Scottish wedding industry receives £25m to stay afloat in pandemic

A new support fund for Scotland’s under-pressure wedding industry has been increased by £10 million, with applications expected to flood in this week.

The fund has been upped from £15m to £25m to prevent the industry from collapse, after thousands of weddings have been postponed or cancelled due to Covid restrictions.

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At her daily Covid briefing on Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the increase was a reflection the wedding sector had been “particularly severely affected”, with the only ceremonies able to proceed being “very small-scale affairs”.

The wedding industry is receive financial support.
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She said: “For that reason, we announced targeted support for the wedding sector in December and applications for support open on Thursday and the size of the support fund has increased by £10m from £15m to £25m.

“We know businesses involved in weddings employ thousands of people across the country and, of course, play a big role in making sure couples enjoy the wedding of their dreams, so it's really important we support the sector now so that they can operate again when restrictions start to ease.

"So I hope this support will provide some welcome support and reassurance to a sector which has found things particularly tough.”

More than 26,000 weddings and civil partnerships took place in Scotland in 2019, with almost 5,000 ceremonies being held in the south of Scotland, home to Gretna Green.

The fund will be managed by Scotland’s three enterprise agencies – South of Scotland Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The initiative will provide grants up to £25,000 for businesses directly affected by cancellation or postponements of weddings during the pandemic, including events venues, photographers and caterers.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said there was no “equivalent fund in other parts of the UK”. She said: “I’d encourage all those who think they are eligible to find out more about applying – we want to help as many businesses survive this pandemic as we can.”

The Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance’s (SWIA) co-founder Caroline Inchyra welcomed the fund and said it was a recognition by government of the industry being a “vital sector” in the Scottish economy.

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“This funding will give renewed hope to the many businesses who have been unable to operate in a viable way for almost a year,” she said.

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