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Irish Wedding Industry in Crisis

Irish Wedding Industry in Crisis

A wedding supplier survey conducted over ten days at the end of January 2021, amongst 500 businesses active in the wedding industry in Ireland has shown an industry with a conservative value to the Irish economy of €2.3 billion per annum in real crisis.

For 44 per cent of the 501 respondents’ weddings make up over 75% of their income leaving them and their families along with employees in a very precarious financial position for 2021. 66 per cent said they laid off staff during the past 9 months.

Sixty per cent of the wedding professionals – from wedding planners to wedding bands, marquee builders to florists, bakers to dress designers to name but a few lost OVER 75 per cent of their wedding business in 2020 which accounts to OVER €1 billion in lost revenue.

Tara Fay of Tara Fay Events along with eight fellow wedding planners – Peter Kelly, Michelle McDermott, Sharon McMeel, Michele Johnstone-Clark, Lindsay Moynagh, Maria Reidy, Annie Byrne and Marina O’Riordan – undertook this survey to showcase the dire need for communication with government and semi state bodies “without exception each of our 501 respondents asked for one thing. Clarity. Clarity for themselves and where they can go with their business. Clarity for couples and their extended families who are all trying to plan what should be one of the big days of their lives”.

When asked if the Government understand the wedding industry the overall score was an incredibly low 18 out of 100. At present there is no representative from the wedding industry on either the hospitality and tourism forum or any other recovery panel panel and those in the industry feel very strongly that this needs to be addressed with immediate effect.

Peter Kelly of Weddings by Franc said “As an industry this survey shows how vital and valuable the industry is to the Irish economy. Look at Scotland where they announced a wedding industry support fund which underpins the value the Scottish government places in this sector. The fund is based on a fixed amount linked to a businesses’ pre Covid wedding turnover and will no doubt ensure the survival of many Scottish wedding business after the pandemic. Why is this vitally important sector not getting the same support here in Ireland?”.

February 2021 is a very important month to the industry. Maria Reidy said “Our respondents are very clear that in order for 2021 weddings to go ahead those in the industry need a clear plan in place by the end of this month (February)”. The majority of respondents were of the opinion that if couples knew the restrictions, they are happy to work around and with them. The ever-moving rules/dates are making it impossible for them to plan their big day and for the industry to be able work to the ever-changing guidelines”.

This does not event take into account that many newly engaged couples will start to plan their weddings in February. However, the industry may not be the same 12 months from now without support.

Last week Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York announced that from mid-March weddings of up to 150 people could take place in New York state with rapid testing in place for all attendees and staff (New York has a population of just over 8 million people)

The effects of this are already being felt in Ireland, Michelle McDermott from MC Events in Limerick is already seeing international weddings move to New York where there is a certainty on weddings and numbers.

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Fionn Davenport is the editor-in-chief of the ITTN group, including ITTN and ITTN Ireland. He's one of Ireland's best-known travel journalists and writers, with nearly 30 years' experience writing guidebooks for Lonely Planet and others.

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