Why you shouldn’t fear the hospitality sector right now.

suitcase with face masks

It’s pointless in even trying to predict, at this stage, whether any or all of the country will be in Stage 2 or Stage 3 by the time you’re reading this, but the point to remember is that for couples looking to tie the knot over the coming months, you’ll probably be depending on a hotel as a venue.

So, can you trust your venue to protect you as far as is possible on your special day?

Well here’s the thing – I’m just back from a couple of days break in the West of Ireland, and I saw for myself what the hospitality sector are doing to keep us all safe.

I stayed in the Sligo Park Hotel in Sligo City, and I have to say that from the moment I arrived, I truly believed that I was in a safe setting.

I was only two yards inside the revolving doors when I encountered a compulsory hand sanitising station, and used this before approaching the Reception staff, who were safely ensconced behind a plastic see-through partition.

Throughout the stay, I continued to be impressed by the lengths they went to, to keep all their residents safe.

I had to book a time to hit the leisure centre and book a time in the restaurant for dinner.

Every effort was made to ensure that the numbers in any particular setting of the hotel were kept to a reasonable and manageable number.

There was hand sanitiser on every table in the restaurant and bar, and even getting a pint was a very safe experience.

Superb waiting staff hovered around constantly, making sure that I didn’t have to approach a communal bar to order my favourite tipple.

I also had to wear a mask in communal areas of the hotel where I wasn’t eating or drinking.

hotel manager checks staff temperature

So what’s the point of all this, you might ask.

Well simply this – I believe that if you booked a wedding reception in this venue or one of countless others throughout the country, you could expect to have the same attention to detail in place.

One of the reasons for this, of course, is that the venues are protecting their own staff as well as protecting their guests.

But you can take it as read that they’re also working flat out to make sure that an outbreak is not started in their particular hotel, which would be devastating for their reputation and for their prospects of continuing to stay open.

I’m not saying for a moment that you can expect to have your wedding in a hotel and behave as usual.

But what I am saying is that you can still celebrate your marriage in a joyful and happy environment, where the staff will make every effort to make sure that you and your fellow guests are very well cared for.

bride wearing protective maskI have spoken to several couples who have gone ahead with their weddings – albeit in a pared back format – and they’ve said the same thing.

You can forget about having a couple of hundred of ‘your closest friends’ in attendance, but maybe this could be construed as a good thing, as you’ll be forced to consider who are the people who really and truly matter to you.

And remember, too, that if you’re having a  wedding entertainer as part of your big day, your favoured entertainer will go to exactly the same lengths to keep you safe and well.

In my own case, I have performed virtually, and also performed in the flesh.

For the personal appearances, I have totally reworked my act to make sure that I’m not asking guests to touch anything that

I’m touching, and also make sure that they don’t need to be closer than two metres to get the full impact of the show.

I’m also very happy to perform outdoors, where the risks are even lower of spreading or contracting the virus.

The bottom line is that while things are worrying right now, don’t despair in terms of the prospect of having a day that you’ll never, ever forget.

And think about it – won’t you have a fantastic tale to tell the grandchildren about marriage in the age of Covid?

Shane Black
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