Weddings After Lockdown in 2021
Each UK nation is currently in the process of coming out of various lockdowns. They are all doing so at different speeds and with different (often provisional) dates in place. We’ve included a brief summary and all the relevant government links to the current, available guidance for each UK nation below.
Latest Update – 12th April: England has moved into Step 2 (15 person weddings are now permitted). The ceremonies guidance for England has been updated to state wedding receptions in private gardens for up to 30 people can take place from Step 3 (provisionally 17th May). We are still awaiting the full reception guidance to be updated for Steps 3 and 4. Read our advice for planning your covid-safe wedding in a private garden.
Find the guidance summaries for your UK Nation:
Latest Update – 12th April: The ceremonies guidance for England has been updated to state wedding receptions in private gardens for up to 30 people can take place from Step 3 (provisionally 17th May). Read our advice for planning your covid-safe wedding in a private garden.
As ever, we will be analysing and understanding the updated guidance to answer your questions on what it means for weddings going forward. This page will be updated regularly and answer your questions with live Q+As. Please ensure you are following us on Facebook and Instagram to be notified when we go Live.
Current wedding guidance for England can be summarised as the following:
- Restricted weddings of 15 people for a ceremony and reception from April 12th, in permitted venues.
- Certain venues were permitted to open for wedding ceremonies from 29th March. Read the guidance to understand which venues are included.
- Wedding receptions in the form of a sit-down meal can take place from 12th April. These must take place outdoors in a covid-secure venue.
- Marquee wedding receptions can take place in Step 2 but the shelter cannot be enclosed or substantially enclosed. The guidance states ‘For example, at least 50% of the wall area of the marquee must be open for it to be considered outdoors.’
- Dancing cannot take place at wedding receptions but the couple may have their first dance.
- Face coverings are currently required by law to be worn in many indoor settings, including places of worship.
- Restricted weddings of 30 people for a ceremony and reception from Step 3, provisionally May 17th.
- Wedding receptions from Step 3 are able to take place outdoors in a private garden.
- Unrestricted weddings allowed from Step 4, provisionally June 21st.
We are awaiting clarification on the following:
- Weddings from Step 3 (provisionally 17th May) and Step 4 (provisionally 21st June) are still awaiting further guidance for ceremony and reception. We anticipate this guidance will rely upon the pilot events.
Other relevant guidance includes:
- Non-essential retail reopened on April 12th. This will include wedding suppliers such as bridal salons and florists.
- Showrounds are expected to be allowed from 17th May (when the majority of venues can open indoors). There is a strong argument for this to be changed to sooner and we are awaiting the outcome of that request.
- Menu tastings in line with social mixing rules, so can be held outside for 2 households or 6 individuals from 12th April or inside from 17th May.
- Social mixing outdoors allowed from March 8th with 2 people. From March 29th, this increased to 6 people or 2 households. Then, from May 17th, most social contact rules are expected to be lifted for outdoor mixing.
- Social mixing indoors allowed from May 17th with 6 people or 2 households. Then, from June 21st, all legal limits on social contact are currently expected to be removed.
The latest government guidance for weddings in Wales is on the government website.
Latest Update: Couples in Wales will now be able to have an outdoor reception for up to 30 people from Monday 26th April.
Currently in Wales:
- Wedding ceremonies can take place in approved wedding venues from 1st March. The number able to attend will depend on how many people the venue can accommodate safely, observing 2 metre social distancing laws. If any guests are attending from England, the maximum number attending is 6, in line with English law.
- No receptions are permitted.
- Four people from two different households can meet up outdoors to socialise, including in gardens from March 12th.
- Weddings venue showrounds are allowed from 1st March.
- Hairdressers and barbers are currently opening on March 15th.
- All non-essential shops, including wedding suppliers, are currently opening from April 12th.
- Outdoor receptions for up to 30 from 26th April
The latest government guidance for weddings in Scotland is on the government website.
Latest- 13th April: A further timeline for Scotland’s easing of COVID restrictions has been published. Mainland Scotland and islands at Level 4 are expected to move to Level 3 on April 26th. Islands at Level 3 will remain there until 17 May. On 17 May, all of Scotland will move to Level 2. Then, in early June, all of Scotland will move to Level 1. Finally, in late June, all of Scotland will move to Level 0.
Currently in Scotland:
- Limited weddings with 5 guests, 6 if an interpreter is required, are already allowed.
- Up to four adults from two different households are able to meet in any outdoor space, including in private gardens, from March 12th.
- Non-essential shops, including wedding suppliers, opening on April 26th.
- Hairdresser and barber salons to reopen for appointments from April 5th.
- Social mixing outdoors allowed from March 15th, with up to 4 people from 2 different households.
- Social mixing outdoors increased from April 5th, with up to 6 people from 2 different households.
- Social mixing outdoors increased from April 26th, with up to 6 people from 3 different households – and with no mainland travel restrictions in place. 12 to 17 year olds able to meet outdoors with up to 6people from 6 different households.
- Weddings of up to 50 people from April 26th – alcohol is now permitted according to the Scottish Government’s easing timeline.
- On 17 May, all of Scotland will move to Level 2 (50 people at weddings – alcohol permitted).
- In early June, all of Scotland will move to Level 1 (100 people at weddings – alcohol permitted).
- All of Scotland will move to Level 0 from late June (200 people at wedding – alcohol permitted).
The latest government guidance for weddings in Northern Ireland is on the government website.
Northern Ireland has announced a pathway out of coronavirus restrictions, with four steps out of lockdown. These changes in restrictions will only occur after a four week review has deemed it is safe for these changes to occur.
Current wedding guidance for Northern Ireland can be summarised as the following:
- Limited marriage and civil partnership ceremonies with 25 guests are already allowed.
- Increased numbers at indoor and outdoor marriages with a risk assessment could be allowed following a March 16th review.
- Receptions could currently be taking place with mitigations and limited numbers following an April 15th review.
- No upper limit on numbers for pre- and post-gatherings for civil marriages, determined by venue risk assessment, as well as limited live music at receptions could be allowed following a May 13th review.
- Further mitigations could currently be relaxed for pre- and post-gatherings for marriages, as
well as allowing live music, entertainment, and dancing at receptions, following a June 10th review.
Other relevant guidance includes:
- Non-essential shops, including wedding suppliers, could open following an April 15th review.
- Increased numbers could be allowed for organised outdoor gatherings, not at a private dwelling as well as restricted numbers indoors not at a private dwelling following an April 15th review.
As always, we encourage you to fully read the guidance for your nation and speak to your venue and suppliers to ensure you are fully informed before making any decisions about your wedding. If you feel that your wedding cannot go ahead, our advice on postponements may be helpful to you.
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