Today (13th May 2021) the government updated the guidance for Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations for England
“From Step 3, indoor professional performances can take place, including at a ceremony or reception.”
“Dancing is advised against due to the increased risk of transmission, except the couple’s ‘first dance’. Dancefloors must remain CLOSED “
“Venues should ensure that steps are taken to mitigate the increased risk of virus transmission associated with aerosol production from raised voices”
“Speeches should be undertaken outside or in well ventilated areas”
“Venue manages should make sure all activities undertaken are subject to a risk assessment and that they maintain social distancing”
From 17th May:
Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will be permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-secure venues that are permitted to open.
Alternative wedding ceremonies, and weddings under the law of England and Wales that are permitted to take place outdoors, with up to 30 people, including in COVID-secure venues or private gardens.
Receptions, celebrations and viewings
Receptions and celebrations will be permitted to take place with up to 30 people. They can take place either indoors in a COVID-secure venue (this does not include private homes), or outdoors (which does include private gardens). Although there is no requirement to be COVID-secure in a private garden, the organiser should take all reasonable steps to limit the risks of transmission and must adhere to the gathering limit of up to 30 people. If the event is taking place outdoors, it can be partially sheltered with, for example, a marquee, provided that at least 50% of the walled area remains open.
A broader range of venues will be able to be open at this step, as set out in the roadmap. Any venue which is not required in law to remain closed will be able to host events and allow viewings with appropriate COVID-19 mitigation measures in place. This includes, for example, any restaurant or indoor visitor attraction.
From 21st June:
At Step 4 (hopefully 21st June 2021), the government aims to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions. This will be subject to the outcome of the Social Distancing Review and also the Events Research Programme, which will include a series of pilots using enhanced testing approaches and other mitigations to run events of larger sizes.
The pilots have been selected to examine the risks of transmission in a range of settings, venue types, and activity types (for example, seated or not seated, indoor or outdoor) so that findings may inform thinking on the reopening of all large events.
Quick Points (during step 3 – may) in more detail:
- You must wear a face covering indoors by law (unless exempt)
- The couple as well as officials conducting the ceremony do not need to wear a face covering during the ceremony.
- All venues should ensure that steps are taken to mitigate the increased risk of virus transmission associated with aerosol production from raised voices, such as when speaking loudly or singing loudly, particularly in confined and poorly ventilated spaces. This includes, but is not limited to, lowering the volume of background music, and refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, particularly if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult. Evidence on the most effective steps that can be taken to limit the transmission of the virus continues to be reviewed. This guidance may be updated in the future in response to changing scientific understanding.
- Dancing is advised against due to the increased risk of transmission, except the couple’s ‘first dance’. Dancefloors and other spaces for dancing must remain closed but can be repurposed for additional customer seating or other relevant purposes, ensuring this is in line with the social distancing guidelines.
- Speeches should be undertaken outside or in well ventilated areas wherever possible. Ventilation with external air should be maximised in all buildings where people are gathering. For example, windows and doors should be opened as much as possible, and the sides of marquees removed or rolled up throughout the event and when groups of staff are preparing and clearing away. At least 50% of the wall area of the marquee must be open for the venue to be classed as ‘outdoors’. Air conditioning systems using recirculated air are not advised. PA systems should be utilised wherever possible to help amplify speeches without speakers needing to raise their voices. Social distancing between the speaker and observers should be maintained at all times and neither speakers nor participants should raise their voices, to avoid the increased risk from aerosol transmission.
- For suppliers present during the wedding reception or celebration, they and the venue managers should ensure that all activities undertaken are subject to a risk assessment and that they maintain social distancing during any activities the suppliers are responsible for.
Brian Mole from SEDA (part of Save Dj Entertainment) joins Alison Hargreaves from Guides for Brides and Joe Chalk from MUTA to discuss the guidance and what it means for Weddings in Step 3.
Watch their disussion below: