Peak-time weddings ditched as registrar shortage hits bookings

Peak-time weddings ditched as registrar shortage hits bookings
SAY I DO? Registrars are in short supply

The news has alarmed wedding venues in the area that have had to endure more than a year of restrictions that have even seen them either unable to conduct ceremonies or limit numbers to just 15 or 30 people.

Now Covid restrictions are easing, with rules expected to be relaxed even further next month removing the limits on how many people can go to a wedding, venues have seen a flurry of demand to book marriages.

However, in a letter sent to licence holders for ceremonies, Jane Collins, the Superintendent Registrar for Kent, said they had no registrars available for weddings taking place during peak times at the weekends for the rest of the summer.

Registrars are not only legally authorised to conduct weddings but also are tasked with recording births, deaths and marriages.

The Superintendent said: “As a registration service we have seen an increase in demand for ceremonies in excess of 50 per cent in some months over this summer.

“After a lot of consideration, we have had to make the decision that we are not going to be able to accept any more ceremony bookings on either a Friday, Saturday or Sunday between the hours of 12noon-3pm during the months of July, August and September 2021.”

She added: “Please be assured that this decision was not made lightly. We have recruited additional staff and are currently training them, but we need to be realistic with what we will be able to deliver.”

A spokesman for Salomons Country Estate, one of the leading wedding venues in the area, said couples rarely wish to get married outside of peak times.

He commented: “After 14 months with no weddings, during the busiest summer period when we can maximise wedding income as demand is at its highest the Kent Registrars are now fully booked for the most popular times.

“Surely they should have seen this coming and been better placed to help support local venues after one of the toughest economic periods in history?”

He added: “It is all very well saying that weddings are available outside these peak times, but most people want to get married at the weekend when guests are able to attend and not have time off work, and there is time to hold a reception before any further evening celebration.”

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