Can Suffolk's wedding industry bounce back this summer?

Emma is a wedding make up artist from Sudbury

Emma is a wedding make up artist from Sudbury - Credit: Matthew Harrison

Venue owners, planners, photographers, caterers and florists have been overwhelmed with enquiries since Boris Johnson revealed his plans for lifting lockdown restrictions and announced large-scale weddings could be back by June.

The industry has been largely mothballed since the first lockdown last March with only a small number of intimate weddings taking place over the past 12 months. So much so that some professionals within the sector have been forced to take on roles in other industries just to pay the bills.

Copdock Hall is a popular wedding venue just outside of Ipswich

Copdock Hall is a popular wedding venue just outside of Ipswich - Credit: Ian Evans

Make-up artist Emma Quinn, owner of Pretty Faces, began a part time caring job in June 2020, because the government grant wasn't enough to support her family, but she is hoping to get back to business this summer.

"Since the day June 21 was announced to be the date all restrictions could be lifted I've had about 10 emails every day from brides," she said. 

"It was absolutely bonkers but also really exciting — I'm looking forward to doing make up again because it's what I love and I'm really good at it."

Emma had to take on a job in the care industry to pay the bills this year

Emma had to take on a job in the care industry to pay the bills this year - Credit: Nicolette Johnson West

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Emma, from Sudbury, is booking in trials from April 12 in preparation for the spring and summer wedding season,, but says the admin is a huge part of the work and she still spends hours every day rearranging dates and updating plans.

She's still caring a couple of days a week and plans to continue doing so in the future as she has found it so rewarding.

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Ian Evans, owns Copdock Hall with wife Diane, is pretty confident that post June the industry will pick up again.

Ian and Diane Evans converted a Grade II-listed Elizabethan bar in Copdock into a beautiful wedding venue 

Ian and Diane Evans converted a Grade II-listed Elizabethan bar in Copdock into a beautiful wedding venue - Credit: Daniel Jones

"We have been absolutely flooded with enquiries since the announcement and had a lot of new couples get in touch too," he said.

"I am so relieved and it's like a big light at the end of the tunnel, because we can now envisage what the immediate future.

"The roadmap was a huge relief for us and all the suppliers, because before then there was a lot of doubt about when we'd be able to return to work."

Ian estimates around 85% of couples are still postponing for now but some are keen to go ahead as early as they can.

If the dates go to plan, from March 29 six people will be allowed to attend a wedding, including the couple.

From April 12 up to 15 people can attend, with that rising to 30 from May 17, then all restrictions lifted from June 21.

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