Events and Weddings – Your Latest Covid-19 Update

Events and Weddings – Your Latest Covid-19 Update

In 2020, our lives have been turned upside and sideways. ‘Face to face’ events became a thing of the past as wedding days and celebrations were postponed or even cancelled. However, are times slowly changing for the better and can we expect to see some normality soon?

Since early July, outdoor weddings of up to 30 guests have been permitted in the UK. Despite this being a joyous announcement for some, for others, it left their eagerly awaited day being changed, postponed, or even cancelled altogether. 30 guests in an outdoor space isn’t as easy to arrange as some may initially think. But, fear not, we are here to shed some light on the new announcement regarding weddings. Drum roll, please…

We are delighted to announce that sit-down wedding receptions are allowed to take place in England as of 15th August 2020. No need to reread, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. Sit-down receptions of up to 30 guests are now permitted and we couldn’t be more thrilled. However, the rules of who can attend and where the wedding can be held are still a little confusing, so let us explain the ins and outs of this new update.

A Brief Rundown

On 23rd March 2020, the unimaginable happened for a lot of couples, families and businesses alike: we were all told that weddings were to be banned until further notice, as the UK had gone into lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost 74,000 weddings and civil partnership ceremonies were called off, with couples unaware of when their big day could take place. This was heart-breaking news for couples who had spent months, or even years, planning their perfect day. In the following months, we all eagerly awaited update after update, hoping our politicians and leading health experts could shed some light on when weddings could go ahead. Finally, our time has come.

As of 15th August, a maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend a ‘sit-down reception’ in England, but what are the rules for the rest of the UK?

In Northern Ireland, small outdoor weddings are allowed to take place, but with restrictions. The number of guests allowed must be decided by each individual venue, after undertaking a risk assessment to see how feasible social distancing is. This may result in a wedding being larger, or smaller, than the 30 guests allowed in England. This is also similar in Wales, where couples aren’t allowed an indoor reception whatsoever. Along with England, Scotland has also allowed indoor wedding ceremonies, but only allowing 20 guests to attend.

Now What?

The government has recently published its guidelines on how to ensure a wedding goes ahead smoothly and within the safety measures put in place. In England, venues must ensure that they only reopen to the public for events if it is safe to do so. By this, they mean that there is enough space to make sure guests can be at a safe distance from one another, following social distance guidelines. Along with this, ceremonies must be kept as short as possible, to restrict the amount of time people are in one space together.

These aren’t the only rules put in place, however. It has also been stated that no food or drink should be consumed at any events – but there are some exceptions. For some, the consumption of food or drink during a ceremony is essential. These traditions will be honoured, as long as it is safe to do so.

Along with this, large groups of people singing or playing instruments is to be avoided by all means. Sadly, it has come to light that singing can spread the virus quicker. We won’t go into too much detail about that, but we are sure you can imagine why. Although for some this won’t be a huge loss (who doesn’t love a good Spotify playlist?) for others, this will be a make or break guideline. Brides and grooms alike often dream about having the perfect live band at their wedding – but unfortunately, that is now off the cards.

As previously mentioned, a maximum of 30 people can attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony. However, there are conditions bound to this rule as well. 30 people may only attend where there is space to socially distance safely and effectively. Along with this, you have to take into account who exactly this involves. The 30 people that can be at a ceremony at a time aren’t just the guests – you have to also include the officiant and other ‘staff’ not employed by the venue (for example, a photographer or events planner) So, this makes things a little more complicated. If you thought 30 guests was generous, you’re probably looking at more of the 25 mark instead.

Above everything else, social distancing is still extremely important and we cannot stress this enough. At least one metre should still be kept between people of different households – so hugging loved ones is a massive “no!” Thankfully, one metre isn’t actually as bad as you may initially think, so don’t be thinking you’ll have to be shouting across the room to have a conversation!

One last thing we felt was important to mention was how venues will be keeping note of whether the virus is present at their establishment. Each venue will be expected to keep a record of all its visitors for 21 days – just to be on the safe side. This means that track and trace measures can be fully implemented and anyone who may have been exposed to the virus can be notified immediately.

Thankfully, things are moving in the right direction. Weddings and events are looking more and more likely, as people abandon their Zoom calls and get back to reality. But we cannot stress enough how important it is to follow these guidelines put in place. Everyone wants their events and wedding days to run as smoothly as possible. Don’t let Covid-19 crash the best day of your life. Stay safe and we will update you as and when new guidelines are presented to us.

Editor’s note

As testimony to the ever changing rules surrounding Covid-19, since writing this blog there have been new social distance restrictions put in place.  As of Monday 14th September 2020 no meetings of groups of more than 6 outside of your household are permitted.  This rule applies to people of all ages and for both indoor and outdoor events.  There are exceptions for specific events (weddings and funerals come under this), and for things like schools and workplaces.

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