Major COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings has bombarded the Australian wedding industry with mass cancellations and loss of work for many small businesses.

The Australian wedding sector is valued at around $4 billion per year and services approximately 120,000 weddings annually, according to wedding planners Easy Weddings.

The sector includes more than 56,000 small businesses and employs more than 150,000 people.

Easy Weddings trends director Elise James said the company’s biggest focus, following COVID-19 restrictions of no more than five people at non-essential gatherings, was to encourage couples to postpone or downsize their events rather than cancel.

“Do not try to find a workaround for current health measures as you are only putting yourself, your guests, staff in the industry, and the community as a whole at further risk,” Ms said.

“If you do not think you can go ahead with your wedding in a safe way abiding by these new regulations then you should postpone it to later in the year.”

Ms James said while there would likely be negative growth in the wedding industry this year, she expected postponements would cause a boom in 2021.

“Weddings are a fairly recession-proof industry as there will always be couples who want to get married,” she said.

“Most couples who are postponing their weddings currently are looking at rescheduling to October and November this year, so we hope to see the industry start to build itself back up towards the end of 2020.”

According to Easy Weddings, most businesses expect an average loss of 50% across the 2020 year.

There are around 120,000 weddings in Australia every year and this is expected to drop to 60,000 for the 2020 calendar year.

Simone Salvemini, from Sydney, had her reception scheduled this month but was forced to postpone it until the end of the year.

“At the end of the day, we just wanted to be married and we will celebrate with everyone later,” Miss Salvemini said.

“I realised it is what it is and we need to have faith, spread our love and our day will be jus as magical as we planned.”