2020 has been a year none of us will forget. As another month passes in Lockdown, we’re now starting to see restrictions ease and the Government has now released new guidelines for COVID-19 Weddings in England and Wales. First things first, the Government has been very deliberate in naming its new COVID Wedding guidelines. It’s titled ‘Guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships’. No surprise then that the focus is on smaller ceremonies in ‘COVID-safe’ locations. i’ve linked to the full guidance below but here’s an easy to digest breakdown of what’s allowed!
- From 4 July, during COVID up to 30 people can gather at a legal marriage ceremony. This is only applicable to licensed ceremony venues. For public health reasons, the number is capped at 30.
- The ceremony should only take place in COVID-19 secure environments. If a marriage ceremony can take place legally elsewhere (not covered by the guidance, such as outdoor weddings permitted under the Marriage Act), the legal restrictions on gatherings must be followed.
- It is the responsibility of the venue during COVID to ensure the safety of those attending and to ensure the safety of the public by preventing large gatherings or mass events from taking place.
- During COVID large wedding receptions or parties are still not allowed following the ceremony
- No food or drink can be consumed as part of the event, unless required for the purposes of solemnisation i.e. as part of the ceremony
- To prevent the spread of COVID, and to adhere to the COVID guidelines, hands must be washed and sanitised before the exchanging of rings, and again after. In fact, the guidance says the rings should be handled by as few people as possible
- A parent/guardian is required to hold any infant involved in the ceremony in any way
- Singing, chanting, playing music at a level which encourages shouting should be avoided due to the increased risk of transmission from aerosol or droplets
- Playing of instruments that are blown into should be avoided
- Social distancing of 2 metres still applies between households- or 1 metre with risk mitigation if 2 metres is not possible, as per the COVID wedding guidelines
- Where rituals or ceremonies require water to be applied to the body, only small amounts can be splashed. Others present should distance themselves to avoid being splashed. All individuals involved should wash hands thoroughly before and after
What does risk mitigation mean?
The government’s COVID Wedding guidelines sets out that couples should consider and set out the mitigations they will introduce within their risk assessment. Helpful suggestions include:
- Marking areas within the venue to make it easier for guests to maintain social distancing between households
- Avoiding any face to face seating by changing layouts for the day
- Improving ventilation e.g. open windows rather than air con
- Reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces
- Using protective screens and coverings
For some, the new COVID Wedding guidelines will bring a sense of relief but for others the restricted numbers will be a disappointment. Whatever you decide to do, just be safe. Remember, love is love. You can still get married to the love of your life and celebrate with everyone you want to at a date in the future. Take your time and make the best decision for yourselves as a couple. You’ll get there!
Comment below and let me know your thoughts on the COVID Wedding Guidelines and how you’re getting on. Always happy to have a chat. the full guidelines can be found here.
You’re also welcome to join my growing community of brides to be by joining my online Bridal Group.
Here’s some wedding inspo for those of you still planning your wedding theme. This beautiful French Chateau Wedding will wow you!
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