As Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, the wedding industry is taking a hit as brides and grooms-to-be are postponing or even cancelling their weddings.
The outbreak is showing no signs of tailing off as yet.
More than 110,000 people around the world have caught Coronavirus, and we’re only just getting hit in the UK.
Coronavirus Is Having A Severe Impact On The Wedding Industry
The virus seems to be more serious in some people than in others.
People with underlying health conditions, the elderly and pregnant women are thought to be particularly at risk.
With doubts about travelling to weddings, the increased risk of transmission in large gatherings and honeymoon travel plans being jeopardised, wedding industry professionals are left guessing as to the eventual effect on their bookings.
One thing is clear – many couples are currently wondering whether to postpone their nuptials or cancel altogether and this is having a severe impact on the wedding sector.
Bridal Shops Are Experiencing Stock Delays And Brides Are Making Safer Choices
The bridal industry is a vast sector that includes travel, hotels and bridal retail.
More than 80% of wedding gowns are made in China, the country where the virus first emerged.
Despite the disruption, production is continuing.
However, bridal retailers are currently seeing a delay of up to three weeks in production and shipping.
Smaller bridal shops with limited stock are taking the hardest hit.
Many brides are opting for an off-the-shelf dress rather than taking the risk of delay on a made-to-order gown.
Wedding Insurance Suppliers Are Suspending New Applications Because Of Coronavirus
As the cost of weddings has increased in recent years, many insurers have been offering wedding insurance policies.
They give the happy couple peace of mind should something unforeseen, such as illness, occur.
However, the spread of coronavirus looks set to change this trend.
It’s not yet clear to some Brides and Grooms whether their wedding insurance policies protect against Coronavirus (COVID-19).
UK insurers Debenhams and John Lewis have both suspended new applications at present.
Other insurers are warning that existing wedding insurance policies might not cover cancellations due to COVID-19.
This is unless the government has specifically advised against social gatherings.
With this in mind, wedding planners are likely to see an uptake in postponements rather than cancellations, as couples wait to see how the situation develops.
Wedding Planners Expecting Cancellations To Peak During April 2020
Countries around the world are putting different precautions in place in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
At present, if a couple has invited important guests from an area where there are travel restrictions, such as China, Iran and Italy, the wedding will probably have to be postponed.
But by the peak summer wedding season, the spread of the virus may well have tailed off.
The Wedding Travel Industry Taking A Dent
The travel industry is also affected by the uncertainty around the virus.
Many couples are cancelling or postponeing destination weddings and honeymoons.
The US government is advising against travel to the worst affected countries. At present these are Italy, China, Iran and South Korea.
If couples do decide to travel, one of the main concerns for honeymooners is that they might find themselves in quarantine and unable to return when planned.
Couples wishing to cancel who have not taken out comprehensive travel insurance well in advance are unlikely to get refunded.
And with ships not allowed to dock in certain countries, anyone booked on a honeymoon cruise may also be wondering whether to postpone their trip.
Many airlines and cruise companies are currently taking the hit to their bottom line.
They are waiving fees for booking changes; this option is likely to be taken by many.
Practical Precautions For Wedding Organisers In Light Of The Spread Of Coronavirus
To reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted by wedding guests, Real Wedding suggest some practical measures.
Move The Wedding Outside Where Possible
We recommend that weddings should be held outside whenever possible. The virus is less likely to be passed on in the fresh air.
Hand sanitising stations should be set up by entrances and plenty of space between guests should be allowed when setting out chairs.
Serve A Sit-Down Meal
Plated meals present a lower risk than a buffet, where guests line up to help themselves.
Ditch The Masks
We advise that making guests wear face masks is unhelpful.
Not only do they look very inappropriate, but they also do little to prevent otherwise healthy people from catching the virus.
Encouraging everyone to wash their hands thoroughly and regularly is far more effective, so soap and hot water should always be available.
Weddings are known for spreading the love; lots of hugging and kissing and laughing and dancing.
During this tricky time, make a pact with guests that there is no handshaking, hugging and kissing.
Guests will understand, and this will help to keep any spreading of the Coronavirus to a minimum.
It’s Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better
We’ve mentioned here that as Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads rapidly around the world, the wedding industry is taking a large hit.
Anxious Brides and Grooms are left with not much choice but to postpone or cancel their weddings.
Wedding insurers are covering themselves by not taking on new applications, and bridal shops are experiencing stock delays.
Travel companies are taking a hit to their profits as they help couples rebook their honeymoons.
Wedding planners are being left with incredible admin headaches while they help bride and grooms navigate this stressful and ever-evolving situation.
Wedding Blogs Are Seeing Less Wedding Planning Traffic
Wedding information publisher, Real Wedding has seen a 12% loss of traffic in the last 4 weeks as the virus starts to spread around the UK.
Couples have stopped spending as much time and money on wedding planning.
As well as a loss of traffic, Real Wedding has experienced a shift in the behaviour of site visitors.
Referrals to wedding suppliers are down by around 50%.
Lucy, the founder of Real Wedding, said “Right now, we must support each other, keep each other safe and all do what we can to help stop the spread of this devastating virus. I’m hopeful that in a few short months we will find ourselves enjoying celebrations of love across the globe once again.”