A couple who both work for the NHS were left ‘heartbroken’ by the news that their wedding reception would be cancelled, despite their guests being able to socially distance.
Cally Shenton and Dave Mainwearing, from Derbyshire, have spent two years planning their wedding, due to tak place later this month with an original guest list of 60 in the day and 120 in the evening, which had already been halved.
However, the pair were left devastated by the news Boris Johnson has scrapped plans to allow wedding receptions with 30 guests from August 1st, and appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the announcement.
Their wedding planner Sarah Davis also appeared on the show, and insisted it’s ‘unfair’ for receptions with a small number of guests to be cancelled when bars and restaurants remain open.
‘It really was heartbreaking,’ said Cally. ‘I was crying on the Friday when they released it, I was at work at the time.
‘I don’t know what to say about it, it’s all so heartbreaking. We’ve planned it for so long. When we looked round our venue we knew it would be the place to be and now we won’t be able to do that, it’s so hard.’
She went on to say that while they were ‘aware of the risk’ the virus creates, their slimmed down guest list easily would have been able to maintain a two metre distance in their large wedding marquee.
‘I mean it’s so unknown and because we work for the NHS, we were aware of the risk already.
‘That’s why we were so happy to know we were able do it in the marquee, where we could all social distance, even more than two metres and that’s why it’s even harder to know it’s all been taken away.’
Wedding planner Sarah, went on to argue it’s unreasonable for receptions with fewer guests in a venue with a large capacity, while cramped bars and restaurants are open.
‘We’ve been working with Cally and David all our couples for August, making sure all the households were sat together, said Sarah.
‘The venue is really big, it has a capacity of 250 to be seated and so 25 would have been more than able to social distance.
‘It’s heartbreaking for this to happen at the last hour, especially when you go into town and see bars and restaurants, and see people in much smaller spaces. It doesn’t seem very fair.’
Sarah went on to explain that while her venue could be classed as a bar or restaurant, she has received ‘no guidance’ on whether this could be used to hold the reception.
‘We can be classed as a restaurant and a hotel as well,’ said Sarah. ‘But It’s still a wedding reception and we do the ceremony here as well.
‘So while officially we have a restaurant, we don’t know if we’re able to use it as there’s no official guidelines on that.
‘If we can just do it as a restaurant or open our bar as a bar – we have no clarity or guidance on that.’
Sarah called the ‘worst thing’ about the announcement the lack of notice, arguing couples have spent years planning their big days and enlisting the help of local business, who will also suffer following the decision.
She said: ‘I think that’s the worst thing is these decisions are out out there with less than 24 hour notice.
‘It’s not just planned overnight these things are years in the planning and it affects all the suppliers as well. All those independant businesses, we use for our weddings.’
Mother-of-one Cally explained that the rules around weddings meant she was tempted not to get married at all, but says the pandemic has made her more determined to tie the knot with Dave.
‘To be honest at one point I was tempted to say we won’t get married at all,’ she explained. ‘It was hard to cut the numbers and then to say we can’t even have a meal together.
‘But Covid has shown that I do want to get married to Dave and we can have a a party at any point.’