What To Expect At A Wedding In 2020
We’re calling on everyone – guests, venues, businesses and couples – to follow the guidance carefully and show that we can all act responsibly, within the guidelines. We need to demonstrate that weddings don’t contribute to an increase in the spread of COVID-19.
The Prime Minister has announced that the government plan to end the lockdown and return to the 3 tier system on the 2nd December. The current rules in each tier will be strengthened to prevent a surge of infections in the following months. However, it was confirmed that weddings will be returning next month.
The whole of England remains in Tier 4 lockdown until at least 2nd December 2020. The government has published its COVID-19 Winter Plan, which outlines the new restrictions. 15 people will be able to attend a wedding in all tiers, but weddings in tier 3 will not be allowed to have a reception following the ceremony. Read our summary of the 3 tier system updates here.
Every image on social media showing more than 15 at a wedding, showing guests on dance floors or weddings in marquees in gardens, is more evidence to the government that social events like weddings are going to be much harder to allow during a time we need to be COVID-safe. Every event that steps over the line further delays larger weddings from taking place. It is no wonder that couples and wedding businesses are reporting offenders in their areas and calling them out online and in forums.
From the experts
We have all waited so long for weddings to be able to take place again. For the sake of every couple who has been affected by restrictions and postponements, let's all work together, stay covid-safe so we can have proper weddings with more guests and less restrictions, as soon as it is safe to do so.Alison Hargreaves, Wedding industry expert and Guides for Brides CEO
Whether you are getting married or attending an event, please share this with other guests so they know what to expect and can stay within the guidelines.
What can we expect the reception to involve?
Weddings, and therefore receptions, are not currently allowed under the lockdown restrictions (in England). Prior to these restrictions, sit down meals for up to 15 people were allowed. Guests had to be seated with others from their household, where possible to avoid mixing of households. Most venues were able to permit cake cutting and speeches in a COVID-safe way, by ensuring guests remain seated and using microphones to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus in the air.
We expect that these rules, subject to any local restrictions, will return when weddings are allowed to go ahead after the current lockdown.
Remember, rules and regulations will differ from nation to nation. So, make sure you are up to date with the latest coronavirus wedding news to know what to expect from the wedding you are attending or hosting. Also, check whether you could be limited by local lockdown restrictions.
Will there be a bar?
Table service will be encouraged. Where venues have a bar, queueing systems will be used to prevent guests gathering with other households at the bar.
Will we be able to dance?
No. The couple are permitted to have a first dance in England and Northern Ireland. Dance floors and loud music aren’t allowed and guests should remain seated at their tables.
The venue is allowing more than 15 guests as their restaurant is COVID-safe. Is that allowed?
No. Due to the increased risk of social interaction at weddings and the prolonged time that guests are together, a strict limit of 15 people (England) was placed on weddings and receptions. Again, make sure you are up to date with current regulations in your nation as the limit differs.
We’re going back to the couple’s house after the ceremony, is that allowed?
Prior to lockdown, receptions following weddings and civil partnerships in England for up to 15 people could take place. However, they were only allowed in a COVID-19 secure venue. They should not take place in people’s private homes or adjoining outdoor spaces like gardens, as these will not have the same COVID-19 Secure measures in place. A small gathering at the couple’s home after the wedding was permitted, as long as it adhered to the relevant gathering guidelines.
Can any sort of gathering take place at home or in the garden?
Yes. However, under lockdown you can only meet with one person from outside your household outdoors. Before lockdown, the government reduced the number of people who can gather in private homes in England to 6 people for both indoor and outdoor gatherings. This is enforceable by the police and if you are caught flouting the rules you may receive a fine of up to £3200. Wedding receptions could only take place in a COVID-19 Secure venue.
The gathering guidelines will be different for each nation and may differ in local lockdown areas; so double-check the guidelines relevant to you before planning your small gathering.
Do we have to wear masks for the ceremony?
Yes. As receptions in England and Wales are indoors, everyone except the couple and the officiants will have to wear a mask by law unless they have a good reason (such as a medical condition) preventing them from doing so.
Will we have to wear masks for the reception?
No. Masks don’t need to be worn while you are outdoors, for example for photos or while you are seated at the table for the reception. You should be seated in households where possible which helps mitigate the risk.
Will we be asked for Track and Trace details?
Yes. A record of every guest will need to be kept for 21 days to assist contact tracers. You may be sent a link before the day or a QR code to scan on arrival.
Are we allowed to stay in the hotel after the wedding?
Yes. Normal hotel rules will apply as soon as the reception is over. This means you can be in the bar or restaurant (for example for breakfast) with one other household if you are seated indoors or in a group of up to 6 people from different households outdoors.
Is it OK to be at a reception where they’re not following the rules?
No. The guidance states that you should not attend celebrations where it is difficult to maintain social distancing and avoid close social interaction – even if they are organised by venues that are taking steps to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines.
What happens if an illegal event is reported?
It’s not just guidance, it’s against the law for gatherings of more than the limited number of people to take place in private homes including gardens, or in a public outdoors space, unless planned by an organisation in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance. The government has introduced £10,000 fines for those who facilitate or organise illegal gatherings of over the limited number of people.
Also, the reduction in the number of people who can gather in private homes in England to 6 people can be enforced by police through a fining system. The fines will start at £100 and double for each further offense to a maximum of £3200.
Perhaps more importantly, every guest there is putting the reputation of everyone involved at risk, and risks delaying the opening of the wedding industry.
It’s really hard for couples with weddings over the next months, especially those who aren’t planning a second reception once the restrictions are lifted. But by doing all we can to follow the rules and guidance in the short term, we’ll be able to open up the industry so much faster in the longer term.
Again, the rules will differ between nations, you can find the official documents for each nation’s COVID-19 wedding guidance here.
- Our Latest Blog Posts
- Most Popular
- Start Planning
- Ultimate Guides
- Covid 19
- Wedding Venues
- Bridal Wear
- Mother of the Bride
- Beauty, Hair and Makeup
- Cakes, Fountains and Sweet Treats
- Caterers and Catering Equipment
- Celebrants and Toastmasters
- Church Weddings
- Discos and DJ's
- Health, Fitness and Weight Loss
- Flowers and Florists
- Gift Ideas
- Gift Lists
- Guest Accommodation
- Hen and Stag Do
- Legal, Financial and Insurance
- Photography and Photographers
- Planners and Co-ordinators
- Spas and Treatments
- Stationery and Invites
- Transport – Cars to Carriages
- Venue Decor and Furniture
- Videography and Videographers
- Weddings Abroad
- Wedding Fairs
- Planning a Wedding
- Wedding Party Advice
- Other Articles