WEDDING suppliers who lost their incomes when Boris banned gatherings to curb the coronavirus are staging a virtual fair for would-be brides and grooms.

With the easing of lockdown restriction, weddings can take place with up to 30 people in England from early July - but many couples have postponed until 2021.

It is a huge blow for venues, photographers, videographers, florists and event organisers whose businesses rely on such celebrations.

York Wedding Suppliers is a network of professionals from across the city set up eight years ago who met regularly until the pandemic. During the lockdown, members have been catching up virtually on Zoom and are now planning to host a virtual wedding fair from 11am to 2pm on Saturday, July 4.

"We know each other really well," said Nikki Bowling, a photographer who created the group. "That means we can recommend each other with confidence. We have always been about supporting each other, not just getting business.

"The support within the group has been so good throughout the years but especially now. Even though we can't see each other in person we have felt very supported."

The Press Love Local Business campaign is helping to promote local retailers, businesses and services post-lockdown as they get back on their feet and recover from months of no, or reduced, income.York Press:

Welcoming the campaign, Nikki said their group was very much about being local. "The group is only for suppliers from York. We do like to keep it local and support local businesses; especially now, it is important to stick together.

"All of our business have been effected by Covid, some more than others. We have all missed out on weddings over the lockdown period and we think this will be the case until well in to next year."

She added: "A lot of us do larger weddings and most people in the group have found people are postponing their wedding until next year. Most people have lost, or written off, this year."

She said they would normally have been attending wedding fairs this season to promote themselves, but these have been cancelled.

At the fair, couples will be able to meet the suppliers live on Instagram on July 4, from 11am to 12 noon @yorkweddingsuppliers, and live on Facebook from 11.30am to 12.30pm @yorkweddingsuppliers. People can chat live to the suppliers and watch pre-recorded videos.

"We think this event is a brilliant way for couples planning their wedding to view and speak to good local suppliers and see what we have to offer. Going forward, virtual fairs could be the new norm as they are far easier to organise and so accessible for couples to attend.

"Anyone interested in any of our suppliers will then be able to contact them personally after the fair to discuss their day in more detail."

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Members of York Wedding Suppliers include:

Gaynor Allen Gayflowers Flowers

Marc Allinson, The Artful Dodger Mobile Bar and Venue

Jo Bagshaw Jo Bagshaw Jewellery

Helen Birkinshaw Sweet Chic Cakes

Nikki Bowling Nikki Bowling Photography

Maria and Bruce Bendall Night Owls Music and Disco

Priscilla Chu Elmbank Hotel

Lesley Coulthard Treasured Occasions Venue Styling

Kelly Earp Bunny Loves Evie Vintage Wedding Accessories

Nicloa Frear Lottie Roberts Flowers

Claire Gilmore Unquie Hair Combs Hair Combs

Wendy Harris Soy Wax Candles Wedding Favours

Nikki Hirst K L Photographers

Anne-Marie Ledson Here To Eternity Ceremonies Celebrant

Bev Linfoot Limelight Wedding Emporium Wedding Transport

Sam Lyth Skeleton Leaf Venue Styling

Alison Marden Travel Councellor Travel

Elizabeth Matfin Bridal Reloved Bridal Shop

Nikki Nelson Cakes d'Licious Cakes

Nicola O'Keeffe O'Crumbs Cakes

Alex Walmsley Eternal Edits Videographer

Natalia Willmott My Billet Doux Wedding Cushions

Cherryle Wood Essential Extras Vintage Wedding Accessories