What are the new rules for getting married during lockdown??
Published by Di Symes 30.06.20
Like many wedding suppliers it has been a challenging time for us and extremely upsetting our lovely couples looking to tie the knot this year. We have been so fortunate to have been able to reschedule and accommodate all our couples and their pooches but there's still the remainder of the year to go and some are still in limbo as to what to do next!
So following yesterday's announcement by the Gvt around weddings and what is and currently isn't allowed during lockdown, I thought it would be useful to share with you the most up to date information.
Whilst I personally see this as exciting and positive news, as generally things seem to be moving in the right direction, there are still a number of restrictions in place that could impact on what you may have in mind for your wedding and I have listed a few below. For the full advice please visit Gov UK website
At present, legally-valid ceremonies or formations are strongly advised to go ahead only where they can be done in a COVID-19 secure environment. It is also advised that the ceremonies are kept as short as reasonably possible and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the ceremonies that are required in order for the marriage or civil partnership to be legally binding. No more than 30 people should attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue.
Any receptions that typically follow or accompany marriages or civil partnerships are strongly advised not to take place at this time. Small celebrations should only take place if following social distancing guidelines – i.e. in groups of up to two households indoors, or up to 6 people from different households outdoors.
The government is working with the wedding and civil partnership celebration industry on how receptions that typically follow or accompany marriages and civil partnerships could take place safely in the future.
Key principles for planning COVID-19 secure marriages and civil partnerships
During all activity linked to the marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation, all parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines. From 4 July, 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable), are acceptable.
From 4 July, gatherings of more than 30 people will be permitted but only in certain public places as set out in law. This will include all licensed venues where legal marriage ceremonies can take place however it is strongly advised that numbers are restricted to 30 for public health reasons.
Those operating venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines should take additional steps to ensure the safety of the public and prevent large gatherings or mass events from taking place.
The marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation
- Should only take place in COVID-19 secure environments. Where a marriage ceremony can take place legally in other places not covered by this guidance (such as outdoor weddings that are permitted under the Marriage Act), the legal restrictions on gatherings must be followed for that place.
- It is advised that the ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time, and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law of England and Wales.
- Religious communities should therefore adapt traditional religious aspects, especially where celebrations would otherwise have taken place over a number of hours, or even days, to ensure the safety of those present and minimal spread of infection.
- Large wedding receptions or parties after should not take place after the marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation. See restaurants and other hospitality industries guidance for further information.
- No food or drink should be consumed as a part of the event unless required for the purposes of solemnisation.
- Where the exchanging of rings is required or desired for the solemnisation of the marriage or the formation of the civil partnership, hands should be washed before and after. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible.
- Where an infant is involved in proceedings a parent/guardian or member of the infant’s household should hold the infant.
Singing, chanting and the use of musical instruments
- People should avoid singing, shouting, raising voices and/or playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting. This is because of the potential for increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets.
- Therefore, spoken responses during marriages or civil partnerships should also not be in a raised voice.
- Activities such as singing, chanting, shouting and/or playing of instruments that are blown into should be specifically avoided. This is because there is a possible additional risk of infection in environments where individuals are singing or chanting as a group, and this applies even if social distancing is being observed or face coverings are used.
- Where required for the marriage or civil partnership, only one individual should be permitted to sing or chant, and the use of plexi-glass screens should be considered to protect guests, as this will further prevent transmission and the screen can be easily cleaned.
- We recognise the importance of communal singing in marriages or civil partnerships, and as this should not happen at this time, we suggest you consider using recordings that may be available to you.
- You are advised only to play musical instruments that are not blown into. Organs can be played for a ceremony, as well as general maintenance, but should be cleaned thoroughly before and after use.
- The government and the medical and scientific communities are urgently engaged in research around transmission risk and how such activities can best be managed safely, and further guidance will follow when available.