If you were one of thousands of brides or grooms whose wedding was sadly cancelled due to COVID-19, you’re about to hear a distant but promising sound of wedding bells coming your way.
The government have issued new rules about getting marriages and civl partnerships and while our summers don’t look set to be a feast of confetti on the steps of town halls or dad dancing in marquees just yet, there is hope for the estimated 64% of weddings cancelled or postponed in 2020.
The £10 billion pound wedding industry was one of the worst hit thanks to COVID-19 leaving brides and grooms all over the country jiltered, thankfully not by their other half but by a global pandemic. With the average cost of a UK wedding now hitting £30,000 and over, it’s not only the emotional despair couples have had to deal with but financial ones too.
If your wedding was cancelled or you’re a guest itching to wear that new hat you bought back in February, here are the new rules explained…
Are weddings back on?
Yes and no. A ban on weddings has been in place since 23rd March but as of 4th July, they will be able to go ahead in England again with reduced guest numbers and social distancing measures in place.
Wales are ahead of the pack and lifted their wedding ban on 22nd June for small ceremonies only – could Wales be the new Gretna?
If you’re planning a highland wedding, brace yourself. Currently only outdoor weddings can go ahead in Scotland from 29th June and in Northern Ireland, small outdoor weddings have been going ahead since 8th June.
How many people can attend?
Up to 30 guests can attend English weddings from 4th July.
Will everyone have to socially distance?
To an extent, yes. Tables may need to be rethought to adhere to the one metre distancing rule, photo set ups should be re-thought out and the dance floor might look a little different.
Where can I get married?
As of 4th July, wedding venues and places of worship will be opening up to weddings again but you will need to check their individual policies on how many can attend, when and how you will be safe under new social distancing rules.
How soon can I book?
You will need to give your registrar your notice to marry at least 29 days before your wedding so get planning quickly if you want your wedding to go ahead soon.
Can we belt our Jerusalem in church?
While churches are reopening to congregations under the new one metre distancing rule, they’re currently still a singing-free zone as singing is said to spread the virus far quicker. No mandatory songs to sing between readings? There is a silver lining.
The same is sure to apply to other registered wedding venues, so you might want to book in a musician or choose some favourite songs to play instead.
Will anyone come?
Although guest lists are having to be dramatically cut, some of your loved ones may not feel comfortable yet to attend a social event. Try not to take it personally and remember that everyone has to readjust to going back to some normality in their own way.
Can I still cancel my wedding that’s booked after 4th July?
It’s somewhat of a grey area but get on the phone to your wedding services and know your rights inside and out first. If your wedding was set to take place during the time weddings were banned, you should, in most cases, be entitled to a full refund or be able to postpone to a later date.
But if your original wedding date is coming up and therefore able to take place, you will need to check your contract. Under consumer rights law, contract clauses that could be deemed unfair may be unenforceable, even if you previously agreed to them. In short, you may lose your deposit but speak to the venues and suppliers and try to negotiate something that suits you both.
For more information on marriages and civil partnerships, head to the Gov website.