• John Lally

In Sickness & In Health: The Latest Covid Guidelines On Weddings

Updated: Oct 14

It's March 2020. The date is set, the venue's booked and the RSVPs are rolling in. Suddenly a global pandemic strikes and a nationwide lockdown is enforced. Years of planning have come undone in a matter of days and any hopes of your dream wedding still going ahead are very quickly diminishing.

On March 23, weddings in England were essentially banned as the new lockdown laws came into full effect. It's estimated that over 73,000 weddings in England would have been cancelled or postponed between March & July.

As couples scrambled to secure the next best date, summer Saturday weddings in 2020 became winter Wednesday weddings in 2021. Next year is going to be the year of weddings, with mid-week work hangovers at an all time high.


Weddings Are Back On!

On July 4 everything changed! Sort of.

The wedding you've been dreaming of since you were little is finally here! Kind of.

The wedding you've been planning for 2 years can go ahead! In a way.

The party of the year is back on! Provided you stick to the following simple guidelines:

  • Keep your ceremony as short as possible.

  • No food or drink allowed.

  • No singing, no instruments.

  • Only 30 people allowed at the ceremony and they can't go near each other.

  • No party after the ceremony.

  • The venue will keep track of your guests for 21 days after.

The anti-fun has spoken.

Everyone one knows getting married is all about the food, the booze and the bad dance moves, so if you still want to get married under these conditions, then you're getting married... well, for all the right reasons.


Fun Weddings Are Back On!

In mid-July Boris Johnson announced that from August 1 wedding ceremonies and receptions of up to 30 people will now be allowed in a 'Covid Secure' way.


It's a far cry from the festivities and frolicking synonymous with a wedding celebration, but if you're happy to scale down your guest list, making it a more intimate occasion, then an August wedding celebration may be perfect for you. Furthermore, with so many 2020 weddings postponed or cancelled, you may find lots of great last minute deals on suppliers.

I don't want to play into the hands of conspiracy theorists that suggested Boris Johnson creates the rules for himself (after he allowed cleaners and childcare professionals to return to work shortly after his partner gave birth), however it's worth noting that In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, he eluded to the fact that he and his fiancée Carrie Symonds may too, take advantage of the convenient new rules. All the best to them and if they're looking for invitations or on-the-day stationery, I know a great company.


Where In The World Can I Get Married!

Our customer base reaches far and wide, across most the English speaking countries in the world and even a number of non-English speaking countries in Europe. As a result focusing on weddings in England may seem a little exclusive, particularly to those in the other three countries of the United Kingdom. With that being said I will give a brief overview of the latest guidance in other countries too.


Northern Ireland

Indoor marriage ceremonies in places of worship were permitted to resume from July 10.

The numbers attending indoor marriages, civil partnership ceremonies and post-ceremony celebrations should be determined by the venue on a risk assessed basis, taking into account all relevant public health advice and industry guidance.

https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19


Wales

From June 22, people in Wales are allowed to gather and enter buildings to attend weddings and civil partnership ceremonies. A strict 2 metre distance must be maintained. It's up to the venue to determine the guest numbers. However singing is forbidden and music must be kept quiet, so raised voices are not required to maintain a conversation.

https://gov.wales/guidance-marriages-and-civil-partnerships-coronavirus-html


Scotland

From June, marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations are permitted, with the advice that numbers attending should be limited to 20 for public health reasons.

https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnership-registrations/pages/marriage-ceremonies-and-civil-partnership-registrations/


Ireland

Until August 10, the guidelines allow for gatherings of up to 50 people indoors and 200 people outdoors, subject to public health guidance and social distancing measures. Talks of increasing this to 100 people indoors were retracted as the R-rate increased in July.


Only 244 weddings took place in Ireland between March & July. There would have usually been 12,000. To accommodate the large numbers of postponements, the church will now allow weddings to take place on a Sunday. A practice traditionally frowned upon amid concerns of marriages clashing with Sunday Mass.


USA

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) offers guidance on weddings, precautions to take and measures to implement, but legislation seems to vary from state to state. Anecdotally, whilst I've heard of reports of strict lockdown procedures in California, I've simultaneously created stationery for a wedding of 500+ guests in Idaho in mid July.


A Couple Of Notes

  1. All guidance discussed in the article is subject to change and is true at the time of writing.

  2. Although I discuss the lockdown and restrictions in a light hearted and humerous way, I have the deepest sympathies for anybody that's been affected by the pandemic, wedding related or not.

  3. If anybody needs advice or help with wedding planning or dealing with a postponement, please get in touch. We'll always do our best to assist where possible and if we're unsure, we'll point you in the right direction.