The COVID contradictions putting weddings ‘in limbo’

 

WEDDING venues are being caught in a confusing web of contradictory COVID Safe plans as engaged couples stuck "in limbo" postpone plans for their perfect day.

Government regulations mean some venues can host 250 people at events but only 100 guests for a wedding, while other venues are forced to send people home due to differing limits between chapels and reception rooms.

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It's sparked calls for a review of COVID Safe plans for weddings, which are worth an estimated $700 million to the Queensland economy and 15 per cent of the state's tourism.

Engaged couple Jenny Thorpe and Eric Chak, both 28, of Carindale, have delayed their marriage due to COVID-19 restrictions. Picture: Liam Kidston.
Engaged couple Jenny Thorpe and Eric Chak, both 28, of Carindale, have delayed their marriage due to COVID-19 restrictions. Picture: Liam Kidston.

Operators have complained that weddings are unfairly restricted, with at-home ceremonies allowed dance floors but ones at commercial venues banned.

"You can have events up to 500 people, but weddings up to (only) 100," Hillstone sales and events manager Donika Mehmet said.

The cake used at the cutting ceremony cannot then be served to guests, which Ms Mehmet said was an "additional cost" to couples.

Maleny Manor typically hosts 130 weddings a year, but general manager Felicity Sharwood said this year they would have only 30 to 40.

"We have had a lot of rescheduled weddings based on the Victorian borders," Ms Sharwood said.

Common reasons for rescheduling were no dance floors and the limit of 100 people, and she said many couples were hesitant to lock in given the turbulent times.

"Weddings are booked 12 to 18 months in advance," Ms Sharwood said.

"No one casually takes 100 people out to dinner with a week's notice."

Another venue, Wedding at Tiffany's, can seat 100 people in its chapel but only 64 in its reception area, despite the latter having a larger floor area.

For Brisbane couple Jenny Thorpe and Eric Chak, who booked their wedding for May this year back in 2018, the coronavirus has turned their plans upside down.

"We have been waiting for a long time," Ms Thorpe said.

"It's been very stressful and created a lot of anxiety, just because we don't know what's going to happen."

Ms Thorpe and Mr Chak have postponed their wedding at Maleny Manor for the time being, with around 30 guests stuck overseas or in Victoria.

She said no dance floor and group photos were major reasons why she was hesitant to get married at present, and would make the decision on a date just 18 days beforehand.

"We're basically just in limbo waiting to see what happens."

Originally published as The COVID contradictions putting weddings 'in limbo'



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