New Government guidelines have been released allowing small wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships to take place from 4th July. Many couples have postponed their weddings to 2021, but a number have been holding out in the hope their 2020 wedding can take place. So what do the new post-lockdown Covid-19 rules and guidelines mean for bride & grooms to be?
Here’s what the Government advice says:
Ceremonies should be kept "as short as reasonably possible" and limited as much as possible to the parts that are legally binding.
Large wedding receptions or parties after should not take place after the marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation
No more than 30 people should attend
Everyone should follow the 2m rule if possible, or 1m with extra safety measures.
No food should be consumed as part of the event.
Hands should be washed before and after the exchanging of rings, and the rings should be handled by as few people as possible.
Singing, shouting, or playing music at a volume which means people have to raise their voice should all be avoided. When singing or chanting is required, only one person is allowed to do so. Playing instruments that are blown into should be avoided.
Mitigate risk factors by avoiding face-to-face seating, reducing the number of guests in an enclosed space, improving ventilation, using protective screen and face coverings, and restricting access to non-essential areas
Who do the 30 people include?
The 30 person limit includes the couple, witnesses, officiants and guests. It also includes any staff who are not employed by the venue, which may include photographers among others. It does not include staff employed by the venue.
Social distancing guidelines must be observed, including household limits:
“Small celebrations should only take place if following social distancing guidelines – i.e. in groups of up to two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors.”
What about receptions?
The rules state: “Any receptions that typically follow or accompany marriages or civil partnerships are strongly advised not to take place at this time.
We still want to go ahead with our wedding, what should we do?
This latest announcement raises more questions than answers, some of this may be clarified in the coming weeks, but for now, thoroughly read the government guidelines, and then head over to read my How To Have A Socially Distanced Wedding post.
Your first port of call will be to get in touch with your venue and speak with them about the logistics of conducting a socially distanced wedding.
It’s worth checking in with suppliers and making sure they have everything they need to provide you with the services you have booked. It pains me to say it, but many small businesses who have been hit with financial losses due to Coronavirus may struggle to fulfil their obligations in the future.
We want to postpone our wedding, what should we do?
Get in touch with your venue and suppliers, liaise and try and find a date where the majority of your suppliers are available. Do this soon, as 2021 dates for most suppliers and venues are booking up quickly with all the re-scheduled bookings.
Will My Autumn/Winter 2020 Wedding Happen?
Many spring couples have postponed their dates to autumn or winter, and will understandably be wondering if these will now take place. Nobody can predict the future, but if the government plan works and the spread of the virus continues to decline it is likely rules will gradually be relaxed, and autumn and winter weddings will be able to go ahead. The rules have to be reviewed on the 20th of July.
Should we have a second spike of the virus it is possible that weddings may again be paused, or social-distancing guidelines and rules might still be in place. It is somewhat of a waiting game.