Wix wants me to find a catchy title for this blog, but there's no catchy way of saying that the wedding industry, with all its joy, endless creativity and collaboration, is on its knees.
We were all doing okay - postponing dates, carrying people's deposits over, bending over backwards to make sure our lovely brides and grooms were looked after and our businesses would act with compassion and integrity to get through this crisis and come out the other side with our reputations and order books intact.
Then this week when Boris Johnson announced the wedding guest limit was being reduced from 30 to 15, and that we should expect to see the next 6 months or so playing out according to the latest restrictions, you could almost hear the nails go into the coffin of the wedding industry.
People aren't holding out any more for their big knees up - and rightly so. If it were me, I'd just want to get married, make the best of what I could do - which is a small intimate ceremony with only your closest friends and family - and cut my losses. Email after email arriving into our inboxes telling us that wedding receptions are being cancelled, or hugely reduced in size, show that most engaged couples feel the same.
I have so much sympathy for all these brides and grooms. They didn't ask for this, they could never have known, and they have taken the devastation of their plans in their stride with grace and dignity, focusing on love, on each other, and always showing concern for us, the suppliers.
The restriction to 15 people is blanket - regardless of the size of your venue, that's the maximum. It doesn't matter if you can space 100 people out by 2m, there is no leeway. This government has essentially dealt a deadly blow to thousands of jobs: hotels, reception venues, car hire companies, photographers, wedding planners, florists, and of course wedding cake suppliers. Many of these people rely on weddings for their income and livelihoods. Many are self-employed (myself included) - and the government grants to self-employed are a pale shadow in comparison to the generous furlough packages doled out to employed people.
The wedding industry is one of this country's finest, in my completely unbiased opinion. I have never met a bunch of people who are so energised, creative, selfless, joyful, collaborative and hard-working. Every wedding fair I've ever worked has been enormously fun and inspirational. The people who work in weddings are kind. They want to bring their clients the most joy on their day. They would move heaven and earth to make it just so for them. When Boris' rule of 15 was announced, Instagram was full of videos from suppliers, not moaning or self-pitying or ranting, but reaching out to their brides and grooms to reassure them they were there to chat if they were worried, that they would be flexible to whatever they needed and expressing their concern for them.
I'm very blessed in that my business is not our primary source of income. In that sense I have wrestled with the feeling that I shouldn't be feeling quite so cut up about all this. But regardless of the percentage of the bread that I win for our family, it's just so demoralising and devastating seeing something you have built for 5 years being demolished. For me, it isn't just weddings, it's the fact that with the rule of 6 and local lockdown, celebration cakes are a thing of the past too. That and the 15 limit on weddings have meant my flourishing business is more wilting now than anything else.
As I mentioned, we're a resourceful bunch, and I'm sure many of us will pivot, think on our feet, and do what it takes to survive. But some of us simply won't be able to do enough, not in the face of such enormous challenges. And that will be a very sad thing, not just for couples getting married, but for creativity, beauty and joy itself.