Sandisiwe Mbhele
Lifestyle Journalist
3 minute read
20 Jul 2020
10:11 am

Wedding industry receives battering under Covid-19

Sandisiwe Mbhele

'My landlord even closes the doors of our workspace because we haven't paid. Even paying for my house rental has been tough.' The wedding industry opens up about how Covid-19 has affected them.

Wedding venue. Photo: iStock

The Wedding Professionals Association of South Africa is taking the South African government to court and wants their services returned under the Covid-19 lockdown. Reports by Wedding ETC and East Coast Radio say they want the industry to open following the regulations.

Wedding planner and founder of Splendid Wedding Company Eve Polett said the decision of the association was a tough one because they need to think of their clients and suppliers who were at risk attending these events.

Many industries have been hit hard by the lockdown, especially the events and catering services who have been unable to resume services and haven’t earned money in nearly four months.

“I have been in business for 13 years. We have a lot of discussions as wedding planners and we don’t feel it is the right time to fight the government on the regulations because of the virus. It’s not the government challenging and stopping us from working but its the reality to fight the pandemic.

“However it has adversely affected us because since March we haven’t been operating. We have to postpone a lot of weddings for the second part of the year which is not good. Financially it has been a huge knock, a number of our colleagues have had to close their business, and that obviously heartbreaking.”

The position for wedding venues and planners is a sticky situation if venues are opened up, but some do have 50 capacity venues are willing to implement the necessary protocols.

There have been weddings taking place that have violated the regulations, such as the KwaZulu-Natal couple who were arrested in April for flouting the Disaster Management Act and restrictions in Level 5 lockdown.

Another recent wedding in KZN where 25 people tested positive for Covid-19 after illegally attending the wedding.

Wedding planner to the Zavion Kotze events company has planned events from Somizi’s wedding to Mohale to Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Peters marrying former NFL star Tim Tebow earlier this year. He said since 15 March they have been we affected on all fronts and he supports the decision the association has taken to take the government to court.

“One thing to note is the significant lack of assistance from the government with regards to the wedding industry as a whole. We are however still afloat and are proud to still have all 91 of our employees on salaries across Zavion Kotze Events Company (ZKEC) and our wedding venue Inimitable.”

Kotze said they were supporting a mini-campaign #SupportSA: “Weddings suppliers all across the country have been offering clients a savings rate. I don’t think this is so much a reach out for suppliers to be able to make money, but rather to save wedding couples countrywide some money towards their wedding.”

He added the campaign was a way for couples to still have their celebrations in the future with a little less financial strain.

Polett said currently she was keeping afloat since May after starting an online flower delivery business which was already operational as a service under her wedding company.

“I am okay, as in I have been economically active for the past two months, however, my colleagues are not okay and they are really struggling.”

Wedding dress designer Vuyo Mokwena of Vooyhoh Designs said the lockdown has been incredibly hard for them as they have had to cancel their client’s designs because the events are not taking place.

“My landlord even closes the doors of our workspace because we haven’t paid. Even paying for my house rental has been tough. Luckily I share the space with my business partner, we make what we can, such as masks to make money. But it has been extremely tough.”

Before if their business was going through a slump they had the option of making graduation gowns and matric dance dresses, but that all has stopped.

Kotze wants the government to at least legalise weddings of up to 100 people under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

“The industry needs a win, even if government allows 50 people it is a step in the right direction.”

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