Idyllic: Bermuda’s a great place to tie the knot, but it just got a little more expensive. *File photo by Kageaki Smith
Idyllic: Bermuda’s a great place to tie the knot, but it just got a little more expensive. *File photo by Kageaki Smith

Government has backtracked on plans to quickly implement a massive hike in wedding fees.

Last Friday the Parks Department told planners that the charge for weddings with less than 50 people would be increased from $25 to $150 from Monday.

But following an appeal from the Wedding Planner’s Association, Parks bosses have agreed to delay the rise and honour the $25 fee for all bookings that have already been made.

Lack of notice

The Association’s president, Ginny Masters, told the Bermuda Sun that the move was “heart-warming”.

She said: “I think this shows that Government is prepared to work with small business.

“It really was quite a shock to get the email on Friday telling us of the rise in fees.

“The main concern we had was the lack of notice we were given about the planned change.”

Ms Masters wrote to Director of Parks, Lisa Dawn Johnston, on Monday morning to express her group’s concern about the timing of the new fee change.

She said: “The reality is that the 2013 season has started this year as one of great financial challenge and we have all found our clients to be literally counting every penny.

“The increase in this fee for us at this time with no advance notice is going to severely impact us as we in turn must attempt to pass this on to our clients and I can assure you that for many this will be a problem.”

Within just a couple of hours of sending the letter, Ms Masters was told the fee structure and the changes would be reviewed.

Ms Johnston said: “As we review the fee structure, the Department of Parks is happy to honour the $25 fee for all of your bookings thus far.

“I hope this helps in the short term, while we discuss your proposal.”

‘Reasonable’

A Government spokesperson told us last night:  “The Department of Parks will honour the $25 fee for bookings already made. 

“The implementation of the revised fee structure will follow. The $150 fee for the use of some of the most picturesque venues on the island is considered reasonable when compared to other venues across the island.” n