Have you had to cancel your long awaited wedding due to COVID-19 or perhaps your a couple who have had to postpone your wedding to a later date? Hopefully we will be able to ease your anxieties and fill you in on all the latest government guidelines and what to do if you’ve been impacted by the pandemic.
Since lockdown in March, thousands of couples planning to marry have faced the unimaginable and had to cancel or postpone their big day due to the rules and regulations the government put in place. We did however, see some light at the end of the tunnel at the end of June when the government released some revised guidelines allowing small ceremonies and civil partnerships to take place from July 4th. That said, it was also stated those ceremonies could only consist of a maximum of two households unless the ceremony was being held outdoors in which case there may be a maximum of six people.
Moving on, couples will be able to get married with a maximum of 30 people, however that is the total number to include all suppliers, family members and registrar/celebrant.
Here’s what the official government advice states:
- A maximum of 30 people in attendance which includes the couple, suppliers and officiants
- Ceremonies must be succinct and kept as short as reasonably possible, limited to the legally binding exchange of vows.
- Their should be clear markings to maintain social distancing measures
- Ceremonies must be held in a secure environment that adheres to COVID-19 safety measures, adhering to the 2 meter rule or 1 meter where appropriate PPE is available.
- Hand-washing must take place before rings are exchanged
- No food or drink is to be consumed during the ceremony
- Raised voices must be avoided, for this reason singing is not recommended and recordings are advised in place of such
- Blown instruments should be avoided
- Risk reduction measures should be in place such as avoiding face to face seating of guests, limited guests as per above guidelines within enclosed spaces, adequate ventilation and restricting access to non-essential areas
The rules go on to state wedding receptions that typically follow marriages or civil partnerships should be avoided at this time, although smaller celebrations can be held as long as social distancing measures are adhered too.
The impact of these rules has been catastrophic for unprecedented numbers of couples across the UK and abroad and a lot of couples have been left not knowing which way to turn or when they can rearrange their big day in the way they had planned. Of course this has left couples with many questions about their wedding plans and we hope we can offer some common questions we have been asked during the past few months below;
Should we cancel?
If the current government guidelines do not fit with your plans its advisable to speak with your venue to try and negotiate moving your wedding to a later date. We have found the majority of venues are working hard to support couples as best they can as they understand the disappointment and worry couples are faced with.
We are due to marry in August, is it likely to go ahead?
The chances are in your favour if we continue to see a decline in infectious rates across the country, however its almost inevitable social distancing measures and maximum guest numbers will still be in place so large reception gatherings are highly unlikely. The sensible answer really is whether you will be happy to down-size your plans and hold a smaller, more intimate ceremony or postpone to a future date. Its also worth contacting any suppliers you have booked to ensure they can still provide the agreed service or their availability for a future date.
We are due to marry abroad, can it go ahead?
If your due to travel abroad to get married it may be more likely you will need to rearrange to a future date given the varied lock-down measures in different countries which are likely to be in place until at least Autumn. For more information visit the foreign and commonwealth office website.
Will my insurance cover cancellation?
This is dependant upon your individual insurance policy, however, generally policies will only cover if your venue is unable to hold your wedding due to an outbreak of infectious or contagious disease, closed by a relevant authority or due to death, injury or illness. It is also worth pointing out most policies will only provide cover if the policy was taken out prior to the any of the above occurring. As of May the FCA informed insurers that they must support their customers facing financial difficulty directly due to COVID-19.
How can we include guests who can’t come to our wedding due to shielding?
It is advised elderly or immune-compromised individuals do not attend events or gatherings. This will of course impact on a majority of weddings where couples have elderly relatives or family and friends with health conditions meaning they cannot attend. However, all is not lost! There are many ways you can still include those people in your celebrations. A few considerations are as follows;
- Consider a video link so those who can’t attend can watch your wedding from the comfort of their own home
- If your planning on having a videographer you could set aside a little time to send them a personalised message
- Create some special wedding favours or wedding box and present it to your absent guests after the big day, filled with little pieces of memorabilia from the day itself
- Save them a slice of wedding cake (everyone loves cake!!)
- Create your very own wedding hashtag so guests can upload pictures throughout the day for absent guests to follow in real time!
Should we put our wedding plans on hold for now?
Absolutely Not!!! The beauty of wedding planning in today’s world is the ability to plan plan plan from the comfort of your own home, thanks to the wonderful world wide web!! Whether your newly engaged or whether you’ve finally agreed to tie the knot after many years, your bound to be excited and biting at the bit to get planning and organised!
Most venues are now offering virtual tours of their venues, allowing you a personalised viewing from the comfort of your own home. Many suppliers are also following suit and offering online consultations and viewings via apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Don’t forget your cake samples in the post too! Most cake makers are offering samples of their wedding cakes delivered to your door which simply can’t be overlooked!!
One important point to consider is that many couples who planned to marry in 2020 are now rearranging for 2021 so dates will be limited. It’s definitely worth getting ahead of the game and shortlisting your potential venues and suppliers sooner rather than later to avoid any disappointment.
Although we’re all facing unprecedented times it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom! You can still enjoy planning the wedding day of your dreams albeit with some extra considerations but just think in years to come it will all add to your wedding story.
Plan. Celebrate. Enjoy.