WHAT ARE THE WEDDING RULES AS OF 21ST JUNE 2021?
Planning a wedding is stressful at the best of times, but it’s proven to be as welcome as an aching ball-sack for most couples during the pandemic. With the situation constantly changing and restrictions being lifted and then reinstated over and over, it’s difficult to know where you stand (make sure it’s 2 metres apart from anyone else). So many couples have had to put their wedding plans on hold due to the covid-19 government guidelines and every time people get their hopes up, it seems like there is another kick in the teeth. But bear with me, I’m getting my gnashers deep into the details and explaining things nice and simple like.
So, initially the government marked the 21st of June as the date when all restrictions would be removed and we could finally go back to normal. However, that date has been pushed back and many couples are left wondering what that means for their wedding. Below I’m outlining all of the information you need about the covid-19 government guidelines and how they will affect your wedding planning.
Limits On Guests
Before the 21st of June, there is a cap on the number of guests that can attend; no more than 30. The good news is, this cap will still be removed on the 21st of June 2021 so you can invite whoever you like. That’s amazing news for couples that have been struggling to decide who gets cut from the list because you can invite everybody. Not so great news if you were planning to use the pandemic as an excuse to get rid of people that you didn’t really want to invite.
However, it is worth noting that the venue will have to make decisions on safety. In most cases, it will not be safe to have venues at full capacity because social distancing guidelines still need to be met. The venue will tell you how many people can attend safely, so you may still have to reduce your guest list slightly.
Masks And Social Distancing
We’re all fed up with wearing masks but they’re there for a reason. If you were hoping for a mask-free wedding, you are out of luck because the Stage 3 covid-19 government guidelines still apply to weddings. This means that social distancing must be observed and masks must be worn when moving around inside.
Food And Drink
The rules around food and drink are also the same as hospitality venues in Stage 3. This means that everything must be table service, so no buffets. This may not affect you that much, depending on what you were planning already.
If you are fed up with restrictions and you want a bit of freedom at your wedding, an outdoor affair is the way to go. There are no requirements for masks for outdoor ceremonies or receptions, including ones that take place in a marquee. However, there are guidelines about what constitutes a marquee, so you can’t take advantage of any clever loopholes. Unless 50% of the walled area is open at any one time, it’s not classed as being outside and you will have to follow the guidelines for an indoor event.
Embarrassing dancing is a big part of any wedding but, unfortunately, if you are getting married in the near future, you probably won’t get to witness any. Dance floors must remain closed and the government is advising against dancing at all. You can decide for yourself if this is a good thing or not. The good news is, the first dance is an exception to this rule and can go ahead as normal.
If you are dreading what the best man might say in his speech, you don’t have an easy get-out because speeches are still allowed to go ahead. However, they must be in a well-ventilated area and PA systems must be used to reduce air droplets caused by raised voices.
The cake cutting is another great wedding tradition and the great news is, the covid-19 government guidelines are allowing it to go ahead, as long as other restrictions are followed. You will also be allowed to play games at your wedding.
Although the restrictions will be relaxed on the 21st of June, there are still covid-19 government guidelines that must be considered during the wedding planning process. All wedding planners will be required to conduct a risk assessment to make sure that all safety precautions are followed correctly.
How many people can now attend my wedding?
After the 21st of June, there will be no cap on the number of guests. However, the venue must limit guests to ensure that social distancing measures are possible. So, speak to your venue and they will advise you when choosing your guest list.
Are guests required to socially distance?
Yes. Regardless of whether the wedding is indoors or outdoors, guests still need to socially distance at all times.
Are guests required to wear face masks?
This depends on whether the wedding is indoor or outdoor. Indoor rules on face masks are the same as they are in Stage 3 for hospitality, meaning they must be worn when standing up and moving around but not when sat at tables. However, face masks are not required at outdoor ceremonies or receptions.
Does a marquee classify as indoors or outdoors?
A marquee classifies as outdoors as long as at least 50% of the walled area is open. Otherwise, it is classed as indoors and the relevant guidelines must be followed.
Are we allowed entertainment?
Yes. Live bands and DJs will be permitted at weddings from the 21st of June. However, live performance must follow the performing arts covid-19 government guidelines to ensure safety.
Can we dance?
The first dance will be permitted to go ahead, but dance floors must remain closed for the rest of the wedding and the government is advising against dancing of any kind.
What’s the food and drink situation?
Rules around food and drink are similar to hospitality venues. This means that all food and drink must be served at the table to guests while seated. No buffets are permitted and guests cannot go to the bar to order drinks for themselves.
THE 4 KEY PHASES PRE 21ST JUNE 2021
We finally have a roadmap to freedom! As the vaccination roll out has been going well in the UK, there has well and truly been a feeling of “light at the end of the tunnel.” And now, we know just how long that tunnel is going to be! While the dates are subject to change, the recent announcement helps anyone planning a wedding amidst Covid-19 to know what to realistically expect. Below, I’ll will talk you through the four stages that have been announced and what they mean for 2021 weddings in the UK.
Phase 1: From the 8th of March
The first phase of the lockdown roadmap to freedom is really all about getting the children back to school! Parents around the UK do a collective cheer! While this doesn’t really mean much of a change in terms of what’s possible wedding-wise, it should mean that parents have more time to plan their wedding and, well, just more time for anything and everything that is home schooling curriculum! During this initial phase, a maximum of six guests is permitted under exceptional circumstances, which is very much in-line with the current guidelines (see below for more on current guidelines).
Phase 2: No earlier than the 12th of April
The 12th of April is a date a lot of people will have tattooed on their forehead or at least circled on their calendar, as this is when changes really start to happen (we hope!). It should be noted that this is the earliest possible date for phase 2. We will see lots of businesses start to re-open, including venues, hairdressers (man alive I need a haircut), beauty salons, pubs etc., which brides-and-grooms-to-be will certainly be happy about! We will also see an increase in the number of people that are able to attend weddings. As was the case before Christmas, 15 guests will be permitted should you wish to have your wedding during this period.
Phase 3: No earlier than the 17th of May
The next phase of the roadmap to freedom sees overnight domestic stays become a possibility, which is important for those having their wedding in another county. There will also be an increase in the number of attendees, with you now able to have up to 30 people at your wedding. A lot of couples will be thinking about having their wedding toward the end of May, as the weather tends to be beautiful and 30 guests should mean none of your nearest and dearest need to miss out.
Phase 4: No earlier than the 21st of June
Finally, we have phase 4, which will be no earlier than the 21st of June. This is the date we have all been waiting for; when life will pretty much return to normal. There will be no limits on events and no social distancing in place, which means you can have the wedding of your dreams. Let’s not beat around the bush, some weddings are going to be carnage! Whether facemasks will be part of your wedding photography remains to be seen, yet there should not be any real limitations once we enter phase 4. It is worth pointing out though that any delays would mean all phases are pushed back. So, if phase 2 gets underway a week later than planned, phase 3 and phase 4 would then be pushed back at least one week. Ya got me?
OCTOBER 2020- THE TIER SYSTEM EXPLAINED
Let’s take a look at the restrictions for each tier below:
- Tier 1 (medium) – Weddings are allowed to go ahead in Tier 1 areas, with 15 people permitted to attend. A wedding reception can be held afterward, yet it must be a sit-down meal, with no dancing or moving around between guests.
- Tier 2 (high) – Again, weddings are allowed to go ahead in Tier 2 areas, with 15 people permitted to attend. A wedding reception can be held afterward, yet it must be a sit-down meal, with no dancing or moving around between guests.
- Tier 3 (very high) – The rules do differ when it comes to the third tier. If your location is placed in Tier 3 once the national lockdown ends, a wedding with 15 people will be permitted. However, you will not be able to hold a wedding reception afterward.
As we got toward the end of 2020, a lot of locations around the UK were plunged into Tier 4, meaning they were not allowed to meet up with anyone over the festive period. If we do see that Tier 4 is applicable in certain areas, the restrictions will very much mirror the national lockdown wedding restrictions.
What does this mean? Well, a civil partnership or wedding ceremony will only be allowed to incorporate six people, not including those working. Furthermore, weddings in Tier 4 will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances, i.e. where one of the individuals is seriously ill and is not expected to make a recovery or whereby they are about to undergo life-changing surgery or debilitating treatment.
One of the challenges with the tiered system is moving between tiers. If your wedding venue is in a Tier 1 location, yet you’re in Tier 4, for example, you’re not permitted to travel to the Tier 1 area for the wedding, so this is something to keep in mind when planning.
Hopefully, my outline of the latest restrictions will help you to plan your wedding as best as you can. Weddings will be permitted under the tier system, and a lot of people are embracing the micro-wedding trend, with a big party set to come once life genuinely is back to normal! However, if you would prefer to wait, the choice is, of course, yours!
WHETHER YOU’RE PLANNING AN INTIMATE MICRO WEDDING OR A BIG OL’ KNEES UP WEDDING..
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