‘Our business was ripped from underneath us’
THE usually joyous and booming wedding industry has been the latest to be hit by coronavirus as stakeholders reveal the devastating impact on Southern Downs business and brides.
In a normal year, Peta Murphy owner of Wedding and Events Warwick, would be run off her feet planning and preparing functions.
"We would usually be working up to 16 hour days to fit in multiple events in one day," Ms Murphy said.
"For us to be having time up our sleeves and baking and gardening with the kids is something we're not used to.
"Our business has just been ripped from underneath us."
Ms Murphy said over the past week, she had up to 30 postponements as new coronavirus laws ban non-essential congregations of over 100 people.
For her, the heartbreak she felt was not only personal, but also for the expectant brides and grooms who had seen their dream weddings shattered before them.
"We are just looking at it with a full heart, rather than a financial side and waiving any transferring fees because we're all in it together so we need to put ourselves in their shoes, "she said.
I know myself, I postponed our wedding and we had to start all over again.
"We really do feel their pain, we understand how upsetting it can be."
In an industry that depended on decorators, florists, photographers, venues, and vendors, closures could have huge economic repercussions within the region.
One such venue who would also be feeling the hit was Melrose Station in Killarney.
The working farm and popular wedding venue had only started taking bookings again but was now "in limbo" while the pandemic played out.
Event co-ordinator Jan Grayson said while the wedding spot was still taking bookings, dates would be on-hold until the situation calmed down, leaving her temporarily out of work.
"I just can't believe it's happening really - it will have an effect across the board," she said.
"And we had just gotten over the drought. At least now we've got water and there's not just dirt."
While there was little wedding parties could do to ease the pain of what could be an entire season without work, Mr Murphy suggested couples consider a weekday wedding in the future if they could.
"It would be a great thing if people could have a look at rebooking to a Monday to Thursday wedding," she said.
"Next year we will be so overloaded, catching up on this year's jobs and that could be our big saviour.
"We encourage people to reach out and talk to suppliers and ask 'do you have deals for a weekday'?
"At the end of the day, we can't put our family and staff not at risk they're just too important."