COVID 19 Wedding Update
Updated: Jul 13
After living in lockdown for three months we are finally seeing what “new normal” weddings will look like. This week bought excellent news for many of our couples and businesses as the Government has announced that wedding ceremonies could recommence from 4 July 2020. However, there are COVID 19 wedding rules that will apply until further notice. In this article we explore why this is, what these rules are and we share some COVID 19 wedding ideas that our venue partners have created to help couples for whom waiting is just not an option!
Why are there still rules around COVID 19 weddings?
The easing of lockdown on 4 July is momentous. We’re able to go to the pub again, can stay away from our homes overnight, many businesses are operating again after a three-month hiatus and much more. However, as Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England has warned,
“If people hear a distorted version of what’s being said, that says ‘this is all fine now, it’s gone away’ and start behaving in ways that they normally would have before this virus happened, yes, we will get an uptick for sure.
It is absolutely critical people stick to the guidance that has been given; it’s a changed guidance for there are still very significant restrictions socially and there are very significant restrictions on business of different sorts.
I would be surprised and delighted if we weren’t in this current situation through the winter and into next spring.
I expect there to be a significant amount of coronavirus circulating at least into that time and I think it is going to be quite optimistic that for science to come fully to the rescue over that kind of timeframe.”
Effectively, he’s warning that we’re not out of the woods yet. And let’s not forget, that one of the first identified clusters of COVID 19 in China was a group of 40 plus people who had been at a gathering in a church. It is widely believed that larger gatherings of people in confined spaces can literally provide a breeding ground for the virus.
It's for these good reasons that COVID 19 wedding rules exist.
What are the COVID 19 wedding rules?
Small wedding ceremonies for up to 30 guests (including the bride and groom) can take place from 4 July in England with social distancing. Wedding celebrations can be for up to 6 people outside or 2 households inside in line with current social distancing measures. We have no indication as to when these rules may relax further, and if they do what the next level of relaxation might be. If you re-read Chris Whitty’s words, it is possible that we may have to live with these restrictions until we have a vaccine i.e. maybe for another 12 months.
Government advice states:
Ceremonies must be "as short as reasonably possible" and limited to just the parts that are legally required
You should not have more than 30 people in attendance - this will include everyone e.g registrars, photographer, caterers etc.
Social distancing should follow 2m rule if possible, or 1m with extra safety measures - this means unless you live in the same household as your father, it's unlikely he will be able to walk you down the aisle.
Food and drink is not allowed part of the event
For those involved in the exchange of rings, your hands must be washed before and after the exchanging of rings. Limit the handling of rings to as few people as possible
There should be no singing, shouting or playing loud music that forces people to raise their voices.
Speaking is permitted during the ceremony, but no shouting.
No wind instruments to be played.
Only one person is allowed to sing during your ceremony and you should consider installing a clear screen.
Wedding venues should mark the floor with tape or paint to help people maintain social distance.
Venues should also consider changing layouts to avoid face-to-face seating, think about how ventilation can be improved and whether using face masks might be useful.
Can we get married COVID-19 UK?
It will be possible to get married in 2020, albeit on a smaller scale. We believe it’s unlikely that the Government will increase numbers at wedding to over 30 until there is a vaccine for COVID 19. This means we may well be living with the COVID 19 wedding guidance until this point next year.
The impact on weddings this year
So many couples have had their weddings deferred or cancelled already this year, so it’s a real relief to be able to go ahead with at least some of the weddings that are planned for 2020. As we would expect, every venue we work with has been accommodating and fair to the couples who have been impacted by lockdown. A great example is The Brickhouse Vineyard in Devon. I caught up with owners Jo and Matt and they explained,
“We're offering couples who can't have their wedding as planned this year the opportunity to postpone to a similar time next year on the same terms. We'll be operating elopement and intimate weddings packages up to the end of October. We'll be closing temporarily from November 2020 until April 2021 for barn renovation, and we’re offering couples who have booked a small wedding (full day) the chance to have their ceremony this year on their original wedding date (free of charge) and move their celebration to next year on the same terms i.e. no additional costs.”
I could repeat similar stances from all our venues. It’s humbling to hear how kind and accommodating our venues partners and the service suppliers we work with have been through what is an undeniably tough time for these businesses as well as the couples who had weddings booked.
When can we get married in 2020?
You can get married in England in 2020 from 4 July, provided you have given 28 days’ notice of your wedding at a registry office in England or Wales. This will mainly apply to couples who booked their wedding and gave notice before 23 March 2020 when lockdown started in England.
If you have not booked your wedding yet and want to get married in 2020/21:
- find a wedding venue that you like that has availability and reserve it
- contact the registrar to book them to come to your chosen venue at your chosen time to conduct your wedding ceremony
- let your venue know the time of your wedding ceremony and you will be able to secure your booking
- make an appointment to give notice of your wedding at your local registry office.
COVID 19 wedding UK ideas
We know that many of our couples are just desperate to tie the knot. So, for those for whom love cannot wait, here are some of the COVID 19 ideas we’ve come up with:
- A two-part wedding at the same venue. We work with some wonderfully flexible venues that are just perfect to elope to in the next 12 months, just you two or with a small group (2 households or up to 6 for outside celebrations) and, equally suitable to invite a larger group of guests back to, for a vow renewal or wedding celebration once COVID 19 is at bay.
- Small is beautiful. Make a small wedding super-special for a small group of your nearest and dearest by taking exclusive hire of a complete venue and accommodation for three nights. This will provide you all with the luxury of time and space to come together to witness your ceremony and enjoy a sumptuous celebration.
- Autumn/winter wedding this year with a deferred summer party in 2021/22.Take advantage of the cheaper autumn/winter wedding months and have a runaway elopement this autumn/winter just for the two of you, and plan a big bash for next summer or perhaps your anniversary at the same venue.
- Taking the positives from COVID 19. Use this as an opportunity to have a stress-free beautiful intimate wedding without breaking the bank. As one of our lovely brides, who will remain anonymous, said to me today,
“COVID 19 is the perfect excuse to have the smaller wedding we really wanted. I can have all the fun of choosing a wonderful venue and putting together all the special details without the stress and huge expense of a larger wedding!” I couldn’t have put it better myself!
Getting married in 2020 UK
For all those couples from whom love is not cancelled, we’ve put together some great COVID-19 restrictions-friendly packages with availability in 2020 and 2021 in partnership with some of our lovely venues.
A two-part wedding at the same venue
Stennack Farm is offering elopement wedding packages this autumn/winter just for 2, or for up to 2 households stay for three nights. You can then invite your full guest list back for your larger wedding celebration in their purpose built wedding barn in 2021 or 2022 with a special discount of £1000 in the winter months.
Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens will be offering a 20% on a wedding-bookings over the winter and waiving the £250 fee for having the gallery as a back-up ceremony space in case of bad weather. This makes hire of this unique venue for your ceremony just £500. This offer covers dates from 1st November - 31st March (excluding 24th December - 1st Jan).
And, if you want to add a larger celebration later on, Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens is just perfect for 'two-part' wedding. Either combining with Tremenheere Kitchen or using a marquee on the lawn for a full-blown celebration for all your friends and family to enjoy once everything COVID 19 related is over.
The two of you can stay at close-by lovers retreat, Fallen Angel for a three-night weekend or a four-night mid-week stay at a discounted rate of £500 (usually £600) from 1 November 2020 – 28 February 2021 excluding Christmas and New Year).
You can email me to find out more about availability and costs of a bespoke package based on your requirements.
The Manor, Somerset offers versatile accommodation and wedding spaces which could have been purpose-made for a dual wedding package. You can have a runaway wedding this autumn/winter and plan a grander affair for when we get back to true normal. Get in touch to find out more.
At Camel Studio you can combine the autumn and winter special offer with their summer wedding package to create a brilliant double-header wedding.
Special Offer Autumn & Winter:
Camel Studio is offering a 3-night stay for the price of 2 in their luxury accommodation sleeping eight this Autumn & Winter. This offer is available for weddings of up to 10 guests.
The package includes the following:
Your wedding ceremony (for 6, but no more than 10 guests, if current rules are relaxed) - anytime between October 2020 - March 2021
Exclusive use of the studio, house and grounds for 2 nights
The bridal suite for the night of the wedding
Luxury hamper on arrival
Converted pizza horse box to serve evening food
Trestle tables and cross back chairs
Then a party for up to 50 guests:
Exclusive use of the studio, house, bridal suite and grounds for 1 night
Converted pizza horse box to serve evening food
Trestle tables and cross back chairs
For the party to take place May - September, Easter & Christmas - £6,350
All other months: £5,550
These packages reflect a saving of around £1,500
This offer would be open for 2 weddings. If COVID-19 rules are relaxed further after booking but prior to either part 1 or 2 of your wedding, then more guests may be added at additional cost.
£3,250 (offer applies to October - February)
Small is beautiful weddings
Cosawes Barton will be offering “small is beautiful weddings” for up to 6:
Exclusive-use-hire for a 3-night wedding stay for 2 – 6. You choose a one, two or three cottage option to allow for lots of social distancing! For this, they can currently offer any three nights in the following weeks: w/c 20/11/20 8/1/21-24/1/21 1/2/21-12/2/21 1 cottage £1110 2 cottages £1420 3 cottages £2150 19/2/21- 5/3/21 8/3/21-19/3/21 1 cottage £1150 2 cottages £1540 3 cottages £2265
To check availability and for a full quote please email: email@example.com
Autumn/winter wedding this year with a deferred summer party in 2021/22
The beauty of this idea is that you can opt for two perfect locations that suit the mood and vibe you want to create for each part of your wedding. Maybe you are prepared to travel to find that really special place to elope, but you want your deferred wedding celebration or vow renewal closer to home. You can also mix and match budgets, styles and details so that you create two unique wedding day experiences.
To get you thinking may we suggest…
For elopements, 2 household weddings or up to 6 people celebrating outside, our elopement partners.
Or for ceremonies for up to 30 guests.
Then for your larger deferred wedding celebration or vow renewal choose from our larger venue partners with flexibility to accommodate larger groups, once it’s safe to do so. We may also be able to add a limited number of larger weddings for up to 150 people at Porthpean House in 2021/22. Email me if you are interested in this opportunity at Porthpean House.