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Wedding Emporium: 'It's been a very tough time for us and the sector as a whole'

Laura Hopkins, of the Wedding Emporium in Peterborough, is confident that the wedding sector will return to its usual success as lockdown restrictions ease – but says it will "take some time" to reverse the damage of the past 12 months.
Weddings: 'It's been a very tough time for us and the sector as a whole' (Photo: Supplied)

Weddings came to a halt in March last year, with a handful of summer celebrations given the green-light to continue with numerous restrictions in place. 

However, as lockdown begins to ease and weddings are slowly able to get back to normal, Laura and her husband Gavin, owners of The Wedding Emporium, are hopeful that their business venture will continue its journey to success.

Looking back over the last year, Laura notes that it's been a "tough time" for not only the couple, but the sector as a whole, adding: "The Budget had some good news for small limited companies like ourselves, but only after almost a year of falling through the cracks in terms of support." 

Laura added that she believes the sector won't be back to normal until summer 2022, but she doesn't believe it's all bad news for summer 2021. 

With key dates for lifting the lockdown including weddings and the possibility of restriction-free celebrations by June 21, Laura is optimistic about this year. 

She said: "Couples have experienced a year of frustration and delays. When things open up, they will pull out all the stops to have a wonderful day to share with their family and friends."

Laura and Gavin are now focusing on two new initiatives aimed at bringing suppliers and couples together.

They are launching a new wedding search engine in April, providing a convenient way for service providers to connect with couples. It will feature information about suppliers’ service, contact details, photos and videos. It will also enable couples to create a shortlist of suitable suppliers.

Also in April is the announcement of winners in the Wedding Emporium’s Wedding Industry Awards. The awards will recognise the contribution of business owners within the wedding industry during these challenging times.

Laura said: "Lots of care has gone into the scoring of wedding suppliers within each region within the UK. It’s our way to create public recognition of the tremendous work done by the best suppliers. It’s especially important than we give the wedding industry a boost and raise morale after such a tough time for the sector."

In January, the Wedding Emporium’s plans to sign a lease on retail premises in Peterborough were put on hold due to lockdown restrictions, which brought forward the development of the online directory. 

However, it remains Laura's goal to have a unique wedding showroom where couples can meet the suppliers they need in one place. 

She said: "A number of suppliers are eager to be a part of the new showroom. It will give them a presence in a prime location, but without the cost or commitment of taking on dedicated premises. Regular events will create a real buzz and connect suppliers with couples."

If you're a supplier who wants to get involved, contact Laura here