Plan B Covid Restrictions and Weddings: 4 Things You Absolutely Need to Know

After a year that has felt largely restriction free, the Omicron variant has ushered in a new wave of Coronavirus guidelines known as “Plan B” restrictions. Government guidelines seem to be changing extremely quickly at the moment, and we will not have the full picture of what these new rules entail until Monday. However, for those planning weddings which are fast approaching, here is what we do currently know about the new Plan B Covid restrictions.

The New Rules Under Plan B:

  • Face masks are now compulsory in most indoor venues, excluding hospitality.
  • NHS Covid pass is to be compulsory  in specific settings, using a negative test or full vaccination via the NHS Covid Pass.
  • Vaccines and regular testing are encouraged.
  • Work from home where possible.

So What Do these New Restrictions Mean For Weddings?

The overall takeaway from Plan B is that not much will change with these new restrictions. Thanks to the vaccine rollout it seems unlikely that restrictions will ever have to reach the peak of previous years ever again.

While there is no direct legislation relating to weddings, we can safely assume that the rules regarding hospitality will apply to your wedding celebration. Now, let’s break down some of the key questions you might have.

bride adheres to covid restrictions at weddings by wearing a mask

1 – Do Guests Need to Wear Face Masks at my Wedding Reception?

While face masks are now compulsory in shops and on public transport, they are not to be enforced in restaurants, cafes, night clubs and dancehalls. 

Thus, as long as you are marrying in a hospitality venue you will not need to ask your guests to wear a face mask for your reception. This means that you can enjoy your first dance, your cake cutting, and your wedding feast all without masking up. 

Be aware however that your chosen wedding venue may have their own policy on face masks, so it is best to check this with them before the day.

On the flipside, the government website is very clear that from the 10th of December masks should be worn in public spaces. This rule specifically includes hotels, libraries, aquariums, zoos, and cinemas which are all popular wedding venues.

If you have hired the entirety of the venue you may be able to avoid the face mask law. However, if you expect to be sharing your wedding venue with the public on the day then masks may be required.

Again, it is best to check with your venue beforehand so you can plan accordingly.

You can read the full list of venues that now require face masks here.

social distance wedding

2 – What About the Wedding Ceremony?

Here comes the bad news. This new mask mandate also covers places of worship. This means that you will need to ask your guests to mask up for the ceremony. 

Again, there are no rules specifically for weddings but it follows that you will also be required to wear a mask while walking down the aisle and at the altar too. Thankfully there are hundreds of options for chic bridal face masks available, so you can make sure your wedding party still looks incredible for your special day. 

Tip: Ask your dress seamstress for offcuts of your wedding dress fabric to be sewn into a mask for the perfect matching look.

3 – Will Covid Restrictions Mean My Guest List Will be Reduced?

As far as we can see, no. As of now there are no new rules relating to the size of gatherings and how many guests you are able to invite.

The guidelines do suggest that large groups of people who are mingling should consider wearing face masks, limit close interaction, and social distance where possible, but this is just a suggestion. 

You and your guests will need Covid passports to enter your venue if the capacity is over 500 people, or if the venue has a dance floor and plays music. These are easily accessible via the NHS Covid app. However, this could cause some of your guests to forego attending if they do not have the required vaccinations.

If you are unsure of how to get your vaccine passport, here is the full government guide.

travel and covid

4 – Can My Destination Wedding Still Go Ahead?

Restrictions on travelling abroad currently remain the same from the UK. You will however have to check that rules in the country you are travelling to have not altered. 

Some countries have now been upgraded to the “red list”, meaning that people from England should not travel there. This includes Malawi and South Africa. Take the time to check that your wedding or Honeymoon destinations are not on the list, which can be found in full here.

As long as your destination country is not on the travel red list, the biggest change you will encounter with your destination wedding is how you will return to the UK. Here is a quick rundown of what you will need to do to return home after your wedding, if you are fully vaccinated:

Before you travel to England you must:

  • Take a COVID-19 test – to be taken in the 2 days before you travel to England
  • Book and pay for a COVID-19 PCR test – to be taken after you arrive in England
  • Complete a passenger locator form – to be completed in the 48 hours before you arrive in England

Once you arrive in England:

  • Take a COVID-19 PCR test. (The test that you booked before travelling.)
  • You must quarantine in your home or the place you are staying while you await your test result.

If your test is negative you are free to go about your normal life. If it is positive you will need to quarantine for 10 days before testing again. 

You can read the full government guidelines on returning to England from abroad here.

 

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