence support payments for hospitality had to be continued over the country when Auckland got to level two.

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