by Linda Straker
- Weddings and other social activities totally restricted during first 6 weeks of curfew
- When restrictions were lifted, allowed numbers in attendance were low
- 29 marriages per month in 2020
From 2017, marriage registration figures have been reducing, and with 2020 being a year when citizens had to adjust their lives because of Covid-19 measures including social/physical distancing, the records of the Department of births, deaths and marriages show there were only 356 marriages in 2020.
In 2017, the department recorded 639 marriages. In 2018 there were 622, and in 2019 there were 575. Using ratio proportion, there were just over 50 marriages per month, which decreased to about 29 in 2020.
A wedding planner at a local hotel said that her company was not surprised by the reduced figures for 2020 because a significant number of visitors travel to the island to get married. With tourism and travel reduced to nothing for some months because of Covid-19, it was natural for the hospitality industry’s subdivision to be impacted. “Within the hospitality sector, marriage has a lot of connecting dots from photographers to priest and pastor; including music and food, and just looking at the numbers it shows how much persons are now deprived of an income or additional income through wedding planning,” she said.
Weddings and other social activities were totally restricted during the first 6 weeks of curfew when the island declared the State of Emergency in March 2020. “Just imagine those of us who are wedding planners, suddenly found ourselves with no income,” she said.
“And when the restriction was lifted, the allowed numbers in attendance was just for 10, and then it moved to 20, then 75 and by December we were back again to 10 and presently at 20, but most couples are opting to keep the figures low,” she added.