Mallorca has always been a favourite location for weddings and trade was booming until the Covid pandemic and the subsequent restrictions left the industry in tatters.
30,000 couples said ‘I do’ in the Balearic Islands in 2019 compared to just 3,000 last year and most of this year’s weddings have been rescheduled for 2022 or moved to mainland destinations with less restrictions.
"Last year we lost 95% of our turnover due to the pandemic and 2021 doesn’t look good, because families are renting houses or farms for wedding celebrations. We hoped that there would be some June weddings, but the calendar is empty,” explains Pedro Llabrés, President of the Association of Professionals of Weddings & Events in the Balearics, or APBEB.
Strong restrictions are in place for all private events in Mallorca and the rest of the Balearic Islands at least until the end of May. Only 15 people are allowed to attend indoor events or 30 if it’s outdoors with a maximum of 4 people per table, mandatory masks, no free bar and a 23:00 curfew and only the first dance by the bride and groom is allowed, so it’s hardly surprising there’s been a cascade of cancellations.
In Andalusian provinces on level 1 up to 75% capacity is allowed; people can have a free bar and they can dance together as long as they’re wearing masks.
“I don’t understand it, we have more restrictive measures in the Balearic Islands, but a lower incidence rate of the virus," says Pedro Llabrés.
In Madrid, up to 50% capacity is allowed at indoor events or 60% capacity outdoors and the Department of Tourism is cashing in big time on its new tourist product, Madrid Destination Weddings. The capital will be launched as a major wedding destination location for foreigners and Spaniards at the International Tourism Fair, FITUR.
Competition is fierce in the Wedding Sector and with Andalusia and Madrid stepping into the fray it will be even more cut-throat and APBEB claims that Mallorcan and foreign couples are already moving their celebrations to Madrid because of the strict Covid measures imposed by the Balearic Government.
“The vast majority of professionals working in this Sector, such as photographers, organisers or decorators, have closed their premises to cut costs or they're out of work altogether and the most powerful companies in the Sector are surviving thanks to ICO credits,” says Pedro Llabrés.
Amparo Salvador and José Antonio Manchón have already postponed their wedding once because of the pandemic, now they've been forced to cancel it a second time, because of the restrictions in Mallorca.
"We postponed our wedding from last year to this May and we reduced the guest list from 120 to 64, hoping that the Government would change the restrictions. But that didn't happen, so the best thing to do is delay it again,” says Amparo Salvador. "Organising a wedding is stressful enough, imagine doing it for the third time!”