The Scottish wedding industry is calling for a comprehensive plan to be put in place to allow weddings to go ahead with larger numbers.
New coronavirus guidance is set to be unveiled by the Scottish Government on Tuesday, but many businesses feel that weddings have been left behind.
According to the Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance, 85% of weddings last year were postponed with much of the deposits for those already spent on organizing and planning.
Scott Dougall, owner of Scott’s Catering Services, has not had a large scale wedding to cater for since February 2020.
He said: “The impact is huge, we need to be able to do these events and we must do them safely, that’s number one.
“Surely we should be looking at maybe the size of the venue, the square meterage of the venue per guest and go on that basis.”
The Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance has so far managed to secure £25m in government funding, but now it wants a plan to allow weddings to take place with more guests.
Duncan McConchie, founder of the Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance, said: “We don’t want supported, we want to be able to get forward and plan and host these incredible weddings which is what we do as an industry.
“And the technology is there with the vaccine and with testing to allow that. We need people to start speaking to us and enable that.”
Mr McConchie said it has been a hard year for businesses with the cash from the Scottish Government not coming close to covering the costs of hibernating venues.
He said: “It’s been an exceedingly hard year for businesses but couples alike who have had weddings postponed some two, three, four times.
“An event that should be the most joyous occasion of their lives has just turned bitter and poisonous, and they have no outlook.”
Testing could be imperative for Asian weddings in Scotland which usually host up to 300.
Hassan Anwar, of Saffron Events, said: “For them to test and attend a wedding event and [to] allow whatever number is allowed for that reason, I think it might be a way to go forward.
“And I think a lot of the brides and grooms and guests might be a bit more comfortable that the guests have been tested and that they’re able to interact.”
The Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance carried out a survey with more than 4500 couples taking part.
More than 90% said they would be happy to have their guests tested if it would allow them to have the wedding they had originally planned.
Professor Linda Bauld, a public health expert at University of Edinburgh, said: “Are lateral flow devices the right devices, I wouldn’t be persuaded, because the sensitivity and specificity is quite low but we are going to have even better mass testing technology in future.
“And it might be, that also a combination of knowing which people been vaccinated and also having some testing immediately before an event, including a wedding, would be something we could think about.”
Laura Knight is due to be married in September and now faces paying large sums of money with no guarantee of full numbers.
She told STV News: “We just don’t know but we have to make the payment six months in advance, so it’s definitely a gamble for us.
“Come September, the vulnerable and all adults will be vaccinated anyway and I just think, if other areas of the economy are opening up and allowing venues multiple guests why can’t this be the same for the wedding industry?”
Nicola Sturgeon said on February 16 that a “revised strategic framework” for easing coronavirus restrictions was in progress.
The Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance hopes that the sector will at least be given parity with hospitality in the roadmap out of restrictions.
Mr McConchie said that the industry has had its voice heard with monthly meetings and has hope the efforts made by businesses to change how weddings operate will be understood.
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