*UPDATE* The latest guidance on weddings in England

*UPDATE* The latest guidance on weddings in England

Article Published: Wednesday 24th June, 2020 - 9:48am

***UPDATE*** The government has announced that weddings may only take place with 15 people present in England from 28th September 2020.

Here at Wed, we're keeping our eye on government guidance to deliver the most up to date information for you (updated 22nd September 2020).

Here's the latest information...
- weddings and civil partnerships are now allowed to take place around the UK.

- up to 15 people will be allowed to attend a sit-down wedding reception in England from Monday September 28th. Weddings due to take place before then can have up to 30.

-at present, legally-valid ceremonies, formations and receptions are strongly advised to go ahead only where they can be done in a COVID-19 secure environment.

-no more than 15 people should attend a marriage, civil partnership or reception, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue. This includes the couple but not suppliers.

-these 15 people must be in groups of no more than six.

-venue managers will have discretion over when they consider it safe to open, and the officiant should also be content that it is safe to proceed.

-the venue should decide to remain closed or not proceed with the marriage or civil partnership if they are not able to safely adhere to the guidelines.

-the venue should keep a record of visitors for 21 days, in case they need to be traced.

-during all activity linked to the marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation, all parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines. From 4th July, 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable) are acceptable.

During the ceremony or civil partnership formation:
-it is advised that ceremonies are kept as short as reasonably possible and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the ceremonies that are required in order for the marriage or civil partnership to be legally binding. No food or drink should be consumed as part of the event unless required for the purposes of solemnisation.

-where the exchanging of rings is required or desired for the solemnisation of the marriage or the formation of the civil partnership, hands should be washed before and after. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible.

-where an infant is involved in proceedings a parent/guardian or member of the infant's household should hold the infant.

Singing and music:
- people should avoid singing, shouting, raising voices and/or playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk or transmission from aerosol and droplets.

-activities such as singing, chanting, shouting and/or playing instruments that are blown into should be specifically avoided.

-where required for the marriage or civil partnership, only one individual should be permitted to sing or chant, and the use of plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect guests.

-in recognition of the important of communal singing in marriages and civil partnerships, it is suggested you consider using recordings.

-you are advised only to play musical instruments that are not blown into. Organs can be played for the ceremony but should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use.

Social distancing:
-all individuals involved should be signposted to the current stay alert and social distancing guidance - and that they or members of their household should not attend if they are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19. 

-wherever possible, adhere to social distancing of at least 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable) between households/bubbles.

-this may require marriages or civil partnerships to be adapted to remove practices that would otherwise have brought people into contact with one another, unless required for the marriage or civil partnership to be legally binding. Where this is the case precautions should be put in place to minimise contact and ensure the timeframe is as short as possible.

-wherever possible attendees should remain seated to support social distancing safety measures.

-attendees and staff are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering where social distancing may be difficult and where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet, in line with the guidance on face coverings.

-seating arrangements should follow social distancing guidance, meaning that at most two households are seated together and social distancing is maintained between these groups. Outdoor table service is also preferable.

-visitors should avoid touching property belonging to others.

-dancing should not be permitted due to the increased risk of transmission and dance floors may be repurposed for additional customer seating.

-activities that involve objects being thrown (such as confetti or bouquet toss) or passed from person to person should be avoided to reduce the likelihood of transmission.

-speeches should take place outside or in well ventilated areas wherever possible.

-other objects in the venue being touched by several people (such as the guest book or camera stations) should be minimised and hand sanitation encouraged both before and after contact.

-it is critical for these guidelines to be observed to keep you and your family and friends as safe as possible.

(Source - for more info please click this link)

If you're wondering whether your wedding can now go ahead, contact your wedding venue or, if you have one, your wedding planner. 

These guidelines are constantly being reviewed so if you have a larger wedding planned for later in the year, it could still be allowed to take place should the government update the guidance.

If you're thinking about holding an intimate wedding ceremony and seeking a venue, take a look at these venues across Devon and Cornwall which specialise in small-scale weddings. Click 
If you're thinking about postponing your wedding, please find some advice from wedding planner Jenny Wren Weddings & Events 
If you're newly engaged - congratulations! - and starting to plan your big day, please find some tips 

Sending you all lots of love from Team Wed xxx

Nova Wedding Photography

Main image: Clare Kinchin