This week, Sue Lovell updates her diary, and mask-wearing is an ongoing, everyday must
Well, this has been a challenging week. Freedom Day as it is being called, was less Mel Gibson Braveheart and more the Carebear Braveheart for me. I decided ,along with most of my BrideCo colleagues ,that masks would still be required, and the social distancing and cleaning protocols would still be in place to protect our clients and our staff, and to safeguard immediate weddings.
In most cases, brides are very grateful that we are keeping these measures, as the worry for those collecting dresses, having fittings etc, is that they may be ‘pinged’ and therefore have to isolate so close to their wedding day. The emotional toll for brides is awful, with hen and stag parties being cancelled, as the risk of going somewhere and getting pinged or, worse still, infected, is just too great.
Pinging has been a big issue for so many of us. One venue I know of were desperately trying to find staff the week before a wedding, as the catering team had been told to self-isolate. Obviously not wanting to panic the couple, nothing was said, but heroic efforts were being made to get replacement staff, at a time where there is a shortage of staff in the hospitality sector. The wedding went off without a hitch, without the couple being aware of the enormous stress the venue organisers had been under all week, only being fully resolved 48 hours before the wedding day.
A few bridal shops have had to close, as confirmed cases have meant quarantining staff and store, and the knock-on effect for collection of dresses or seamstress appointments has been dreadful for everyone. For anyone suffering so badly with the effects of the virus, there is also the extra fear of the impact closure has on the business, and on clients, many of whom have already had to postpone weddings a number of times. Getting a call to say the bridal shop where your dress is, has had to go into quarantine is not what any bride to be wants a few weeks before her wedding. It also means for the business, ten days without any sales, but still the bills need paying for.
We are finding though, that there is a divide between brides who are marrying now, and those who are looking for their dress for a 2022 wedding. The ones who are so close to their wedding day, are far more appreciative of the fact that we are still mask wearing, as they know that we are doing it to protect them, and their day, as much as we are doing it to prevent the spread.
The only kickback I have had is from someone who did not want to wear a mask as it was ‘freedom day’ and they “weren’t a sheep”. And she was someone not actually getting married, but a guest of someone who was looking for her dress for 2023. I understand her frustration, but my concern is for my brides and their families who need to be protected now, not just from the virus, but from the ‘pinging’ and the worry of self-isolation.
It does make for an awkward moment of potential confrontation – and the potential for a missed sale – but my responsibilities are to my clients who have waited so patiently for their day to come; I do not want to jeopardise a wedding, or cause them any stress, because I put profit over welfare.
It has felt like a proper wedding season though, alterations are full steam ahead, a sea of ankles, armpits and boobies, combined with an excitement that hasn’t been felt for a very long time, as we are back in business.
Excitement is contagious, and that’s all I want anyone to be infected with when they visit me! Seeing a bride do a happy dance, and laugh with so much delight as she tries on her dress for the final time before her wedding this weekend made me so emotional. What a privilege to see and to be a part of.
I am missing the hugs but I am loving the joy – we are back in business, and we need to keep our doors open – so for me and many others, masks will be staying on.