Wedding season is nearly upon us – and boy, are we here for it. Thousands of couples have had to postpone their nuptials over the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and hundreds of wedding suppliers have struggled to stay afloat. There has been confusion on the latest wedding rules, and restricted events happening since April. So it’s about time we had some good wedding-related news – and the Downing Street press conference on 10th May didn’t disappoint.
From 17th May 2021, the UK government has given couples the green light to invite up to 30 people to their wedding ceremonies and receptions. That means anyone who’s ruined their manicure biting their nails in anticipation can finally relax – your wedding can go ahead with up to 30 guests from next week!
That said, it’s not necessarily going to be a free-for-all knees-up – Covid is still going to be a big consideration in how your day plays out. We’ve scoured the government guidance to figure out exactly what you can do at your wedding from 17th May, and what’s still against the rules.
What are the main changes to Weddings from 17th May?
You read it right – the English government is upping the limit of wedding attendees from 15 to 30 from 17th May 2021. However, it’s important to note that this number includes you and your partner, as well as your wedding officiant and any vendors such as musicians or photographers. In Wales, numbers are also limited to 30 guests. In Scotland, where 50 people are currently allowed to attend weddings, there’s no change until Scotland moves into level one. This is expected to be from 7th June 2021.
Where can my wedding take place?
Weddings can still only take place at Covid-secure venues – which means face masks, hand sanitiser, and social distancing, especially at indoor venues. Wedding receptions also can take place outside, including in a private garden – if you’re in England or Scotland. In Wales, outdoor receptions must take place in licensed venues rather than private gardens. If you’re getting married in Northern Ireland, receptions are still out of action – though the government is expected to allow wedding receptions to take place from 24th May.
While receptions have been given the go-ahead, it’s worth noting the government have specifically ruled out dancing at weddings at this stage – so prepare for a more sedate affair. No tripping the light fantastic just yet.
Will we have to wear masks with the latest Wedding Rules?
Guests and suppliers will be expected to wear a mask throughout the ceremony, so it’s crucial to make them aware of this beforehand. In line with current NHS guidance, you and your partner should also wear a mask when you’re with people from outside your bubble. Some officiants will allow you to remove your mask while you read your vows, but if they ask you to keep your mask on, you should do so.
While masks don’t make for the most elegant of affairs, it’s a small price to pay for keeping your wedding guests safe – so make sure you follow the rules and remind your guests to keep their faces covered at all times. (Top tip – a masquerade ball-themed wedding is a fabulous way to make masks fun).
What’s coming on 21st June 2021?
While we’re a little way off normality yet, the government roadmap suggests we won’t have to wait too long for coronavirus restrictions to be lifted further. All being well, the government aims to remove all limits on weddings and civil ceremonies from 21st June 2021 in England. That means anyone who’s planning a summer 2021 wedding may just be able to have the day they’ve been dreaming of – from mask-free ceremonies to all-night dancing.
The rest of the UK is opening up a little more cautiously. When the Scottish government reduces restrictions to level one, couples in Scotland will be able to invite up to 100 guests to their weddings – although face masks and social distancing measures will still be in place. Northern Ireland is due to allow receptions to take place soon, but there’s no news on when all wedding restrictions will be lifted as yet. Wales is also yet to announce when they hope to lift all wedding limitations.
How likely is it that my Wedding can go ahead without restrictions from June?
While we have everything crossed that weddings in England will go ahead restriction-free from 21st June, there’s a small chance this date will be pushed back. It’s also possible that restrictions will be lifted further but not fully – for example, you may be able to invite more people to your wedding, but face masks may still be needed. It’s important to be prepared for all these possibilities – we’re not out of the woods just yet, and your guests’ safety is top priority.
Until weddings have begun to take place with more people from 17th May, we won’t know the impact of easing restrictions. As a result, the government is unlikely to confirm or deny their June plans for weddings until nearer the time. However, so far the government has stuck pretty tightly to its 2021 roadmap for easing coronavirus restrictions – so we’re allowing ourselves a little excitement now that we’ve been promised another step towards a free, fun, fabulous wedding season.
After weeks and months of curbing your wedding daydreams, a glimmer of hope is now on the horizon. That means it’s time to brush off the wedding planner and get excited. If there’s still lots you need to do before your big day, it’s time to take a look at our wedding checklist and get ready for the day you’ve been waiting for!