Derbyshire’s ‘forgotten’ wedding businesses plead for road map out of lockdown

Derbyshire’s ‘forgotten about’ wedding businesses have pleaded with the Government to provide a road map for the industry to come out of lockdown.

Thursday, 18th February 2021, 7:00 am

It is estimated the wedding sector nationally has lost out on more than £430million due to cancelled or postponed weddings during the coronavirus pandemic – with wedding receptions either being banned or restricted to a limited number of people throughout the past year.

Bridal shops, reception venues and businesses which cater for stag and hen parties in Derbyshire have all been left devastated by the impact of the lockdown.

Wedding businesses in Derbyshire like Nora Eve Bridal Boutique are urging the Government to provide a road map out of lockdown. Photo: Nora Eve Bridal Boutique.

And businesses say they cannot simply reopen and return to normal because of the amount of planning which goes into every wedding.

Emma Swain, director of Nora Eve Bridal Boutique in Chesterfield, said: “By and large, weddings have been completely forgotten about.

"Couples have had to rearrange, downsize, postpone, some have eloped, some have planned completely different weddings to their original vision in as little as a few hours.

“Our industry has been massively affected and it’s going to take an extremely long time to recover.

"A lot of businesses will not be able to reopen and it’s such a shame.

"My own business was built on my dream and it breaks my heart to think that other business owners have been forced to give up on their dream due to not having the necessary support to survive these lockdowns.

“Weddings come with so much planning, we can’t be expected to just reopen and be back up and running as normal if we are given short notice of when we are allowed to reopen again.”

Emma says she has been forced to adapt her business because of the unprecedented impact of the pandemic.

“I’m due to launch my own brand of wedding dresses that are entirely sustainable, ethically sourced and made in the UK, that will only be available to purchase from Nora Eve.

"This will help to support our economy and maintain sustainability which is very important to me.

"Ella Kate will accommodate the less traditional bride, as we predict a surge in elopements and scaled back, more intimate weddings, so my designs will reflect these changes in society that Covid has sprung upon us.”

Lou Gavan, who launched new ‘luxury Insta’ hire venue The Courtyard in Chesterfield only last year said the Government didn’t understand the gravity of the situation.

"We aren't like the hospitality sector where they opened back up and immediately started making an income again," she said.

Derbyshire Dales MP Sarah Dines said the area was lucky to have many historic house wedding venues, including Shottle Hall and Tissington Hall.

She said: “My heart goes out not only to the businesses struggling during this incredibly difficult time, but the couples who have had to postpone their weddings.

"This pandemic has been tremendously hard on the wedding industry and I have asked the secretary of state to consider utilising the Culture Recovery Fund packages to create an emergency business support fund, that historic house wedding venues in Derbyshire Dales would be eligible to apply for.

"It is my belief that emergency support is needed to preserve these establishments and help them through this increasingly difficult time.

"I was delighted that the secretary of state said that they will be looking into these proposals.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.