September 2020 COVID-19 Wedding Guidelines Breakdown

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September 2020 has seen some big changes, yet again, on the guidelines and restrictions for weddings. With guest numbers being cut down to only 15, plus a some what confusing list of Do's and Don'ts for the day, we know this is another heart breaking and frustrating blow for Couples. We understand how disappointed you must be feeling if your wedding (whether that be your original date or postponed date) was set to take place within the next 6 months. But remember, love is not cancelled. You will marry your loved one, whether that be in an intimate ceremony now or a big celebration in the future (or even both!). Stay strong, be kind to one another. We'll get through this together.

If you're feeling confused about what is and isn't allowed for your wedding in the next six months, here’s our breakdown on what you need to be aware of and how it might affect your plans: 


What’s changed at a glance…

  1. Weddings are now only for 15 people, including the couple.  
  2. Weddings must take place in a COVID-secure formal venue.  
  3. A 10pm curfew means all weddings, receptions and celebrations must end by that time.
  4. Table service only.
  5. Restrictions on music, entertainment and first dances.
  6. Restrictions on speeches, cake cutting and other traditions.
  7. Face coverings must be worn by all attendees, when inside. 
  8. Everyone must give their details over for track and trace. 


What does this mean?

1. Weddings are now only for 15 people including the couple.  

You and your partner can get married, inside or outside (as legally permitted), with 13 other attendees (including your witnesses) as guests.  

Your photographer, wedding planner, catering team or any other supplier attending the ceremony or reception in a working capacity are not included in this.  

You can’t say that one of your guests is a wedding supplier to increase your numbers.  A person can be only working or a guest, not both. 


2. Weddings must take place in a COVID-secure venue.  

No back-garden weddings can take place, including Jewish Weddings.  All weddings must take place in a formal venue (inside or outside, as legally permitted) but with COVID-secure measures in place.  

Back garden or at home weddings, of more than 6 people, even if legally allowed as part of the Marriage Act are not permitted.  The Rule of 6 will apply to any event in a private garden or home.   


3. 10pm Curfew is in place.

Wedding receptions, bars and restaurants will close at 10pm at the latest, but guests can stay overnight in hotels.   Last orders will be earlier than 10pm to make sure.  


4. Table Service for all.

All food and beverage must have table service so there’s no queuing at bars or food trucks/vans.  Chat with your caterers/venue about how they plan to serve food and drinks.   


5. Music, Entertainment and first dances.

All dancing is banned, except for first dances. Music should ideally be recorded or performed by non-wind instruments and without singing.  

However, performed music is allowed but, where singing or a wind instrument is involved, performers should be using screens to protect people from increased transmission. 

Hymns and worship in ceremonies should not be corporate (ie. By you and your 13 other guests) but performed by a singer (or choir in groups of up to 6 people) and socially distanced.  

No shouting or projecting of voices.  Singers and choirs should be mic’d appropriately so that projection may be kept to a minimum.  Officiants and Ministers should also be mic’d also to make sure that they are not shouting to avoid additional transmission. 

Volume should be kept low for reception music to avoid people shouting over the music. 

Speak with a DJ to discuss appropriate AV setups and your entertainers should be told the set up in the space, so they can make sure they position themselves most appropriately for you.  

Other entertainment may still be able to take place, such as magicians or photobooths, but you should talk to your suppliers about how they make their services work in a socially distanced and COVID-secure way.   


6. Speeches, Cake Cutting and other traditions.

Ceremonies and Receptions are being encouraged to be shorter than usual and outside where possible.  Lots of ventilation is required for inside space, so think about where you place children or elderly relatives who may get colder more easily.  It is safer for higher-risk guests to be in more well-ventilated areas, though, so extra blankets and heaters may be required to keep them warm as the weather gets colder.   

Curfews are cutting into timings so you could think about moving your ceremony earlier in the day, if possible, to make the most of your time.  

Communal items such as guest books and polaroid stations are not permitted, sadly, anymore.  Instead, why not look for alternative ways you can include these traditions?  You might include having a card and pen per guest at each person’s place setting and ask them to write a message for you.  They could pop them into a post box individually and you can stick into the book later (wait 48 hours first) 

Other traditions including throwing the bouquet or the garter toss are not permitted, as you can’t do these without passing an object from one person to another.  

Cutting of the cake must be observed by the guests from a distance and then taken away to be cut and served.  

Speeches should be using mics and socially distanced.  It’s important that it’s a different mic for each person, to avoid transmission.  A DJ or AV company can help you out with this.  Radio mics are the easiest to manage as you simply give a mic to each person at their place setting and unmute them when they do their speech.   


7. Face Coverings

All attendees, including yourselves, must wear face coverings inside.  Couples getting married don’t have to wear a face covering for the ceremony, but they should for the rest of the day.  

Outside, face coverings are not required if you can keep 2m away from people.  So keep your photos socially distanced if you want to avoid face coverings in your pics.  

When you are seated to eat or drink, you don’t have to wear a face covering, but you do need to wear them when walking around the venue and in public areas.  


8. Track and Trace

All suppliers including those delivering and collecting items must submit their details to your venue for Track and Trace.  

Your venue should also have an official NHS QR code poster on display so that you, your guests, suppliers and other venue customers can ‘check in’ on the Test and Trace system themselves, as an alternative to providing their details to the venue directly. 

Venues must stick to GDPR and General Data Protections and only keep the data for up to 21 days in case required by NHS Test and Trace or other local public health officials, if requested. 

Each household group of guests (max 6 per group) will need to ‘check in’ or provide details from at least one person in the group. 


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