Covid – 19
As I write this on Saturday, 21st March it has been one hell of a week for everyone in the UK. Our thoughts primarily must be with those who are suffering directly with the coronavirus, who are fighting for their lives as well as their families, those looking after them and everyone who is working so hard to find a way forward through this terrible pandemic.
Next though, out attention must turn to our couples. Those who have been planning their 2020 weddings for years and whose plans have been thrown in to uncertainty with no real idea at this stage how long this ordeal will last and what will come of it. None of us can guess how long the virus will be around or what damage it will cause but we must assume that it is here to stay for the foreseeable future and we must adapt our plans accordingly.
For those planning a wedding and for venues like us this creates huge problems but we must do our best to navigate a path through this crisis and to do all that we can for those couples affected. For our business, our fast growing team of employees and our family there are difficult months ahead. While we have comprehensive insurance policies in place, we are in the same boat as everyone else and for the moment, are not covered for any losses sustained as a result of coronavirus.
So what is our plan? It is clear at this stage that our May and June weddings are going to be greatly affected. The Registrar service yesterday put in place restrictions on ceremonies between now and the end of June which will mean that only 6 people can be present for marriages; including the bride and groom and 2 Registar’s. The government yesterday closed all pubs, restaurants, bars and venues which we must assume will include us and it would be utterly irresponsible at this stage to be hosting gatherings of any moderate number of people.
We have therefore asked all of our May and June couples to postpone their wedding to a later date, up to the end of their calendar month next year. They can choose any available date and we will transfer their payments paid so far across to the new date. They will also pay the rate relevant to that date which in many cases will be lower than their original date: so if they move from a high season date to low season, the hire price will drop accordingly. This seems the only fair way to proceed. It’s a tough time for everyone and compromises are having to be made all round but we are hoping we can find everyone a date that works for them and hopefully, the rest of their suppliers who are also greatly affected. We must thank our couples from the bottom of our hearts, all of whom are being incredible and doing what they can to get through in the most stressful of circumstances.
On to our July weddings, and beyond. For now, we must take a wait and see approach, adopting a great deal of patience. We will assess the situation on a month by month basis much the same as the government and the Registrar service are doing. If it looks like the current restrictions will still be in place come July, then these weddings will have the opportunity to postpone and so on and so forth. We will try to make these decisions as far in advance as we can, to give all as much flexibility on dates as is possible and be fair to all our couples. We are prepared for a full year of frustration and know that it is going to be incredibly tough for everyone.
We are here.
In the meantime we are working on – of the great advantages of our rural location and our small family team is that while we are all well, our office remains open and we are doing all that we can to keep things moving forward, to keep chatting to our couples, over the phone as much as possible and to offer advice and support. Therefore if you would like to discuss you contingency plan don’t hesitate – just pick up the phone. We are here to help.
Sending all our love to everyone in these difficult times and most importantly, stay well and look after each other.
Bay, Hermione and Amy
Image credit: Katie Ingram Photography