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Coronavirus: Northern Ireland venues vow to do what they can for couples forced to put off weddings

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Countless weddings have now been postponed

Countless weddings have now been postponed

Pim Dalm of Clandeboye Lodge

Pim Dalm of Clandeboye Lodge

Countless weddings have now been postponed

The coronavirus is set to wreak havoc for engaged couples and wedding venues alike as venues across Northern Ireland are dealing with panicked enquiries from couples on what they should, or can, do about their upcoming weddings.

Stephen Perry, sales and marketing manger of Lough View Leisure hotels, said they were expecting to take a "financial hit" with cancellations and postponements of weddings.

Lough View Leisure have three hotels: Ten Square in Belfast, Loughshore Hotel in Carrick, and Chimney Corner in Newtownabbey.

"Yes, we will have to take a financial hit from weddings. We are losing budgeted revenue now and revenue that has been planned for. There are costs that will be affected."

Mr Perry said that they started getting enquiries from concerned couples last week about what would happen to their wedding and what the implications were if they had to cancel or postpone.

"To date, we haven't had any cancellations, but some couples have moved the date of their wedding. Our approach is to embrace every couple's concerns and treat them with empathy and everything we can do for them. It is painful for both venues and couples."

Pim Dalm, managing director of Clandeboye Lodge, said the situation resulting from the spread of Covid-19 and its impact on weddings was "challenging, dynamic and subject to rapid change with far-reaching consequences for many business sectors".

He said that the hospitality industry was no exception to any other business sector and that they were seeking urgent clarification from Government over Monday's statement with regard to participation in social activities. "Until we receive this clarification, business will continue as usual with the appropriate adjustments including extensive hygiene procedures and social distancing practices to keep our guests as safe as possible," said Mr Dalm.

Mr Perry said that they were planning to be as flexible as possible with couples, and also treat them with empathy.

"Particularly with weddings, this is something most people only do once in their lives and they have no experience of it and are not accustomed to doing it. It is a very emotional period for couples.

"Our approach for couples who have weddings booked with us is to be as flexible as we can and if couples pick a new date we will simply move the wedding to their new date without a financial implication. If they cancel, that is a separate matter," said Mr Perry.

Sinead Norton owns Swift Wedding and Event Services who supply both venues and couples for weddings. She said any of her clients who have had to reschedule their wedding because of the coronavirus have done so, and she has had no cancellations.

"There is quite a bit of paralysis at the minute because there is no directive from the Government on what to do. Thankfully, we have been able to accommodate any couples who had postponed their wedding so far and we have been happy to do so.

"At the minute our message to all our brides is if your wedding is going ahead, our team will go ahead. We will move mountains to help our brides," said Ms Norton.

Belfast Telegraph