Many 2020 couples have had to make difficult choices about their big day due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost a whole summer's worth of couples been forced, or have chosen, to postpone. For those that are still holding out for a 2020 wedding, here's some information about the current state of play, and my predictions for how things might work in the near future.
Please bear in mind all this is subject to change as the events of the next few months unfold - the situation depends largely on the success of the new lockdown measures.
What is the latest advice from the government?
The government's last issued guidance about wedding reads that that it will look at the return of weddings from June, albeit on a small scale.
In phase two of the roadmap, we plan to allow slightly larger groups to meet. In specific public places, we also plan to allow for events such as small weddings. We will work with local authorities and faith groups to explore how best to achieve this safely in the coming weeks.
Phase two is to begin no earlier than 1st June and will begin to shops and restaurants to gradually reopen. Wedding venues have not been mentioned specifically in regards to the plans to begin phasing the re-opening of stores and restaurants etc, but we can assume they would fall under the same bracket.
The Government is looking at advice as to whether two separate households could begin to meet. Of course, most weddings are usually a meeting of multiple different households so restrictions will be in place once weddings are allowed to return.
June & July weddings
So all being well and good, small ceremonies should be able to start again from June - these, however, are likely to be subject to strict guidelines and enforcement and whether the venue believes it can be safe for you and its staff. Social distancing will still be in place, and a limit on the number of guests who can be in attendance will likely apply.
It is still very early days and plans could still yet change. We could re-enter a full lockdown at any time should the rate of infection climb. For any June and July brides who have not already, my advice would be to postpone your wedding to a later date for peace of mind.
If you do have to postpone, make sure you check out my post - 9 Ways To Celebrate Your Original Wedding Date for tips on how to mark the date that should have been your wedding day.
August & September weddings
It seems more likely that weddings will be able to go ahead in August, all being well. August and September brides and grooms, you need to ask yourself this: will I be happy for my wedding to go ahead with limited guest numbers? If the answer is no, then I would begin speaking with your venue and suppliers about postponing to a later date.
Personally, I feel it is unlikely weddings with over 50 guests will be allowed to go ahead during this period. Again, this is based on instinct.
Could you look into alternatives to make sure everyone is involved in your big day? Live streaming your wedding ceremony perhaps? Or having your reception at a later date where more people can join the party?
Some semblance of normality, or a new kind of normal, should begin to settle from the middle of Autumn and into the winter months all being well.
Although, a winter return of the virus in the absence of a vaccine, and the re-implementation of lockdown measures, cannot be ruled out at this point - so all this advice given is subject to change. The main thing is to have a clear idea in your head of what you want your wedding day to be, and what number of guests you are prepared to go ahead with. Then, keep in regular contact with your venue and suppliers, and always have a Plan B should things take another turn.
I'm getting married abroad
If your wedding is taking place in Europe in the next three to four months, I'd look into postponing. French President Emanuel Macron suggested that The Schengen Area’s external borders could remain closed until September, according to inews.
Check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website regularly for the latest advice.
How to make my wedding safe
If you are going to go ahead with your wedding, here are a few things you might want to look at doing:
Ask for hand sanitisers to be placed in the toilets
Ask guests to wear masks, or include them in a gift bag of sorts
Make sure your venue has disposable paper towels
If you haven't already, book your photographer now
And for anyone with a 2021 wedding who has not already booked their wedding photography package, my advice is to book your photographer as soon as you can - our diaries are now filling up not only with new 2021 bookings, but with rescheduled 2020 bookings.
To find out if booking me to capture the memories of your big day is the right choice for you, click here.