Wedding Industry leaders say cancellations, financial stress, and staff shortages are among the biggest challenges to come from Covid-19.

More than 500 wedding business owners and operators across all states were surveyed by ABIA, to reveal the biggest challenges and impacts caused by the recent Omicron wave.

Of those surveyed, 64.3 per cent of businesses in recent months experienced a reduction in guest numbers, while 12.2% of all bookings in 2022 were postponed/cancelled in January alone. Restrictions across different states that continue to impact weddings include density limits, masks, no dancing, restrictions on guest limits and vaccination mandates.


89 per cent of Wedding Venues reported significant staff shortages resulting from a lack of skilled migration & international students, isolation mandates and workers opting to leave the industry due to "unpredictability and inconsistency". 47.6% of Wedding Vendors said they are significantly impacted by rising labour and operational costs, made worse by recent postponements and cancellations. The wedding-services most susceptible to disruptions in the supply chain include venues, caterers, floral designers, gown designers and suit tailors. 

Wedding Industry Staff Shortage


Introduction of the Buddy System

Vendors who have been unable to service a wedding due to COVID-19, have enlisted the support of industry colleagues or "buddies" to fulfill service obligations on their behalf. This arrangement has meant that couples can proceed with their wedding, while vendors are left to recover some of the service fees. 

The most common wedding-service to utilise an effective buddy system are celebrants, in fact, 66% of Celebrants already have a buddy system in place. How fees are managed in this relationship varies between vendors and may depend on the hours worked and preparation required. Photographers & Videographers who use a buddy system will generally pay a sub-contractor or industry colleague an hourly rate ($100 - $150 ph) to cover shooting.

ABIA Wedding Industry Impacted By COVID

Common Questions Couples ask upon Booking Wedding Vendors. 

  • Cancellation, Postponing & Refund Policy
    69% of Wedding Vendors advised that Cancellation Policies were the most common questions asked by Engaged Couples. 
    • inclusive of Full & Deposit Refunds 
    • do refunds apply if the Government imposes restrictions/lockdowns
    • refund policy if the couple get COVID
    • refund policy if the Vendor gets COVID
    • refunds for reduced guest numbers/wedding parties

Other common questions include;

  • Is there a rescheduling fee?
    • some businesses do not charge
    • some businesses charge each time
    • some businesses do not charge for the 1st change and charge every time thereafter
  • Do you have a replacement if you cannot make our wedding?
    • Applies mostly to Vendors, not Venues
  • What is the Vendor's Vaccination Status
  • What is your policy regarding couples/guests who are unvaccinated
  • What happens when there is a lockdown or new restrictions
  • Are masks required and if yes, when and where


As restrictions ease, borders open, and confidence returns, the future looks promising however for many vendors still reeling from two years of lockdowns and uncertainty, the road to recovery is long and far from over.

For any questions, please feel free to contact ABIA Weddings or if you wish to add to the survey, please click here