Weddings After Lockdown in 2021
Latest – 19th July: Wedding restrictions have been lifted in England as we move into Step 4.
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.
Find the guidance summaries and latest update for your UK Nation:
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.
Step 4 Weddings
On the 19th of July, England moved into Step 4. The tough border policy will remain in place, however, events such as weddings will be governed by guidance rather than laws.
Here are the key points that changed on July 19th:
- Guidance on covid-safety will be given rather than laws.
- All guest limit restrictions on weddings will be lifted allowing unlimited guests indoors and outdoors.
- There will be no legal requirement to wear a face covering, however advice will be given on where individuals should consider wearing them.
- The social distancing rule (1m + mitigations) will be removed, allowing for dancing.
- No legal requirement to “check-in” to a venue.
- Individual venues and couples will be able to make their own decisions on how to reduce the risk of an outbreak at a wedding.
- Fully-vaccinated UK residents attending a wedding overseas or coming from overseas to attend a wedding will not need to self-isolate when returning from Amber List countries.
Read the official government page for more details.
Good news for venues:
In addition to a proposed end to the legal requirement to ‘check in’ to hospitality venues, from 16 August, anyone in England who has been fully vaccinated, will no longer be required to self-isolate if they have been in close contact with a person who tests positive for Covid. This is particularly good news for wedding venues and businesses that currently risk temporary closure if they come into contact with a couple or wedding guest with Covid.
What guest numbers are allowed at English weddings and when?
As of July 19th, England is currently in Step 4 so there are no longer any limits on guest numbers for weddings.
Current Guidance Summary:
- There are no legal restrictions on the number of people that can attend a wedding ceremony or reception.
- Legal requirements for social distancing will no longer apply and you will not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with.
- Face coverings are no longer required by law in any setting.
- COVID-secure rules, including table service requirements and restrictions on singing and dancing, will no longer apply.
Read the guidance for ceremonies and wedding receptions in full to understand what is and is not allowed in more detail.
Other relevant guidance includes:
- There are no limits on how many people can meet
- 1m-plus guidance has been removed
- Face coverings are no longer required by law, although the government still “expects and recommends” them in crowded and enclosed spaces
The latest government guidance for weddings in Wales is on the government website.
Latest: From July 17th, Wales moved fully into Alert Level 1, which means that the legal limits on numbers of people who can gather outdoors will be removed. Up to 6 people will be able to gather private homes from this date. A provisional date of August 7th has been set for Wales to move fully to Alert Level 0.
Currently in Wales:
- Up to 1,000 people can attend an indoor wedding if they are seated, or 200 standing.
- There will be no limit on the number who can attend an outdoor event. Outdoor events and venues will also have greater flexibility around physical distancing.
- With social distancing laws coming to an end, it will be down to the wedding venue, under their risk assessment, whether guests still have to stay apart, meaning you may be able to have more loved-ones at your ceremony, depending on where you get married.
Read the updated guidance from the Welsh Government for more information.
The latest government guidance for weddings in Scotland is on the government website.
Latest: 19th July – Scotland has moved to the lowest level zero restrictions from today. This means that up to 200 people will be able to attend weddings.
From June 28th, wedding suppliers are no longer be counted towards the 50 person limit, anyone accompanying the bride or groom down the aisle will no longer need to wear a face mask, and live music will once again be permitted – although guests will need to remain seated throughout.
What guest numbers are allowed at Scottish weddings and when?
Taken from Scotland’s Strategic Framework for each Protective Level.
Scotland’s unlocking roadmap states that from Level 3, weddings of 50 will be able to take place. The same goes for Level 2. Upon moving into Level 1, 100 people will be permitted. At Level 0, weddings for 200 will be permitted.
You can see what is permitted at each protective level in more detail here.
The latest government guidance for weddings in Northern Ireland is on the government website.
Latest Update: Restrictions for weddings will be lifted on 22nd July, subject to ratification. From 21st June, live music will be permitted (without dancing) at low volumes inside and without Covid-related volume restrictions outside. Social distancing measures of 1m remain in place.
Current wedding guidance for Northern Ireland can be summarised as the following:
- Wedding receptions are allowed to take place again. The maximum permitted numbers depends on the venue’s Covid-safe capacity, subject to risk assessments by individual venues.
- Other than the ‘top table’, all tables at the reception are restricted to a maximum of 10 people. Children under 12 are excluded from table numbers and there is no household limit.
- Dancing is not permitted, however, the only exception to this is the couple’s ‘first dance’. Live music is not permitted, and ambient music must be at a level that permits normal conversation.
- A person responsible for a hospitality business must take reasonable measures to ensure that social distancing measures are maintained at all times to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus.
- Face coverings must be worn if you leave your table (to access toilet facilities/in public areas), unless exempt. Face coverings do not have to be worn by the marriage party during the ceremony.
- Up to four people will be permitted to attend viewings at wedding venues.
- Post-ceremony celebrations in private homes must comply with domestic setting regulation.
We have found this BBC News article to be the most helpful to summarise the current restrictions in Northern Ireland.
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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