The British wedding industry is having a difficult time, and according to a news report in December 2020, it is facing approximately £500 million in losses, and postponements and cancellations have made it impossible for the 400,000 people who work in the industry to make ends meet. Cake makers, wine suppliers, caterers, dressmakers, event managers, photographers, musicians, and jewellers are now feeling the crunch. The industry that used to contribute 14.7 billion to the British economy now has little-to-no income, and many of the businesses that are involved in it say that they might not be around by 2022. There is hope, however, as those planning to tie the knot during a time of austerity will still celebrate, and will still need wedding supplies, and this on its own might just be the kind of saving grace that the industry needs.
Some suppliers are luckier than others – jewellers being one of them, as wedding rings will always be needed for wedding ceremonies. Rings have been the symbol of commitment for centuries, a tradition that goes as far back as Ancient Egypt. Today, the exchange of rings is still very popular, and jewellers are thankful that this is the case. It does not matter if the celebration is a small one or a virtual one – the rings are the most important wedding-related expense. On the other end of the spectrum are the musicians and owners of wedding venues, who currently cannot get help from the government because they are still technically active in the trade. They are experiencing harder times than the jewellers, and are fearful of what is going to happen in the next few months. Some have had to let go of their staff, while others have taken out loans just to keep their operations afloat.
The government knows the challenges that the industry is facing, and has come up with a number of measures to help businesses survive. This includes a business rates holiday, which allows bridal shops, caterers, wedding venues, and the like to avoid paying the usual rates for a year. A VAT payment deferral was put in place in 2020 too, and the measure might continue on for another year. As the year progresses, it is expected that the government will be adding similar policies to ensure that the wedding industry survives. After all, it is among its biggest tax contributors, and it employs hundreds of thousands of individuals.
While things are not looking up for the wedding industry at the moment, there is hope for those in the business. The current situation is not permanent, and businesses that are still holding on will be able to recoup their losses in years to come.