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Covid and current wedding rules

April 13, 2021
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Covid and current wedding rules can be confusing!

Some couples planning to marry between mid-April and mid-May face disappointment after confirmation of England’s roadmap out of lockdown.

Weddings can go ahead again from 12 April, but only in places of worship and public buildings.

Other venues had hoped to reopen too, but have been told they must wait until indoor hospitality reopens in May.

The government said the roadmap had set out which events could take place when and this plan had not changed.

“At Step 2 – no earlier than 12 April – weddings can take place in premises that are permitted to open or where a broader exemption applies such as places of worship or hotel function suites,” a government spokesperson said.

“Wedding receptions can take place outdoors only. There has been no change to this plan.”

However, the industry is warning thousands of weddings will have to be cancelled or postponed following this “confusion”, and unfortunately some of our clients have fallen victim to this.

“The roadmap indicated weddings and receptions could resume on 12th April. We have now discovered, not by being offered the information but by analysing the small print and repeatedly seeking clarity, that this is not the case,” said Sarah Haywood, spokeswoman for Weddings Taskforce, a group set up to represent the sector.

She said 70% of England’s weddings took place in licensed venues that would not be permitted to open under the rules, but that the government had failed to explain that clearly when it outlined its plan for reopening the economy in February.

So what are the current rules?

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Restrictions on weddings have been eased as part of England’s lockdown exit plans.

But many licensed wedding venues will remain shut until mid-May at the earliest.

Where are England’s wedding rules now?

Wedding ceremonies and receptions can take place with up to 15 people (including the couple) attending.

Ceremonies can only take place in Covid-secure places of worship, public buildings or locations already permitted to open under current lockdown rules.

Receptions must take place outdoors – in a Covid secure venue permitted to open – and they must take the form of a sit-down meal.

They cannot take place in people’s private gardens or public outdoor spaces.

  • 17 May (at the earliest): Up to 30 allowed at ceremony and reception, which can be held at Covid-secure venue indoors or outdoors (including private gardens)
  • 21 June (at the earliest): The government aims to remove all limits on social contact, including wedding restrictions
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