Figures endorsed by the Association of British Wedding Businesses show that 36 percent of weddings in 2020 were either canceled or postponed and more than half were affected, an estimated £ 5.6 billion loss for the 10th -Billion pound industry a year as a result.
Two of the area’s most popular wedding venues, Bawtry Hall and The Crown in Bawtry, have felt the full force of the coronavirus, which has postponed 150 weddings and canceled two since the pandemic began.
Craig Dowie is the managing director of the Crown Hotel on Market Place on Bawtry High Street and the prestigious Bawtry Hall wedding venue on South Parade with 83 employees.
Craig Dowie, General Manager of the Crown Hotel on Market Place, High Street, Bawtry and the prestigious Bawtry Hall wedding venue
Pictures: Hodsock Priory opens its doors
Mr Dowie said: “We lost around £ 1 million as a result of the pandemic between Bawtry Hall and The Crown Hotel. Some couples have rescheduled their weddings with us up to five times.
“The impact of the pandemic on the industry has been devastating. People think it’s just a matter of moving the date, but it does carry over all bookings for the guests staying overnight, the florists, the cars, the photographer, everything is so structured and organized.
“We are so personable with the couples whose big day has been postponed and they have been so empathetic and really understanding towards us.
Spring at Hodsock Priory, a new pavilion for wedding ceremonies
“I’m so proud of the way the team came together and how they worked so hard to calm the couples’ minds and be available to help them through a truly traumatic time. The feedback that we’ve had from couples has been so positive. “
In addition to making time for couples, the staff at the Bawtry venues have used their time to lock down.
“We did massive renovations and built a new terrace for 60 to 70 people at The Crown. We have a new kitchen and restaurant menu, a new takeaway cafe and we are making sure our venues are Covd Compliant. We made good use of our time, ”said Dowie.
Mr Dowie is now looking forward to the easing of restrictions and a packed wedding season.
“We’re looking forward to 2021-22, it’s going to be a busy time and we’re doing our best to accommodate everyone,” he said.
“Now is a good time to book a wedding. If you are thinking about it, don’t be too late. We have safe venues and a dedicated team that can help you every step of the way.”
Meanwhile, only two of the 200 weddings scheduled for the season were held at Hodsock Priory in Blyth due to lockdown restrictions. The rest had to be postponed.
The venue has lost around £ 250,000 in the past 12 months as a result of the pandemic.
George Buchanan, co-owner of the historic venue, said, “The reality is that much of the money lost is being paid up for events that will eventually occur, but you have to keep in mind that we didn’t have heads on pillows and hands on glasses at that time.
“Many tears were wept on many shoulders. Our team here was amazing which shows how much love there is in the industry which in our case is a small family business.
“We provide excellent service with the family at the center and when dealing with families we understand how emotional this has been for them and what a crucial moment it is for any family, it has been really difficult for so many couples.
“At first I think it was a bit of a shock and with all shocks things take time. When the shock waves subsided, we were really able to take some time with our couples and talk things through and help people find solutions. The team went out of their way to listen, speak at any time of the day, weekends and evenings. “
The Hodsock team has been busy doing renovations and making the venue as good as possible to welcome the guests back.
Mr Buchanan is now looking to the future with optimism and is looking forward to a busy season.
“It’s an incredibly good time to book a wedding,” he said.
“We have the vaccine in place and I believe that later this year everyone will be fully vaccinated and all restrictions lifted.
“I think couples should stay positive. It is a good time to plan ahead, save money, take the time to look at the venues and book. We have had record-breaking bookings and have a variety of different packages available.
“We’ll be ready to welcome everyone with open arms. The place has never looked better and we can’t wait to get started.”
According to current state restrictions, wedding ceremonies and receptions can host up to 15 people, including the couple.
The receptions must be outdoors in a Covid-proof location that can be opened and must be in the form of a sitting meal.
From May 17th, up to 30 guests can attend a wedding ceremony and reception, which can be held indoors or outdoors in a Covid-proof location.
The roadmap to ease the lockdown aims to lift all social contact restrictions, including wedding restrictions, on June 21.