Members' update as sent on 17th June 2020 Dear ABWB Founding Members,
I'd like to share an update on the progress we've made to date since launching the Association of British Wedding Businesses (ABWB) just over a month ago. We are zooming ahead on all issues facing the British wedding industry right now, and I'm proud to say we are making headway in all areas.
Equality Committee: In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, this is an important time to reflect how we we celebrate diversity as an industry. We are are launching an equality committee within the ABWB to specifically focus on inclusivity and equality among wedding industry professionals. If you're interested in joining the committee, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Outdoor Weddings: We have been in communication with the Law Commission about potential changes to allow outdoor weddings at approved premises. We will soon be connecting with the Ministry of Justice who will be making the decision. Learn more about the wedding venue law reform.
CMA Guidance on Refunds: In late April, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) published guidance on refunds, which resulted in many refund requests across our industry. The ABWB put together an Explanation of CMA Guidance on Weddings & Refunds which you may share with your clients. We are in continued conversations with the CMA about their advice.
Insurance: We have been in continued conversations with Government officials regarding the unfairness of wedding insurance providers avoiding their financial responsibilities and forcing the wedding industry to bear the losses from the COVID-19 wedding cancellations. We started a petition (with 4,500+ signatures) which we've already shared with the Government, and are now awaiting response from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Venue Viewings: Thanks to your support, we launched a widespread campaign with letters to MPs asking for approval for venue viewings following the announcement allowing residential property viewings. We are now awaiting an announcement to allow venue viewings.
Exit Strategy for Weddings: After a massive amount of work and lobbying, the ABWB have managed to get a dedicated cross departmental Government task force set up to address the restarting of weddings. This group is working hand in hand with the ABWB Exit Strategy Task Force, and represents true recognition of the industry for the first time within Government. We can now be confident that the guidelines for exiting lockdown and delivering safe weddings in the near future will be driven from industry knowledge.
The support you have all given ABWB as founding members has been critical in the achievements to date, and has given weight to our voice so it is heard. Our association now has 3,600+ members, and we are so thankful for your involvement.
As a founding member, be sure to stay connected to the ABWB via social media listed below. Please do reach out to your colleagues across the industry to encourage them to join our association, as the greater strength in our membership, the better we will be.
Follow us on Social Media! Facebook: @AssociationofBritishWeddingBusinesses
Badges: Post your member badge on your website and share on social media. Find a selection of graphics in the 'News' section of the ABWB website.
Attention Venues: Contact us to join the UK Wedding Venue Slack Group. This free online community has 900+ venue members. We invite all venues to join and share in the support and discussions on re-opening protocols and venue impacts from COVID-19. Don't worry if you've never used Slack before, we can help you get set-up and you'll be part of the conversations in no time.
Join a Committee: Thank you all for the offers of help with committees and ideas. Committees are listed on the ABWB's Founding Board page, and we encourage you to email us (email@example.com) to express your interest in joining a committee or task force. Apologies if we have not directly responded yet, we are absolutely hearing your views and will be reaching out to embrace the offers of help in due course.
A message from Mark Dawson, Launch Director ABWB:
"I wanted to provide an update on the development of the Association. In many ways this is not the "right way" to launch, in the midst of a crisis. The support you have all given ABWB as founding members has been critical in the achievements to date and given weight to our voice so it is heard and the right doors have been opened. As it was recently described to me, we are flying the plane before we have built it.
What is vitally important is that we get the establishment of the Association right. That takes time, collaborative thinking and input from across the industry. Thank you all for the offers of help with committees and ideas. Apologies that we may not have directly responded as we are having to focus our efforts on the key activities at hand. As I said, not the ideal to be launching in a crisis that dominates our time. We are absolutely hearing your views and will be reaching out to embrace the offers of help in due course.
As we start to hopefully move out of this crisis we will start to shape the Association. It will be an exciting time after so many challenges. We are listening to what you are saying, and you will see a few things start to happen to reflect that. The Association will only work if we have an active and vocal membership that truly represents the diversity of the industry. Members should be setting the agenda. Committees and Boards will become fully elected by the membership and will help shape and tackle the solutions. But these will also be dependent on the combined effort of the whole membership to deliver.
We are immensely thankful to the members who have stepped up to form the founding Board and initial committees and take on significant work when they have businesses to keep afloat as well.
The continued success of the Association in the future will be down to its ability to represent and reflect the diversity of our industry."
Thank you again for your support and participation in the ABWB. We will continue to be in touch about our progress and the impacts of Government actions on our wedding industry. Thanks for being such a wonderful community of businesses.
Chairman, Association of British Wedding Businesses (ABWB)
The Association of British Wedding Businesses is an industry body that supports all members of the British wedding industry. Our mission is to support our industry with insights and advice, advocate for growth, and serve as liaison between the industry and government.