As we count down to the Prime Minister’s announcement on the 22nd February regarding our plan to exit lockdown, we’re all on edge to hear what weddings will look like, or even if they will be mentioned at all.
The UK Weddings Taskforce is an industry-appointed, Government-backed organisation that has been lobbying to ensure that weddings are considered in this announcement. Here, we explain what the Taskforce is asking for, how it affects you and how it works.
What is the UK Weddings Taskforce?
The UK Weddings Taskforce was set up to represent the tens of thousands of small (and not so small!) businesses that make up the UK wedding industry. It is made up of representatives from different fields in the industry and aims to provide formal and effective representation for all by engaging directly with Government, as well as with the media, those that work in the industry and consumers.
Why do we need a Weddings Taskforce?
The wedding industry is huge – it’s worth £14.7 billion and is made up of around 60,000 businesses – some are sole-traders, others run multi-million-pound enterprises. What they have in common is that they have hardly been able to work in the past year, due to the pandemic.
The UK Weddings Taskforce was formed to ensure that the UK wedding industry remains viable as we move out of the pandemic. Around 280,000 couples get married every year in the UK, and the backlog the pandemic has caused means that around 800,000 weddings are currently in the pipeline.
The Weddings Taskforce has been meeting with Government to establish safe routes to reopening, as well as to procure financial support for those businesses who have struggled over the past year with little or no support.
What have the UK Weddings Taskforce asked for?
The UK Weddings Taskforce is primarily focused on supporting the businesses that make up the wedding industry – without these businesses, weddings can’t take place, after all!
They have asked for five key enablers to be the priority for reopening the sector. These are:
- A minimum limit of 50 guests or socially distanced capacity (whichever is the lower number)
- A wedding sector specific grand of £680m to support 60,000 businesses
- The Hospitality 5% VAT rate to be extended to all wedding businesses until April 2022
- Business Rates Relief to be extended to April 2022
- JRS to be extended to July 2021 and to include NI and pension payments
These are predominantly financial support asks, that will allow businesses to recover from an extremely challenging year.
What does this mean for my wedding?
It’s likely you’ll have lots of questions about what the work the UK Weddings Taskforce is doing, and what it would mean for your wedding. You can view the below video, where the Taskforce answered lots of questions from businesses and couples about the work that was being done.
What does the 50-guest limit mean?
Previously, weddings were able to take place for 30 guests, and then 15. Currently in the UK marriages cannot take place unless there is an exceptional circumstance, such as a ‘deathbed’ wedding.
The UK Weddings Taskforce is asking Government to allow them to safely reopen to facilitate planned events, and if there is to be a guest limit, for it to be increased to at least 50, as it is not commercially viable for many businesses to operate for fewer than 50 people.
This doesn’t mean that smaller weddings would not be permitted – the previous limits still allowed for smaller weddings – but simply that the maximum limit is increased.
What will happen on the 22nd February?
In short – we don’t know. But we will be watching along with you, and we will work with the UK Weddings Taskforce to make sure you get to hear the latest news and updates as they are released.
For more news and information, make sure you check out our Covid news section.