For anyone planning to get married in 2020 it’s been a bit of a whirlwind year.
With a nationwide lockdown and now, strict guidelines to adhere to, for many couples they’ve been left with no choice but to postpone their nuptials.
It’s not just the happy couples who have been affected either with many Liverpool venues and hotels relying heavily on weddings of all shapes and sizes throughout the year. That’s why North West firm Carrington’s Catering have set up a support network for couples (and venues) who have had their wedding’s impacted by coronavirus.
We caught up with Carringtons Director Helen Wynn to find out more…
Carringtons Catering have launched a new support network for those currently planning a wedding, can you tell us more about it?
“The last few months have been turbulent for the wedding industry, both for couples and their families who have spent months, if not years, planning every detail of their special day; through to suppliers and venues, many of whom have been unable to work at all as a result of Covid-19. With that in mind, we’re urging suppliers to come together to do the right thing and provide support and guidance for North West brides and grooms. We’ve had many emotional conversations with couples, based locally and from as far as Dubai and New Zealand, who have been both heartbroken and confused by the situation. They’ve been reaching out to us on an almost weekly basis as they’ve found comfort in having us as a sounding board.
“This inspired us to set up a support network whereby we could have those conversations with couples, even those not booked with us, to provide them with advice, guidance and to help them understand the situation beyond the news headlines. That started with a weekly Q&A across social media with a different supplier each week, but our emails are always open and if we can’t help then we can put you in touch with a supplier that can.”
For venues who have been impacted by the changing rules surrounding weddings, how can they help their customers?
“Communication is key here. I would advise venues to get in touch with their customers straight away. It’s easy to fall into the trap where no one wants to be the one to make the first move and it’s not always going to be an easy conversation, but they will be glad of the contact.
“Tell them about your plans as a venue covering things such as whether you’re open and when your policies will be reviewed. It’s also important to keep in touch and reach out at least every 6 to 8 weeks to offer reassurance. You might not have anything new to advise in terms of updates but it’s good for customers to know that you are there and are happy to answer any questions to put their mind at ease at this stressful time.”
What kind of adaptations are venues putting in place to be able to accommodate weddings and wedding receptions moving forward?
“All of the venues that we work with are now offering a seven-day events programme moving forward to 2021, so this opens up lots more dates to accommodate couples’ chosen season.
“Venues are spending a great deal of time adapting their services and implementing new guidelines to become Covid-safe event spaces, while making sure guests follow social distancing regulations. All venues have hand sanitizer and masks available, adequate signage and a more regular cleaning schedule in place, for example.
“Although restrictions around service, bars and food serving style are in place, we are working together with venues and couples to come up with smart alternatives, adapting our offering to fit the rules while still creating an enjoyable day.
“Venues understand it may not be the day their couples originally planned, and many are offering alternative spaces and competitive rates, and have their teams on hand to help to make the day special and fun.”
What advice would you give for venues who would normally host weddings as we look to the future?
“We are all sick of these words so I will get them out as quick as I can – “PIVOT” & “ADAPT”.
“The past few months have shown us all in the hospitality and events industry that we can never really know what’s coming next and with that in mind, all we can do is put the best plan in place so we can effectively deal with what the future may hold. Putting packages together for smaller weddings and adapting strategies that reduce the lead time for planning and allow for online discussions are all things that we need to consider.
“Strategies that make the planning process as much fun for the couple as possible, despite the circumstances, will really help to ease their stress.”
For more information on Carringtons Catering and their new support group visit their website.