I spend a lot of time researching wedding and event businesses, and I try to share their wonderful work as much as possible. This year, that has been more important than ever. It has been a really testing time for many independents, most of whom have been wondering not only when they can return to work but if they will make it.
I have been using my time on furlough to write about these guys and support them as much as possible - and also encourage everyone else to do the same. There isn’t always much we can do, but even just a ‘like’ or a comment can go a long way and will give these lovely people the boost that they need. Besides, whilst we were holed up indoors with very little going on, some of these brilliant businesses were offering us some pretty sweet stuff.
We had doorstep deliveries of cupcakes and cocktails, food packages for family nights in, and bouquets for the besties that we couldn’t see ourselves. And needless to say, behind it all were our super suppliers who were loading up their vans, driving up and down our streets and posting care packages across the country to our friends far and wide.
But when lockdown came to an end, their story did not.
Those who work in weddings and events are still facing a very uncertain future - whilst many industries are now back to work in some way, shape or form, there are a lot of people in hospitality who don’t have so much as an indication of when they may be earning again. And it is heartbreaking to see. They cannot do the things they love to do. They have not had an income for the best part of a year. And there are sadly some who are shutting up shop, and there may be more to come.
So… what has been happening with some of our fave suppliers in 2020?
Caterers such as Wild and Brie were absolute life-savers in lockdown, providing the most gorgeous grazing boxes which were delivered to homes across Gloucestershire. The great news for ventures like this is that it can easily be scaled down and made smaller, safer and still look as sexy! So thanks to people like Jess who run these businesses, they’ve been able to keep going by offering safe deliveries and collections. When lockdown began to ease, there were some small (socially distant, I hope!) parties being arranged for birthdays, baby showers and even weddings. Bookings were coming in once again. But, with the changes that came in in September which meant gatherings over six were a no-go, you can imagine the nightmare of cancelling and postponing bookings YET AGAIN! But, we are so grateful that they have options which work at times like this and, although it’s VERY testing for business owners, it means they can try to stay afloat.
For someone like Richard Parsons (Gloucestershire Magician), not being able to perform at weddings and events this year has meant he has lost almost every single booking since March, and the income that goes with it. Again for a short time it looked like he would be able to take on smaller bookings again, but that has had to be put on hold to follow current guidelines. He is, however, still able to perform at Covid-safe weddings - and what a brilliant addition that would be to a small celebration!
Richard has been vocal about the effect this has had on himself and his work, as well as other performers in the trade, too. The impact of cancelling/turning down bookings is real, and the frustration of seeing people flouting the rules, making enquiries for bookings that are outside of the guidelines (and therefore legally not allowed to take place) has been a kick in the teeth for those of us in the industry who would love nothing more than to get back to work and see our diaries filling up again!
In the meantime, though, you should check out Richard’s social media - he has been filling his feed with some fabulous content such as Instagram lives and Q&A sessions with wonderful local suppliers (and I showed my face on there too…!). Plus, there have been some magic shows done via Zoom, so you have all of the fun and you don’t even need to leave the house!
Someone else who has been very honest about this difficult situation is Nadia from Jam Jar Weddings and Events. When this all began, it was quite clear that cancelling weddings was the right thing to do, even though it was heartbreaking for everyone involved. But as time has gone on and other industries have been getting back to normal, Nadia has shared her frustrations at the lack of guidance and support for the wedding industry. And, how devastatingly close she and many others will be to shutting up shop if things do not change. But, with some grit and resilience and a brilliantly creative brain, Nadia has created a couple of other projects to try to bridge the gap. Firstly there was the Jam Jar Flower Project, which saw Nadia delivering beautiful bouquets to our loved ones during lockdown (my parents personally benefited from that, and they were absolutely over the moon! Side note: when I couldn’t see my family properly for 3 months and I was at home all on my own, it was these little acts of kindness that made the world of difference to me and my family. And that is what it’s all about, right?!). Nadia has now set up Desperate Times Gifts - the name speaks for itself. Nadia has a real knack for creating, making, stitching and crafting and there will be some gorgeous bits and pieces for you to buy. Pop over to her page and give her a follow!
On a lighter note, since we shared the work of The Cupcake Queen Solihull, she has been going from strength to strength. Throughout this whole thing, she has been busy baking for gifts, birthdays and special occasions that may have been celebrated a little differently this year, but at least they haven’t had to go without cake! Even when Solihull was placed back under a local lockdown, it hasn’t stopped them!
Businesses like this lend themselves well to working under these new circumstances - if working from home or in a safe environment, and if willing to do deliveries, postals or pickups, caterers and cake-makers can find a way to keep going. But it doesn’t mean they aren’t working their backsides off to make it happen!
Take Bitsy’s Emporium - she was able to keep making her gorgeous brownies and cookies, and she both delivered them locally and posted them across the UK. Her little enterprise is doing so well, in fact, that she is opening up her own shop this September! So now not only can we order her gorgeous goodies, but we can visit her in person too (at a safe distance, obviously). If you’re in Leicester, get yourself down there when you can! And the rest of us can look forward to her online shop re-opening soon.
So, yes. It’s been a very strange time. We are so happy for those people who have been able to make something work throughout this crazy year - and we can’t say it enough, that it is due to their hard work, determination and resilience that it has happened! But please don’t forget about those who still can’t work as it’s not to say that they aren’t all of those things too.
If there is anything I can share that will help these businesses, I will. If there is anything you’d like me to post, please let me know! And from all of us: please stay safe, please follow guidelines and please help us to help things get back to normal as quickly and safely as possible.