Madrid / The wedding sector foresees losses of 3,500 million euros in Spain as a result of the confinement due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the prospects are not at all rosy, given that couples prefer to postpone their commitments until at least 2021, to the He hopes that the “uncomfortable” Social Security measures will be relaxed.
The territories in phase 2 of the de-escalation plan, which cover 47% of the population, can begin to celebrate weddings with a maximum capacity of 100 people in outdoor spaces or 50 in closed spaces, although they will be conditioned to the hygiene and protection measures established by the health authorities.
Specifically, it will be mandatory to maintain the social distance between the guests, the use of a mask and hand hygiene. During the banquet, the proper separation between tables must be guaranteed and the service personnel must wear protective screens.
These and other limitations have led many couples to decide to postpone the date of their marriage, which has meant significant losses for professionals living in the bridal sector, who have already suffered multiple cancellations due to the more than two-month hiatus that has meant confinement.
In Spain, 170,000 weddings are held each year, according to the INE. Most of them are concentrated between April and October and the average budget is around 20,500 euros, according to data from a study prepared by the Bodas.net portal in collaboration with ESADE and Google.
The sector, which generates some 350,000 direct jobs, invoices around 6,000 million euros a year and calculates losses of around 3,500 million due to the coronavirus crisis, according to the aforementioned portal.
“Many of these companies are small or self-employed that do not have a large margin and stopping the business for more than two months can mean having to close, that is why we have asked the Government for attention on this sector,” Nina Pérez, CEO from Bodas.net.
One of the main victims is the catering sector, which has also been affected by the cancellation of communions and which employs some 40,000 people, including permanent staff and support personnel. From the Hospitality Federation, they point out that weddings represent around 1,500 million euros in the sector’s turnover.
Currently, there are some 4,500 establishments that are dedicated almost exclusively to banquets, to which we should add the hotel lounges. Apart from weddings, they also celebrate baptisms, communions, congresses and company events.
“They are living a Dantesque situation. They have had to suspend the first semester of the year, relocate the weddings of April, May and June. We hope that in July all those weddings that have endured despite the lack of certainty and certainty and that will be normalized, will be celebrated again, although it will take a long time to do so, ”says José Luis Yzuel, President of Hospitality of Spain.
The sector will have to adapt to the new situation, which is expected to lead to a decrease in the number of guests because “people are afraid” and it is “an opportunity” to avoid incurring the costs of an invitation to a wedding.
“Everything is going to come together a bit and I think there will be a significant decline,” says Yzuel.
One of the establishments that it intends to endure is the Miravalle complex, in Guadarrama (Madrid). This family business with more than 50 years of history celebrates between 125 and 150 weddings a year, 90% between April and October. The health crisis has hit them especially since 80% of their net sales come from the celebration of weddings. Currently, its 14 permanent employees are in an ERTE and they expect all of them to join next July, although they are still not clear if they will do it full time. “In principle we will not return until we are in what they have called‘ new normal ’, since all events have been canceled or postponed until July. Therefore, our intention if nothing goes wrong is to open at the beginning of that month ”, explains José Luis Jiménez, director and owner of Miravalle.
Juan José Nieto, owner of the El Rincón de Castilla estate in Béjar (Salamanca), will not celebrate any wedding this year. Many of those that were closed for this summer could not be postponed until next year. “Weddings are hired for a long time and it is not so easy to locate them,” he says.
Although these celebrations account for approximately half of its turnover, it has a small tourist complex on the farm that it hopes to be able to exploit, relying on the revival of tourism.
All employees at ERTE
One of the most requested spaces for the celebration of ceremonies in Galicia, the Pazo do Tambre, located in the Coruña municipality of Outes, will also wait for the de-escalation to conclude to return to activity and will keep all its employees until then in an ERTE .
They invoice 1.5 million euros a year and calculate that they will have losses of 1.4 million between this year and next, since postponing so many weddings until 2021 prevents them from making new sales next year because they have busy dates, indicates to Efe Javier Hurtado, space manager.
Foreign wedding companies
In some territories where foreigners’ weddings are held, the impact of the coronavirus crisis will be especially significant. This is the case of the Canary Islands, where the bridal sector moves around 80 million euros, according to figures disclosed in the last edition of the Feboda fair in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
One of the companies focused on organizing this type of event is The Perfect Wedding Company, based in Maspalomas (Gran Canaria). Its founder and director, Bernadette Garside, has seen how 90% of the weddings it had planned for these months have been postponed to 2021.
Almost the entire hotel plant remains closed and added to this is the complication of finding flights and restrictions on mobility.
The textile sector, ready to customize suits
Spain is the second largest producer of wedding dresses in the world with the manufacture of more than 755,000 dresses per year. It is also one of the countries that exports the most, according to the INE.
The companies Rosa Clará, Pronovias and GB Design Group -with their Cabotine brand- share the majority of a market that moves 860 million euros and that has some 700 companies and small workshops.
During these months, many of them have used their sewing machines to produce face masks and have accelerated their digital projects to adapt to the new reality that the pandemic has brought with them.
From Pronovias, which has launched the first digital digital showroom ’in the sector, they are“ optimistic ”because the trend they see is that weddings are postponed and not canceled. They claim to be “prepared” to offer brides “the customization and styling necessary to adapt it to the new date.”
After launching an ERTE that has affected 100% of its store staff, it began its reopening plan this May, seeking to “guarantee an unforgettable but safe experience”.
Photographers without weddings? No communions
Another of the groups severely beaten is that of the wedding reports. Desyrée Rayego has run her own studio in Villanueva de la Serena (Badajoz) since 2007 and the start of the pandemic caught her in the middle of the communion campaign, which represents 30% of her annual turnover.
The long hiatus has led to the postponement of half of the weddings that he had planned to perform this year throughout Spain, which commits 70% of his income, so he currently survives thanks to the studio photos, the development of fans and the printing of photos made with mobiles.
“Some of the clients are now couples in ERTE or with a difficult financial situation to which we have returned the money,” says Antonio Domingo, a cameraman and one of the owners of the Canarian company Reflejos Digitales.
Also for the “wedding planners” the postponements have been “crazy”. This is the case of Margarita Sánchez and Mónica Martín-Arroyo, founders of the company “The rotating wardrobe”, as 100% of the weddings they organized this year have been postponed.
“You change a date and everything has to change, but the place, the church or the photographer are not available for the new date. You almost have to start again from scratch (…) and it is exhausting, ”says Sánchez.
These gaditanas, who came to consider the closure, have seen how their bills accumulated, they frozen their income and how the sales of their online store – through which they sell details for events – have fallen by 90%. (May 27, 2020, EFE / PracticaEspañol)