‘We’re not just hobbyists’: Wedding industry feels overlooked by Manitoba Bridge Grant

‘We’re not just hobbyists’: Wedding industry feels overlooked by Manitoba Bridge Grant

Dresses remained hung, suits went un-buttoned and aisles clear of flower petals.

“Something blue” took on a new meaning when COVID-19 swept Manitoba.

As couples across the province cancelled or rescheduled their weddings — sometimes several times — due to the pandemic, the people behind the scenes also went without an income.

Small businesses across the province saw a glimmer of hope when the Manitoba Bridge Grant was announced by the province Nov. 16 — $5,000 promised before the end of the year, and perhaps again in the new year.

Read more: Manitoba business grant program open for applications: Pallister

Lauren Wiebe, owner of Stone House Creative, said she was thrilled by the news of some financial relief.

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Lauren Wiebe, owner of Stone House Creative, is a studio florist specializing in weddings for the past 12 years./Vanessa Renae Photography. .

“This year what I took home was $15,000, which is horrendous, especially because I work full time and have been working with my clients for two years already,” said Wiebe.

Once in the application process, Wiebe realized it was a different story.

“It was hung up on this, ‘you must have a physical retail space that was closed to customers,’” she said.

A confused Wiebe said she and many others in the industry are speaking up in a Manitoba wedding vendor Facebook group, realizing all the eligibility criteria they do meet isn’t enough.

Weibe said she sells a product and a service, collects and pays PST and GST, yet still doesn’t qualify because of some brick and mortar.…

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