Venue Bookings

The future of UK weddings and events.

The past 18 months have been unprecedented and the hardest any of us working in the wedding and events industry has ever known. I am proud of our perseverance and resilience to adapt, finding new ways to operate under the restrictions, keeping our staff and customers safe and ensuring a return to some normality. It has been heartwarming to see venues re-open and witness the return of full size weddings and events as our industry slowly bounces back. We are an industry used to evolution and change. We are not adverse to trying new things. In fact we embrace innovation and novelty, always looking for the next unique experience and opportunity. New trends come and go, advances are made in technology and with them the needs of our customers. As we continue to adjust to life with Covid and make plans for the future with more certainty, what does the landscape look like for weddings and events?

future of weddings and events

Virtual Technology

Before lockdown #1, I had never heard of Zoom or Microsoft Teams.  I had a familiarity with Skype and Facetime from my years living overseas and welcomed then, as I do now, the opportunities it created to maintain face-to-face contact with people from a distance.  Virtual meetings are now the norm and, although not necessarily liked by all, they have enabled venues to maintain client contact and engagement throughout lockdown.  Many of us are raring to embrace (literally!) the opportunity to meet in person again but for many, time poor or unable to travel easily, this opportunity to meet face-to-face remotely will continue to be invaluable. 

Many venues have already been capitalising on virtual-tour technology and this has been crucial in enabling sales activity to continue throughout lockdown.  This will also continue to be a valuable sales and marketing tool, enabling venues to be accessed by customers based overseas or further afield.  Make sure your tours are up-to-date and show your venues at their very best with crisp clear imagery.  

virtual weddings and events

I have also been impressed by the technology available for creating virtual events.  Venues, production companies and entertainment suppliers have collaborated to create some innovative virtual event platforms enabling all manner of events including exhibitions, conferences and parties to be successfully transferred into the virtual arena.  Venues have been recreated digitally to create an immersive experience without guests having to leave their house.  Food and drink can be couriered to your home so that you can enjoy a live culinary experience, guests can network with each other remotely in chat-rooms, guests can participate in live presentations from 1000s of miles away and watch live entertainment from their sofa.  Whilst it is not cheap, this technology negates the problem of managing social distancing and enables a much larger guest list and participation.  This technology also has the capacity to be used to create hybrid events allowing guests the choice to attend in-person or remotely but still participate fully.  Corporate events organisers will be keen to continue to access this technology to reach overseas customers and associates, particularly whilst travel remains limited.  Now is the time for venues to reach out to their technical suppliers and continue to explore virtual event opportunities. 

As we become increasingly geographically spread out, the ability to unite people wherever they are is very powerful.  So many couples miss the opportunity to have overseas friends and family attend their marriage celebrations yet now we can livestream the day for all to see.  Venues with the technology and connectivity to enable this will be increasingly in demand as travel restrictions continue. 

streaming live weddings and events

Outdoor Spaces

For many, the ability to get outdoors for exercise, gardening, working or socialising has been a lifeline over the past year.  Outdoors is safer, less-restricted and confined, with more space to circulate and breathe fresh air.  The outdoor creates a feeling of wellbeing.  If your venue offers outdoor spaces, make sure you promote it as much as your indoor spaces.  Value and maintain your outdoor spaces as much as your indoor spaces.  Show clients how they can optimise their weddings and events with use of your outdoor spaces.  An outdoor wedding ceremony, a picnic or BBQ, garden games, alfresco music.  The great British weather will always require us to make a ‘Plan B’ but enabling people to take their event outside whenever they can will be worthwhile.

outdoor weddings and events
Venetia Norrington/ Tipi Spaces

Planning laws have been relaxed this year lengthening the usual 28-day period for temporary structures without planning permission to 56 days or longer in some circumstances (speak to your local council).  This has sent the demand for marquees and other temporary structures through the roof.  Not only do they enable hospitality venues to open under current restrictions in all weathers but they also enable smaller venues to increase their capacity.  A small country home with limited indoor capacity but a large garden can considerably increase their capacity and develop their share of the wedding market with the addition of a Summer marquee. 

Landowners are increasingly exploring ways to diversify and may not yet be prepared to convert a farm building into a wedding venue.  This is a great opportunity to put up a tent and test the market.  This also opens opportunities for venues to provide overnight accommodation in the form of glamping.  Or glamp-sites to offer a party venue for their glampers.  Speak to your local marquee suppliers about a collaboration or maybe it’s time to invest in your own marquee structure?

accommodation for weddings and events

Anticipated changes to the marriage laws are also likely to create more freedom for venues to utilise outdoor spaces for marriage ceremonies.  The Law Commission has proposed reforms to the current laws that will enable more flexibility for couples to marry how they wish without the constraints of a registered or licensed venue.  No date has been confirmed but the pandemic has certainly identified the need and increased public demand for this change.      

outdoor wedding ceremonies

Overseas Travel

Sadly we will have to wait a while longer before we are able to travel without restriction again.  This gives the UK wedding and event market an advantage.  An inability to plan overseas weddings or corporate events means that there will be an increased demand on the domestic market.  Many people have been working remotely and whilst for some this has worked well, I foresee a need for companies to bring their teams together to raise morale, restore mental wellbeing, team-building workshops, corporate away days and conferences.  Businesses will be looking for unique experiences for their clients and teams.  What experiences can your venue offer onsite or off-site nearby?  Orienteering, archery, sailing, survival challenge, treasure hunt, escape room, obstacle races etc.  Do you have the technological capability to facilitate conferences?  Screens, PA systems, projectors etc. 

With tropical beach weddings off the cards for now, couples not prepared to wait, will also be looking for unique and unusual UK wedding venues to fulfil their dreams.  How can you inspire a couple with wanderlust to book your venue?  An intrepid menu? A waterfront ceremony?  A yurt in the garden? Exotic entertainment?     

exotic wedding cocktails

Micro Weddings and Events

The economic consequences of the pandemic are also likely to have an impact on consumer spending around weddings and events.  There will continue to be a strong desire for people to meet and get married however it is likely that they may continue to embrace the smaller, more intimate nuptial event.  How can your venue continue to meet this demand for micro weddings and events?  Do you have a smaller space that you can offer to more intimate gatherings which would otherwise be lost in a vast barn or hall?  Couples are also recognising that micro weddings create an opportunity for more extravagant wedding plans.  Instead of limiting their spend to essentials they can incorporate more luxurious styling elements, expand their Wedding Breakfast menu, upgrade their beverage choice etc.  What ways can you enable your couples to enhance their wedding at your venue?      

micro weddings and events
Venetia Norrington / Tipi Spaces

Digital Agility

The biggest outcome of the pandemic is the realisation that we are living in a digital world.  We still need personal interaction from time-to-time but technology has created the convenience of being able to take action remotely.  Venues must make sure that they are up-to-date with their digital communication methods to access their remote audience.   Up-to-date websites and communication methods, digital booking processes, a strong social media presence and continued investment in digital technology is required if you are to continue to find an audience in an ever expanding and advancing wedding and events market. 

digital communication

Our world is constantly changing and our customers ever evolving.  Being able to adapt, change, pivot and flex is crucial if we are to keep up with changing consumer demands.  Venues must continue to work with their customers, listen to their needs, compromise where possible and adapt when necessary.  The customer is king and only by acknowledging this will we truly be able to ensure we give them the best experience.

More information about how I can help your venue to adapt in this changing landscape can be found here.

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Top Table

Micro Weddings: The case for small, Covid secure, sustainable weddings.

It’s February 2021 and we are in lockdown.  Whilst we are waiting on the Government to make an announcement, I am optimistic that by Spring the UK will be back open for weddings and events to take place.  Vaccines are being rolled out swiftly and the number of Covid cases is now on the downward trajectory.  Whilst I would love to confidently say that we will be back to large parties and dancing with abandon by the Summer, the likelihood is that for the rest of this year we will still be operating with caution.  But this doesn’t mean that love or marriage is cancelled for another year!   Now, more than ever, is the time to embrace Covid secure, sustainable, micro weddings. Here’s why…

Marriage doesn’t need to mean excess.

For thousands of years, marriages and wedding ceremonies have been happening every day, all over the World.  They are a gathering of family and friends to celebrate your love for one another and formalise your union.  However over the years, it seems weddings have become less about the union and more about the accompanying frivolities.  The wedding industry is now a multi-billion pound industry as couples become ever more imaginative and creative in their planning of their big day.  Expectations, extravagances and guest lists run high as we seek the most perfect, Instagram-able wedding. Yet 2020 changed all this and the wedding industry is fighting for survival as it reels from the effects of Covid 19 government restrictions.  I lament the loss of income for myself and so many of my friends and colleagues but part of me also welcomes the opportunity to create more sustainable, micro weddings.   

Two Gold Wedding Rings on a dictionary definition of marriage

The evolution of big weddings.

As humans have evolved, we have become ever more competitive; seeking to have the first, biggest and best of everything.  Our weddings are no exception.  Everyone and anyone must attend for us to celebrate our love match.  Our wedding must be personal, unique and innovative… and of course on trend.  Wedding trends have evolved significantly over the last few hundred years.  Until the Victorian era and the rise of the Middle Class, weddings were much more subdued affairs.  As the industrialised world swiftly advanced and became wealthier, weddings started to become a statement of success.  A large wedding was seen as a sign of significant wealth.  Parents would save for years to be able to afford to give their beloved daughters a wedding they could be proud of.  The only exception being wartime and post-war weddings when speed was often of the essence and severe rationing precluded any significant feasting.  Micro weddings out, mega weddings in!

Bigger doesn’t always mean better.

But bigger doesn’t always mean better. Look at your guest list.  80, 100, 120, 150, 200 + people.  Perhaps a fraction of whom you know intimately, or well enough to spend any regular time with.  A small number who are immediate family.  Certainly too many for you to spend any meaningful time with on your wedding day.  The beauty of micro weddings is that you can reduce your guest list to only your most nearest and dearest and you have a genuine reason for not inviting Great Auntie Mable who you’ve only met once in your life!  You can spend  quality time with the people who mean the most to you rather than a fleeting word or two.  It also means that you can let your imagination and creativity run a bit more wild, unconstrained by the limitations of a big crowd.  Your wedding breakfast doesn’t need to be a simple three-course meal.  Unleash your culinary desires and choose that 5,6,7,8 course feast you have been dreaming of.  Satisfy your taste buds and go for quality over price point.   No need to skimp on the décor.  With less tables and space to adorn you can opt for more lavish flower arrangements, upgrade your tableware and add embellishment.  Small can still be entertaining too.  Dancing may be restricted but your ears and eyes can still enjoy the sounds of live musicians and performers.  Smaller numbers also opens up the possibility of more interactive activities.  Ask guests to prepare a short speech, recite their favourite poem or perform something.  Or how about introducing a game or activity for everyone to participate in together?  Think fun, dinner party over big, dance party.  And if you are worried about anyone missing out, film it!  Or better still invite them to join in virtually and stream the fun live to them at home.

Micro Weddings
Lily Rose Photography

The difficulty of postponing.

Couples are facing a tough decision.  Get married anyway under restrictions or postpone to a date in the future when restrictions may have eased enough to allow the wedding day you originally planned.  Postponement is problematic.  The government are yet to advise when larger weddings will be able to resume.  This makes re-setting a date for your wedding very difficult and the likelihood high that you will need to postpone again. Faced with an indeterminable wait and perhaps the need to move on into married life is it time to consider a more intimate but just as special wedding day?  Reducing your guest list is difficult.  Some of us come from large families and have lots of close friends.  Choosing who makes the cut might be a hard decision to make.  Ultimately it is your day and it should be your choice how your celebrate your marriage.  But what is the most important factor?  Why are you getting married? Is it the act of marriage union?  Is it the celebration with all your family and friends?  Sometimes the answer is both.  Does it suit you to wait? 

Micro weddings are more cost effective

Weddings are expensive.  The average cost of a wedding in the UK in 2019 was over £30,000.  Usually, the larger the wedding, the larger the cost.  With economic uncertainty affecting all of us, maybe it is time to rein in our spending and reduce our guest lists.  If finance is less of an issue, a smaller guest list also means that your original budget will stretch further.  Perhaps that dream honeymoon destination (when we can travel!) is more of a reality.  The wedding dress you have had your eye on but weren’t sure you could afford is now withing arms reach.  You can focus on enjoying an exceptional culinary experience rather than figuring out how to feed the 5000. 

Wed Magazine / Suzanne Neville

Micro weddings are greener.

Thanks to the efforts of Greta Thunberg, Sir David Attenborough and others, there is also a rising environmental consciousness.  Whilst wedding suppliers have made great strides in the last few years to reduce waste, recycle more and reduce their carbon footprint; weddings still carry a significant environmental impact.  Travel to and from weddings, outfits that will likely only be worn once, flowers flown in from Holland or South Africa etc.  There are of course lots of things you can do to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding but the best way is to reduce the number of guests.  Smaller is greener.

Micro weddings will sustain the wedding industry.

Whilst we sit in perpetual limbo waiting for the next government announcement to signify the survival or further destruction of the wedding and events industry, those of you who have decided to embrace the micro wedding are helping to sustain the wedding industry.  Whilst not always as lucrative for some wedding suppliers, your micro wedding will help us pay our bills, keep food on our tables and a roof over our heads.  The government says we are an unsustainable industry.  I say we are a vigorous, agile and determined industry of creative, imaginative, dynamic and innovative people, many of whom have not received a penny in compensation from the government who have forced the closure of our livelihoods.  It pains us to be unable to provide you with the wedding of your dreams.  We are fighting tirelessly to persuade the government to tell us when weddings and events can happen again so that we can plan for all our futures.  We have worked hard to ensure all our venues and services are Covid secure, putting in place robust hygiene and social distancing measures.  The popularity of marriage hasn’t changed in thousands of years and has adapted to be inclusive to all.  We know big celebrations will be back; we just need to support one another until then so that when they do we will be around to throw the mother of all celebrations!      

Perspectives Photography / Kathryn Clarke-Mcleod Photography/ Nova Wedding Photography

Ultimately, it is your day and your decision. How you spend your money and celebrate your wedding is entirely your choice.  I completely understand wanting to have all your friends and family witness you marry the love of your life and celebrate with a great party afterwards.  I did and I don’t regret it.  But I also didn’t want to wait for someone to give me permission.  So maybe it’s time to look to the positives and embrace Covid secure, sustainable, cost effective, micro weddings.  The wedding industry will thank you!   

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Events in 2021

Planning Events in 2021: What to expect.

I am watching the latest wave of Covid play out in the UK and tentatively planning events in 2021.  The effect of Covid on events in 2020 was catastrophic and no doubt we will continue to feel the pain throughout 2021.  2020 took us by surprise.  We were not prepared.  This year we are experienced and we know the score.  Vaccines are being rolled out and, provided this momentum continues and we can get the all important R-number under control, it is expected that restrictions will begin to ease by March.  I am optimistic.  Testing is quicker and more widely available and tracking systems are more robust.  The number of events I am seeing being planned for later this year shows others are too.  I also see a strength of public will.  No one wants another year stuck at home.     

Events in 2021
Stephanie Stevens Photography

How events in 2021 will look.

Any event takes a reasonable amount of planning.  The size and complexity of the event dictates how much.  Whilst we wait to hear when and how far the government intends to lift restrictions we must be strategic in our planning.  Until we have securely controlled Covid, and its variants, and vaccinated sufficient numbers, we are unlikely see a return to the free-spirited events of pre-2020. 

Whilst I do not have a crystal ball, the likelihood is that events in 2021 will continue to look a lot like they did in 2020 with similar restrictions:

1. Testing/ vaccinations/ temperature checks. With testing becoming more widely available we may see event organisers asking attendees to provide proof of a negative covid test prior to entry or evidence that they have been vaccinated.  This will help give confidence that events are safe and not potential covid spreaders.  Temperature checks of all staff and guests on arrival will also continue.

2. Track and Trace. As part of the registration process, organisers will need to ensure that they are continuing to record contact details of all participants. 

3. Masks. If you are a planning an event indoors then, as we have seen within retail, travel and other hospitality, masks will continue to be obligatory clothing.   

Events in 2021
Stephanie Stevens Photography

4. Social distancing. Venue capacities will continue to be restricted to allow for social distancing.  Staggered start and end times and one-way systems will be the norm to assist safe crowd control.

5. Food and drink service. Consideration will still be needed on how you safely serve food and drink.  Pre-plated food, pre-poured drinks, tray service and table service will continue to enable reduced contact.      

6. Hygiene. Strict hygiene protocols have always been a factor in event planning but we have seen an increased necessity for hygiene amongst event attendees as well as staff.  Planning sufficient hand washing stations and providing plenty of hand sanitiser will continue to be essential.

Events in 2021

7. Outdoor. Planning outdoor events is always problematic in the UK.  The weather is unpredictable at anytime of the year however Covid has increased problems for planning indoor events.  Outdoor events now seem more attractive for gatherings as they considerably reduce the potential spread of Covid. This helps instill confidence too.

8. Entertainment. Performances will still be restricted in size in terms of the number of participants.  Staging to allow social distancing between performers and the audience will continue to be a consideration and ensuring all performances involving singing take place outside or in a well ventilated space.  Dancing shoes will still be regulated to the back of the wardrobe.     

9.Virtual. Lots of us have embraced the virtual world, creating ingenious platforms to stage entertaining and engaging events and stream them live into peoples homes.  These will continue to be an important player in the events market as some members of the public may still feel wary about venturing out to live events.  It also creates opportunities to reach overseas audiences without leaving our shores.  Travel may still take time to open up as other countries around the world take longer to roll out vaccines or tackle Covid.  The rising environmental consciousness can also be met by continuing to provide virtual event opportunities.  I look forward to seeing how technology and ideas evolve to support this new events market.

Events in 2021

10. Festivals. The cancellation of Glastonbury came as a blow but not a surprise.  It is more than likely that other festivals will follow suit.  It will be difficult to stage large-scale festivals whilst maintaining the level of hygiene and social distancing required.  Like many other events, festivals rely on an economy of scale.  Cutting capacity to meet social distancing requirements whilst still providing participants the same level of experience would simply not be cost effective.    

11. Weddings. I expect weddings to continue to be restricted to smaller numbers this year too.  It has been heartening to see so many couples embrace their micro weddings.  2020 was so disappointing for all of us yet I feel that 2021 is the year we accept our fate and be grateful for the opportunities we have.  Weddings are what you make of them. Small or big; your wedding day will still be a memorable occasion.  Let’s keep the parties for when we can dance freely, unadorned by masks, and hug all our loved ones with self-abandonment.   

Events in 2021
Nova Photography / Upton Barn

Surviving 2021

Measure your expectations.  Live events will be able to open fully by 2022 if we cooperate now, get vaccinated, keep our distance and remind others to do the same.  Use your experience of 2020 to plan a strategy to survive 2021.  I would like the UK Government to offer the events industry compensation and insurance against further cancellations and will continue to raise my voice with the rest of you in demanding this funding.  However, I ceased long ago to have any expectation of our government doing the right thing.  Therefore it is down to us to support one another where we can, combine our collective talents and resources and together find a way through another year of Covid and look forward to a brighter tomorrow. 

Events in 2021

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Outdoor weddings

Advice for Venue Owners – How to help your venue survive Covid 19

These are unprecedented times.  No one quite knows what is around the corner or how long we will be living with COVID 19.  What we do know is that the UK wedding and event industry is being severely affected by the continued government restrictions on social gatherings.  Following the devastating government announcement this week, maximum number of guests who can attend a wedding is 15 and all other gatherings are limited to a maximum 6.  Food and drink can be served whilst guests are seated.  Mingling is not allowed and dancing is out of the question.  It looks like weddings and events will be restricted for many more months to come, so how do you help your venue survive Covid 19? 

Bride and Groom with a bouquet

1. Check the guidelines

What can you still do?  How can you continue to host weddings and events?  What special measures do you need to put in place?  Do you need to make any further investment to make your venue Covid Secure?

2. Talk to your customers

Contact your customers.  How are they feeling?  What do they need?  What do they want?  Do they want to proceed with their wedding with limited numbers? Do they want to postpone their wedding? Check your terms and conditions, particularly your refund policy.  If your customer cancels their wedding, can you afford to offer them a full refund?  Do you have dates available in 2021 if they ask to postpone?  You don’t need to give them an answer straight away but you do need to listen to them and collate all the information.  This will help you formulate a plan and help your business survive Covid 19. 

3. Make a plan

We work in hospitality and our business is to delight our customers.  Our business thrives on our ability to do this.  Our hands are tied through no fault of our own and our customers are disappointed.  How can you turn this around?  You need to fulfil your customers’ expectations as far as possible without jeopardy to your business, reputation or future custom.  This might mean offering them alternative dates or even providing them with a full refund.  Once you have spoken to all your customers and understood their needs, you need to work out how best to match their expectations whilst ensuring you help your venue survive Covid 19. 

4. Minimise your outgoings

It is important that you understand your financial position.  How much cash you have on account, any debts or income still to accrue.  Write a list of all your expenses for the rest of this financial year.  Your fixed costs and your variable costs.  Are any costs negotiable?  What financial help is available to you?  Speak to your financial adviser or accountant.  What is your income vs expenses?  Will you break even?  Will you return a profit?  Will you make a loss?    

5. Maximise your income

Once you know your position look at the gaps.  What dates do you still have to fill this year and next?  What opportunities do you have?  Do you have accommodation available?  Do you have an in-house chef? Do you have a big garden or outdoor space?  How can you diversify your existing business to recoup any lost revenue and help your business survive Covid 19?

6. Talk to your colleagues

Speak to your fellow venue owners and suppliers.  Share insights, experience and skills.  Yes they maybe your competitors but they are not your enemy and this is a time to help and support each other.  Are any struggling to accommodate weddings or events?  Do you have an opportunity to recommend their venue to customers you are unable to accommodate?  By helping others you may help your venue survive Covid 19.

7. Stay engaged with your customers

Keep in regular communication.  Keep up your social media engagement.  Regularly update your website.  Show the world you are still in business, that you want to welcome guests again and that you are following the guidance.  Post relevant positive news, show your customers how hard you are working to re-open your venue.  Remind customers of happier times with images from past weddings or events.  We will be back!  

8. Keep the pressure on the government

Right now it feels like our industry is being ignored so we need to collectively voice our concerns and our needs and make them aware of the situation we are facing and the help we need to survive.  Write to your MP.  Write to the media.  Tell people.  Talking and sharing helps raise a collective consciousness.  We cannot survive alone so let’s work together and help your venue survive Covid 19.

Cheers guests toasting the bride and groom wedding speeches

2020 has been a terrible year for the whole wedding and events industry and it looks likely that the current situation will continue over the Winter.  But I am optimistic that we will return and Summer 2021 will be a bumper.  So just hang on in there.  Stay positive.  Work together.  Listen to and communicate with your customers.  Reassure them that you are there for them.  Support one another and we will ride out this storm and help your business survive Covid 19.

For more tips on how to make your venue Covid Secure have a look at my earlier blog post here.

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21 Tips To Make Your Wedding Venue COVID Secure


How to prepare your venue for weddings and events in a socially distanced world…

As venues start opening again across the UK and begin hosting smaller more intimate weddings and events, if you haven’t already, now is an important time to ensure you have planned and prepared to make your wedding venue Covid Secure.  I am optimistic that we will see a return to larger weddings and live events in 2021 but the evidence suggests that we will be doing so with COVID 19 looming in the background.  If we are to ensure the survival of the wedding and events industry then it is vital that we keep our venue staff and guests safe and avoid another lockdown. 

Over the past few months I have read and listened to advice and guidance from a number of different sources and have prepared a checklist to help you make your wedding venue Covid Secure and keep you, your staff and your guests safe.  Links can be found at the bottom of the page.    

  1. HSE Guidance – The Health and Safety Executive1 exist to keep us safe at work and play.  Their website is filled with advice and guidance to help you to make your wedding venue COVID Secure.
  1. Risk Assessment You are responsible by law to protect your staff and anyone affected by your work (eg. guests) and have a duty to manage all risk associated with the services you and your employees are performing.   To do this you must undertake a risk assessment which will now need to be reviewed to ensure you have considered all the additional health and safety risks associated with COVID 19.  The HSE has templates2 available on their website to help get you started. 
  1. Certification – Accreditation goes a long way to reassuring your staff and the public that your venue is safe and that they will be protected whilst working and visiting your premises.  There are a number of industry organisations who offer recognised accreditation including MIA (Meetings Industry Association)3 and Visit Britain4.
  1. Policies – Make sure all your policies are up-to-date (eg. health and safety, evacuation, PPE, staff hygiene) and incorporate any new social distancing or hygiene measures.  Changes must be communicated to your staff and all documents should be accessible to them.  
  1. Insurance – Does your insurance cover you for any loss of business arising from future lockdowns or event cancellations due to COVID 19? Is your public liability insurance up to date?  
Wedding venue covid secure
  1. Emergency Planning – Update your evacuation policy, considering how people can safely exit the building with social distancing measures.
  1. Staff Communication – Communicate with all your staff and ensure they are aware of your policies and procedures both when selling your venue and delivering events.  Update them of any changes you have made to make your wedding venue COVID Secure as soon as possible.  Provide training as necessary and appropriate written and verbal guidance.  Work together and be open to their feedback.  Well placed signage will help serve as a reminder to procedures.  Consider additional language, cultural and physical needs.
  1. Guest Communication – Ensure that all guests visiting your venue have information in advance explaining your social distancing, PPE and hygiene policies.  Reassure them that you will do your utmost to keep them safe and that your wedding venue is COVID Secure.   Provide well placed signage.  Consider additional language, cultural and physical needs. 
  1. Contracts – Examine the terms of your contracts and ensure they are up to date including your cancellation policy and any changes to your other policies including contact tracing and statement of health requirements.  With so many events cancelled and postponed, clients will want reassurance that they don’t stand to lose money in the event of another lockdown.  This will also stand as further evidence of your due diligence in ensuring their safety.  
  1. Venue Cleaning and Disinfection – Make sure your venue is cleaned before, after and during the event.  Schedule regular cleaning procedures throughout the event and document a detailed disinfection regime before and after each event.  Public Health England gives further advice5.
wedding venue covid secure
  1. Venue Capacity – Consider your safe capacity for all types of events that you offer whilst observing social distancing guidelines.  
  1. Temperature Checking – Invest in a temperature gun that can read staff and guests temperatures on arrival.  A high temperature of 38ºC or above is a symptom of COVID 19.  
  1. Social Distancing – Consider all guest and staff routes around your venue.  Put in place one-way systems using floor markers, stanchions and other furniture.  Consider all entrance and exit routes and ensure all staff and guests can observe social distancing safely and securely.  
  1. Personal Hygiene (Staff) – Document a detailed personal hygiene regimen for all staff including regular hand washing.  Provide hand sanitisation stations and hand washing facilities. Provide all necessary PPE equipment and instructions on how to use it.  Limit unnecessary contact with potential contaminants.  
  1. Personal Hygiene (Guests) – Provide hand washing facilities and hand sanitiser as well as signage to remind guests to regularly clean their hands.  Consider providing face masks and other PPE equipment.  Limit unnecessary contact with potential contaminants.
wedding venue covid secure
  1. Food Service – Avoid all self-service of food and drink.  Wherever possible, provide staff to serve pre-plated food and drinks.
  1. Track and Trace – Ask the event organiser to provide an advance guest list including name and contact details of all participants.  Check these details with guests on arrival and retain for 21 days so that you can notify them in the event of a subsequent COVID outbreak.  All contact details should be destroyed three weeks after the event.
  1. Review – Regularly review all your policies and procedures.  Discuss with staff and clients after each event and ask for their feedback.  
  1. Stay Flexible – The situation is constantly changing.  Stay up-to-date with the latest guidance and advice and be prepared to adapt and alter your policies and procedures to keep your wedding venue COVID Secure. 
  1. Event Suppliers – Ensure you have notified them of any relevant changes to your policies and procedures and review theirs to ensure they are COVID Secure.  
  1. Contingency – Are you prepared for another lockdown?  Many businesses were unprepared for the lockdown in March.  As restrictions ease, temporary localised lockdowns may occur.  What procedures can you put in place now to prepare for this scenario?   

wedding venue upton barn

This is by no means a complete or exhaustive list but based on my own judgement, reading, research and experience.  Hopefully more guidance will be provided by the Government if and when restrictions ease further(!).  The policies and procedures you need to put in place will be specific to your venue and the type of service and events you offer.  Now more than ever it is good to talk.  Speak to your colleagues across the industry.  What are their plans?  What measures are they implementing to make their wedding venue COVID Secure?  How are they intending to re-open safely?  We are all in this together so let’s help one another.  

If you would like any further advice or support then I am available to help.  Please do get in touch.


Here’s to hosting events again very soon.

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