Companies in the wedding and events industry have said it is like the floodgates for bookings have opened since the prime minister pulled the roadmap out of circulation.
Since the announcement on Monday February 22nd, venues across East Lancashire have received numerous requests for events after June 21st in hopes that most of the Covid restrictions will be lifted.
Some venues are fully booked every weekend from mid-June to November, some couples even book weddings on a Tuesday or Wednesday – something that is usually unknown.
Gisburne Park in Gisburn hosts weddings in a teepee on its premises, and wedding coordinator Robyn Isherwood said not only have couples who have already booked called to get plans set in stone, but new couples have called to Organize appointments for their big day.
Robyn said, “With that marker as a date, the floodgates have opened in the events industry.
“My phone wasn’t turned off last week. It was like the industry woke up.
“The biggest problem now is the suppliers as they all limit these events to July, August, September and October. There will be a shortage of suppliers.
“There are just so many florists, so many bands, so many venues, so many dates.
“This year is going to be very interesting for the event industry. We’ve had to swallow it for over a year not having a business, and then if they can recover, there are only so many days that events can happen. ”
At the Gisburne Park estate, if you book a wedding, you will receive part of the park, although only one wedding can take place each weekend.
They host the first wedding on the first weekend in July and then have one booked every weekend until the end of October.
Robyn added, “People just moved you. We feel awful about having to postpone last year’s weddings, but we were fully booked for the key months of this year.
“For us, the last year was supposed to be the first year that all of the new packages were rolled out, and it wasn’t.
“It is so exciting that this year finally everything will happen that we have all worked on for so long. To know that this part of the property is buzzing is amazing.”
The wedding industry was able to operate in small capacities, allowing small ceremonies and small receptions.
However, these were limited to 30 people in the summer before the third-level restrictions introduced on October 17 resulted in receptions being banned and only ceremonies in front of 15 people being allowed.
Then these were also banned in the second and third national lockdowns and Tier 4 restrictions.
The Pendle Heritage Center in Barrowford hosts a variety of events including weddings, birthday parties, christenings and vigils.
It stayed closed for most of the year due to the lockdown, but operations manager Angela White said the venue had not only started with stone plans for weddings but had also been inundated with new requests, including a large number of people asking questions about booking Birthday parties.
Angela said, “We’re counting down the days until we can open again.
“Everyone is very optimistic and keeps their fingers crossed according to plan.
“They used to be tentative, but now people are saying, ‘No, this is happening, let’s get started’.”
The center is already fully booked for weddings from the end of June to November and the staff are receiving further inquiries about other events at the venue.
Angela has said that not only is it great when people can schedule events again, but that a potential restart date is great for employees who have been out of work for so many months.
She added, “I think it’s a breath of fresh air from everyone’s point of view, we’ve been on vacation or flexi vacation and nobody knows what’s going on.
“All employees are now looking forward to coming back. Fortunately, we’ve had some grants for the center so we’ve made some changes and the staff are excited to come back and see what the changes are too. ”
The changes include additional outdoor seating and decoration around the property.
Back in Ribble Valley, West Bradford’s Eaves Hall hosts weddings every day of the week and is fully booked from mid-June to mid-September. The break is only a few days before the regular weekend weddings resume a few weeks later.
Wedding coordinator Rebecca has said it’s nice when the brides are finally happy for their wedding again after having been put off for almost a year.
She said, “We have a really positive vibe from the brides. You get very hopeful and plow plans ahead, which is very nice to see.
The wedding venue is fully booked every day, including weekdays, from late June to mid-September, and staff are being driven back down as the couples are desperate to tie the knot in 2021.
She added: “It wouldn’t be invisible if we had booked Thursday through Sunday every week, especially in summer or anytime when the school holidays fall.
“But usually in October and November there are no weddings on Mondays and Tuesdays.
“I think it’s just the lack of dates – we’re not just trying to accommodate the weddings we have, we’re trying to match new bookings to the existing bookings we already have.
“Ultimately, you are your venue. You choose your venue and base everything else on it.
“Since we have tried to move brides and grooms after the announcement, if they are happy with the date the venue can give them and one or two of the vendors can make that date as awful as it can, they will is losing some of the suppliers. ”
Starting March 29, up to six people, including the couple, can attend a wedding in all circumstances. Currently, weddings can only take place in exceptional circumstances.
From April 12th at the earliest, up to 15 people can take part in a wedding ceremony and reception, which can then increase to 30 people from May 17th.
The government is striving to lift all limits to social contact by June 21 at the earliest.
That will depend on the outcome of the April Event Pilots, who will determine how measures such as improved testing could enable large groups to attend events without social distancing.