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Sheffield’s wedding industry is suffering as romantic dreams are being replaced by the reality of Covid

But there weren’t any this year, says Bradfield Village Hall’s Lynn Russell.

Because Covid has – at best – put the entire wedding industry into hibernation, while the lockdown keeps some couples from being together on the most romantic day of the year. And who would like to propose about zoom?

Last year the hall had 14 bookings, with some couples waiting until 2020 because “it sounded nice,” says Lynn. Then the pandemic hit and everyone was canceled.

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Last year Bradfield Village Hall had 14 wedding bookings with some couples waiting until 2020 because Last year Bradfield Village Hall had 14 wedding bookings, with some couples waiting until 2020 because “it sounded nice”. Then the pandemic hit and everyone was canceled. Image: charlotteelizabethphotography.com

A year later, such romantic whims – and 1,001 marriage decisions, dilemmas and dramas – are a thing of the past.

Now tough and often unfortunate decisions are the order of the day.

To stop the spread of Covid, the number of weddings was massively reduced to five people in 2020. Some only went ahead with the bride, groom, pastor, and two witnesses – often one parent on each side. Hard decisions indeed.

Later in the year the number was increased to 15 and some were spliced ​​but opted to leave the party until another date.

Weddings are Bradfield Village Hall’s largest source of income. Image: charlotteelizabethphotography.com

But Bradfield completely lost. In 2019, the hall made £ 23,000 from weddings, says Lynn, its biggest source of income. In 2020, two couples canceled and 10 postponed their big day to this or next year.

Of these, the two were relocated for the second time for March and April 2021 and rebooked until 2022, she added.

Not only do cancellations cost them dearly, they hit a supply chain of wedding companies, including caterers, photographers, cake makers, DJs, florists, hairdressers and makeup artists.

The industry is worth more than £ 14 billion to the UK economy and employs 400,000 people.

Photographer Charlotte Elizabeth typically does 20 weddings a year. In 2020 she did two.

Lynn said, “I suppose a lot of people will have gone against the wall. It’s very sad. Everyone is in the same situation for the couple, so you have to accept that. Some postponed for two or three years, others were determined to get married.

“I think this is going to be another bad year. Usually, especially on Valentine’s Day, we are inundated with calls from people who want to rent the hall. We didn’t have any because nobody knows what’s going to happen. Couples can’t see each other, so the suggestions probably won’t be available either. “

Barnsley-based photographer Charlotte Elizabeth typically conducts 20 weddings a year. In 2020 she did two.

One was organized in a day so a couple could break an impending lockdown in November. The other was 15 people at Barnsley City Hall, with a Chinese snack instead of a wedding breakfast.

Jo Fitzpatrick of JoJo’s Cakes in Bradway stopped working completely during the initial lockdown. But even if she wanted to go on, she couldn’t, because an enthusiasm for making bread meant you couldn’t get flour for love or money.

Charlotte booked 13 for this year but the concern is they will all have to rearrange.

She is one of millions who wait for February 22nd with bated breath. At that time, the government will announce a roadmap for the lockdown, which will hopefully include a schedule for weddings.

Last month the UK Weddings Task Force met with government ministers to call for £ 680 million in grants and plans to gradually and safely reopen our sector to more than 50 guests from Easter weekend.

Charlotte of the Priory Campus on Pontefract Road in Barnsley said, “As far as I know, this depends on new variations and the success of the vaccination program.”

The possibility of rapid tests with results in just half an hour raises hopes for larger gatherings, sit-down meals and nightclubs, she added.

Sheffield cake maker Jo Fitzpatrick of JoJo’s Cakes at Bradway made a wedding cake last year before the pandemic hit.

Owner Sally Hubbard at The Mowbray Conference and Meeting Center on Mowbray Street in Neepsend.

During the initial lockdown, she stopped working completely due to cancellations. But even if she wanted to go on, she couldn’t – because of the enthusiasm for making bread.

She said, “You couldn’t get flour for love or for money. In the end I had two cancellations and 10 orders were postponed this year. And I’m also taking bookings for this year.

“Some still have a cake when there is nothing they can do and deliver it to friends and family. I try to be as flexible as possible, but depending on the design, it can take two weeks to make.

“But right now people don’t know whether or not they can have a wedding this year.”

The Chimney House and Mowbray are Sheffield venues that have hosted dozens of events over the years.

Boss Sally Hubbard said weddings made up about 60 percent of the business. Some had acted normally until March 2020 and then eight smaller ones within the 15-person limit during the course of the year. Others had rebooked for this year. In the meantime, they had diversified into “finish-at-home” boxes and takeaways.

She said, “You have to be optimistic, we’re doing all we can and we’re grateful to be still here.

“Hospitality was a matter of course for everyone. The ease of going to a restaurant and sitting down. So people look forward to happier times when many people are relaxed when the restrictions are relaxed. Hopefully, if it is safe, it will be good and positive for everyone. “

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says he plans to release a “roadmap” for the national lockdown on February 22nd. Pubs could reopen in April with an “alcohol ban” to keep people social distance, according to the Telegraph.

He also said the government believed March 8th was the “prudent” date to begin reopening schools in England.

British officials are said to have started work on a “vaccination pass” that people can use to go on vacation this summer.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more important than ever. Thank you to everyone who helps us ask the important questions by getting a digital subscription or buying a paper.

We stick together. Nancy Fielder, editor.

The Mowbray hosted a handful of smaller weddings last year. Pictured here in happier times.Sally Hubbard of Chimney House on Kelham Island believes people will be in the mood to celebrate when they are safe.

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