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Coronavirus: Dress shops and florists left at the altar as COVID-19 hits weddings

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Coronavirus: Dress shops and florists left at the altar as COVID-19 hits weddings
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Whether they prefer an A-line, ball gown or mermaid silhouette, most brides this year will have to wait a little longer to wear their dream wedding dress.

Due to coronavirus containment measures, gatherings of more than 10 people are still widely banned across Europe, making parties and celebrations very tricky or downright impossible to organise. Many soon-to-be brides and grooms have been forced to postpone their big day.

In Italy alone, 17,000 marriages were cancelled in March and April, and another 50,000 are expected to be scrapped in May and June.

Owners of wedding dress shops are now also worried that people won’t be able to afford their postponed wedding next year.

"I had many clients, I may have even sold more dresses this year than all the other years put together, but as you can see they are all waiting to be worn,” says Manuela Tanno, owner and designer of Manuela Atelier in the Italian city of Campobasso.

According to Assoeventi, which studies the events sector in Italy, the nation’s wedding industry is down between 80 per cent and 100 per cent and is forecast to lose about €26 billion in revenue.

That includes small- and medium-sized businesses like florists and photographers and gift producers.

Vogue Spose, a wedding dress store also in Campobasso, is being hit hard by the wave of cancellations.

With an average price tag of €2,000-2,500, each one of its unsold dresses is taking a toll.

"In terms of quantities, living in a region like ours, we are talking about 90, 95, even 100 dresses a season, so it's a major loss,” says owner Michela Fagnano.

Weddings in Italy are traditionally large affairs and sometimes last for several days.

As Italy begins to ease its lockdown restrictions, couples can now get married but they cannot host big parties to celebrate.

Watch Katy’s report in the video player above.