How We Know our Sector is Viable
We usually steer well clear of politics, but this week it was hard for the wedding industry to ignore what was happening in parliament.
There are many reasons that the entire wedding industry reacted so strongly to comments suggesting that the sector isn’t viable and I’d like to share some of those reasons with you.
Why do we have so much confidence in our future?
As a sector that has been prevented from working for 12 months it has surprised us that the government hasn’t stepped in to support us, but that surprise, frustration and annoyance has inspired an entire industry to stand together.
We know our own market
Wedding businesses are customer oriented. We get to know our customers and we talk to each other. Even on the bleakest days of lockdown, not once has there been a suggestion that weddings won’t happen in the future. In fact, quite the opposite. Everyone wants weddings to return to how they always have been, as soon as possible. Weddings will be back, and with additional demand from those who’ve been prevented from getting married this year.
We love our jobs!
Most wedding businesses are born out of a passion to work with brides and grooms, creating amazing events. We work long hours because we enjoy what we do. We all worked hard to set up our businesses. We’re not going to close them just because it’s been a challenging year.
We can see the way through
We are a creative and forward-thinking industry. From the beginning of lockdown we were collaborating on Zoom to discuss ways that weddings could take place. Anyone who’d read our suggested road map to reopening will know we were well ahead of the government on finding solutions. We have the answers for covid-safe weddings and it is just a matter of biding our time until the second wave is over and we can start to put our plan into action.
Why you should have confidence in your plans
Wedding venues don’t vanish
A few venues have decided it isn’t financially viable for them to open for weddings while numbers are so restricted. A lot of work is involved in keeping the grounds and buildings looking perfect for a wedding day. However, they don’t just vanish. They have been helping couples make alternative arrangements and refunding deposits and prepayments in full. We look forward to them being able to reopen, reputations intact, in the future.
Wedding businesses don’t rely on credit
It is a little known fact that most wedding businesses start from scratch, using savings rather than bank loans to get started. Cashflow naturally fluctuates throughout the year and there are long lead times between booking and payment. This is easy for a business owner to understand as it is the same year on year, but it makes banks nervous and they don’t like lending to wedding businesses. As a result, instead of relying on getting bank loans and credit, wedding businesses control their own finances and their own destiny. Some took out covid “Bounce Back” loans, taking on credit for the first time in their careers, but changes to that scheme mean they can pay off the loan as they earn.
Can’t get insurance?
We know that the majority of couples didn’t take out wedding insurance when it was available, so it shouldn’t be a big deal not to be able to get it now. Many of those that had paid for insurance have found it hasn’t covered them for coronavirus.
Paying by credit card for anything over £100 should give a certain amount of protection if you are concerned, but remember businesses are charged a percentage of the transaction.
Can we be certain our deposits are secure?
Very occasionally wedding businesses go into administration. We have seen this in the past with large retail companies such as WrapIt (online gift list), the original Confetti (online gifts and wedding disposables) and more recently with The Wedding Gallery (one-stop luxury retail outlet). These all had financial business models that relied on a constant cash flow.
The huge majority of wedding businesses simply don’t operate that way
Most businesses have been able to reduce their overheads and cut their costs. This hasn’t been easy, many have made staff redundant or taken on other work, but it enables them to weather the storm and wait patiently until weddings are back.
Should we hold on to our 2021 plans?
We asked the government for clarity on how long we should expect restrictions to be in place and they gave us that clarity. 6 months. Does that mean everything will return to normal straight away? We simply don’t know. Are there couples waiting in the wings to grab your precious 2021 wedding date as soon as the picture becomes more clear? Absolutely! We have seen an increase of almost 30% of couples looking online compared to this time last year. If you want a chance of a 2021 wedding, hold on to your plans.
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