The thoughts of Llangollen’s vicar on the damage being caused to the £14 billion UK wedding industry by the Covid pandemic has been aired in a national newspaper’s website
The Mail online spoke to a group of wedding specialists affected by the lockdown including a hair and make-up artist, a florist, a photographer, a caterer and a cake maker.
Father Lee Taylor, who looks after St Collen’s and three other local churches, gave the priest’s perspective.
While venues are normally fully booked year-round with couples from all over the UK, he said the pandemic has left pews empty, with no help from the Government to cover the £8,000 a year the church makes from both weddings and collection plates.
He told Mail Online: “Needless to say, it’s been pretty stressful for me recently. There should have been 21 weddings here last year and around the same number planned for this year.
“Most of these couples are now considering postponing their wedding until 2022 because they want a big wedding with all their friends and family in attendance.
“The cancellation of weddings has not only impacted couples, their families and friends. It has also affected our local congregation to. Many of us are feeling dispirited and a sense of loss. Our local congregations look forward enormously to weddings because they like to feel part of all the preparations and the ceremony.
“They enjoy connecting with the couple and hearing thier story of how they met and why they think a church wedding is important. It also brings back memories for them too as they think back to their own wedding day.”
Father Lee added: “The cancellation and postponement of weddings has also affected our church financially. The churches income - to pay for bills, maintenance, repairs and mission work etc - relies on the collection plate and the fees we receive from weddings.
“This is our only source of income. Contrary to what many believe, we do not receive financially assistance from the government.
“There are a few weddings still going ahead this year but on a small scale. I have to follow strict guidelines and am having to consider altering certain components of the marriage service as well as work out a COVID-choreography: how the bride, groom, best man, father-of-the-bride, myself and witnesses will move around during the ceremony.
“The father-of-the-bride and the best man are unlikely to be from the same household and so this is one example of how it fundamentally alters the format of the marriage ceremony.
“Looking more positively, Zoom has been a great facility. I’ve offered pre-nuptial blessings to couples over Zoom on what would have been their wedding day. Families from all over UK and, more recently, Australia, have joined in on virtual ceremonies.”
* Father Lee has his next Mission Halls to Music Halls online singalong this Sunday at 6pm. Go to: https://www.facebook.com/LlanGroupChurches/