In just over a month, Catrin Bowen and Ryan Evans will tie the knot.
After postponing their original wedding last August and slashing their guest list from 150 to just 30 people, they are now putting the finishing touches on what they hope will be the perfect day at the Plas Dinam country house in the Powys village of Llandinam.
But despite a year to go, the Neath couple still don’t know if their wedding will take place – and say they would be more secure if they were in England.
Ryan, a teacher, said: “We’re supposed to get married for five weeks on Tuesday and I know the Welsh government has a number of more important things to say, but at the moment I really couldn’t tell you how likely the two of us are to get married.
“For Catrin and every bride, it is the preparation for the wedding that is as good as reality. For me, it’s about getting a suit and showing up, but for every bride they shouldn’t have to go through it. We’re in limbo, we don’t know what’s going to happen. “
(Image: Catrin Bowen)
As of Monday, wedding venues in Wales have been allowed to hold ceremonies for the first time since December. For couples, however, the restrictions are limited to that – indoor and outdoor receptions are not yet permitted.
Tourism and hospitality businesses in Wales will see if they can reopen in time for Easter during the next 21 day review on March 12th.
The change also comes after a potential road map was drawn up in England last week, pointing to a possible June 21 deadline for the end of social distancing restrictions.
According to the couple and wedding venues themselves in Wales, an equivalent schedule is essential to prevent the wedding industry from suffering further during a time when it is already on its knees.
And while Catrin and Ryan, who have been together since they were 18, understand the situation, they are excited for news at a time when three-week restriction reviews could put them close to their big day.
Read more about the latest coronavirus rules:
Physiotherapist Catrin said: “Last August we accepted that we would move [the wedding] After almost a year we swallowed the pill and got on with it. Then we got to April and swallowed another pill and cut it down to 30. Now we have to try to think about moving the date. In my head, I don’t think there is any way to think about it.
“We were happy to wait a year, but now it’s getting to the point where we just want to keep going. Ryan is a teacher, so we have to work about half the semesters from our point of view, I work for the NHS and a lot of mine Friends are nurses, I have a sister who is a doctor, Ryan’s sister is a pharmacist, so vacation is a big deal too.
“I fully understand that the government cannot provide exact dates, but there is never a rough guide.
“Weddings could take place late last year, in October, November and December when Covid deaths were likely at their highest point. Now we’re about to come down, and I guess the government now feels it is important to be careful with the latest lockdown They want to bring us in, but it’s just so frustrating. I went to a 30-person wedding last November and the prices were terrible. “
(Image: Plas Dinam)
Ryan, 27, added: “[Venue owner] Eldrydd has been fantastic giving us alternate dates but we have already made a number of deposits for caterers, photographers, videographers, nighttime entertainment and photo booths – what you call it. They’re all locked up for April 6th now, they can do it. However, if we change our date and move it again they may not be available and another photographer may not be available as they are all fully booked.
“However, it is essentially nobody’s fault if we have to procrastinate again and we fully accept that it is likely, that we may lose money, and that we may not find someone in time.”
For Eldrydd Lamp, owner of Plas Dinam, the roadmap announced in England didn’t just cause stress for her Welsh couples. She believed that if equivalent dates were not set in Wales predicting the end of restrictions, there would be a real risk that couples would seriously quit and move their business to England.
Of the 43 weddings she has planned for this year, she said that none of her couples would be willing to hold a ceremony without being able to party afterwards.
(Image: Darryl Owen (darrylowen.co.uk))
Eldrydd, who runs the wedding business at their family home with husband Tyson, said: “Before Boris announced we’d lost a third of 2021, they’d been moved or canceled, and that was common knowledge for all of the wedding venues for months of this year we all lost about a third of our bookings due to uncertainty, no other reason.
“Boris’ announcement has given England reassurance so they know where they are going and all of our couples are keen to adapt to England. I have to make these decisions, open new dates for them, but if Wales says otherwise we have failed. We urgently need to know from the Welsh Government what the plan is for the year.
“You’re trying to run a business with 40 dates flying around a year without knowing when to land or what to do, and you’re just guessing when to give them new dates.
“Everyone in the wedding industry is on their knees. In the first lock we did it, we all had our weddings for 2020 and we all did it and reorganized and then we had some steam and we could do it. Now we’re sitting here after working full time rearranging weddings – not a penny coming in. We’re still sitting here rearranging it and it’s miserable.
“I’m glad I have a good support network, but there are a lot of people who feel very, very bad about the wedding industry and a lot of people who would cry if you spoke to them.”
You can now get all the important news straight to your inbox by signing up for our free WalesOnline newsletter.
Subscribing only takes a few seconds. Just click here, enter your email address and follow the instructions.
Since the pandemic began, Eldrydd has said she has received just £ 16,000 in support from the Welsh government to keep her 15-bedroom wedding venue – the same scholarship she would get for a one-room shop.
The mother of four is especially concerned after hearing about other venues that have canceled in favor of other venues.
Eldrydd, 47, said: “2020 was a great year for us for weddings. You are investing in the preparation for 2020. We have put a new glass room in the stable and made everything ready, so we have invested a lot and are still waiting to get the money in.
“In England they now have the hope that there will be weddings this summer. That really stopped people from canceling now. If Wales doesn’t come up with something soon, we will see cancellations from Wales to England. I know other wedding venues, who do that. ” Had cancellations and when they watched this they canceled in Wales and rebooked in England
“All suppliers work on this and the other side of the border. So we had to postpone deadlines, or all supplies will be swallowed up by the work that is there for them and that they know is there.”
(Image: Darryl Owen (darrylowen.co.uk))
Phil Godsal, owner of Iscoyd Park wedding venue in Wrexham, agreed.
As a member of the UK Weddings Task Force, he asked the Welsh Government to provide a roadmap for forward-looking venues.
He said: “If we don’t get a road map in Wales we all lose their weddings across the border into England. That’s what we’re really really worried about. The services we will do when we have to, our couples.” everyone has been through enough already, but it’s not financially viable for a venue. The reception must be for 50 people or more.
“We all understand that in hindsight it was very difficult to give what we all wanted before the vaccinations, but now with the introduction we just feel like it’s a different landscape.
“”[With a date] We can try to figure out how the hell we can get to this point financially. We are all very desperate for the good news. “
A spokesman for the Welsh government said: “The First Minister has released a document on how Wales is getting out of lockdown.
“We made it clear that our top priority is getting as many children and students back to school as possible. We have also signaled that in the next three-week review we will consider the restrictions on non-essential retail and contact services, as well as the possibility of reopening standalone accommodation for Easter.
“In the last few months we have made great strides in introducing vaccines and the public health situation is improving every day thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of everyone. However, we’ve seen time and time again how quickly the situation can worsen within a few weeks, and with new flavors of the coronavirus, we can’t offer as much security and predictability as we’d like. Our approach will be to gradually relax the restrictions, listen to medical and scientific advice, and evaluate the effects of the changes we make over time.
“We will pay as much attention as possible to people and companies. If we believe it is safe to relax constraints, we will. What we don’t want to do is raise people’s hopes and expectations too soon and then disappoint them. We will coordinate with the other British nations when this is appropriate and makes sense for Wales. “