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#WhatAboutWeddings Retailer Action

We report on how the bridal sector has been raising awareness for the #WhatAboutWeddings campaign.

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#WhatAboutWeddings campaign has taken off on social media in the last few months in response to the critical need for assistance and clarity for the £14.7bn seasonal wedding sector. By the end of October over 200,000 weddings, which is at least 79% of 2020 wedding business, will have been postponed or cancelled. This has greatly affected wedding suppliers and has encouraged the bridal industry to join the campaign for support. Below is how some of our readers have taken part in raising awareness.

Halo & Wren - Jemma Palmer was a guest on BBC Women’s Hour on Friday 13th November. She raised awareness with campaigner Jessie Westwood where they discussed the impacts of Covid-19 on the female dominated wedding industry and how livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic. Listen to the whole episode here.

This Is Me Bridal - Spoke to a public health consultant on live on BBC News on the 15th October about the restrictions whilst open in place for bridal retailers. They answered questions and made it clear how important buying a wedding dress was, how restrictions were changing brides’ experiences and how the pandemic has affected their business.

The Bridal Rooms of Wellswood – Owner Jo Kelly responded to Bridal Buyer’s email containing the #WhatAboutWeddings manifesto and a draft letter with how to contact your MP by acting immediately. She went out of her way to message her own contacts and pass on the information and got the ball rolling with her own campaign to ensure that she got the bigger reaction that she was after in her area. Her hard work paid off and by the end of the week she had heard back directly from her MP with a confirmed visit to her boutique lined up.

When MP Kevin Foster came to visit, Jo explained to him that the wedding industry had experienced a tough time over the last few years. She spoke to him on behalf of other business owners in the sector and told him ‘We had a fabulous start to the year and then lockdown happened. Only some of us have been lucky enough to receive the Small Business rate relief grant and two self-employment grants. We were happy to do our bit and wait until we could open, and weddings could happen again. June started amazingly for us and everyone had hope that weddings would go from 30 to 50 maybe in September, and even 75 by December. But what we were not prepared for was the backward move to no reception, back to 30, then 15 for 6 months! We have seen trade virtually stop and ALL buying confidence stopped dead in its tracks. I made him aware that next year’s season probably won’t start as it should in January and February, and if this happens, the industry will need further support until weddings are able to start again with more numbers. He acknowledged that if weddings aren’t able to take place soon that the industry would need more support and agreed that he would write a letter to the Chancellor on our behalf. I was over the moon with this result and I summed up for him that the industry needs hope, confidence, a plan for brides and financial support to get us through.’

Glitzy Secrets - Contacted their MP David Evennett on their own accord, Victoria Swan wrote to us saying that she contacted him by email to voice her concerns regarding restrictions on wedding ceremonies and the lack of support for the wedding industry. ‘I received a letter back within 2 days which stated he had written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government on a number of occasions over the last few months to express the concerns of constituents on the matter. He also said he would forward a copy of my email to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, so that he was aware of my company’s situation and the concerns I raised’.

Willow Bridal Boutique - have been incredibly active in campaigning and spreading awareness, the Middlewich based boutique have been interviewed by the BBC on numerous occasions and were featured in HM Treasury’s Covid secure campaign.

Simply Devine - Run by award winning businesswoman Liz Devine-Wright. They sent us an email with how they have been campaigning for the wedding industry by appearing on That’s TV and a feature in The Press newspaper. Liz’s interview describes the damage that Covid-19 has had on specialist providers within the wedding industry and aims to raise awareness to this sector.

If you have been involved in the #WhatAboutWeddings movement or have been raising awareness of the impact of Covid on the wedding industry, please send your case study to bridal@oceanmedia.co.uk for the chance to be featured.

To find out more on what you can do to help with the #WhatAboutWeddings campaign visit the website here.

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