Feb 25th 2021 update.
The roadmap announced by the Prime Minister on February 22nd starts to give a little more clarity on numbers that are anticipated to be permitted at weddings over the next few months. We continue to await more detailed guidance on precisely what those weddings might look like.
Step One: 8th March and from 29th March
From 8th March, all schools will open with outdoor after-school sports and activities permitted. Recreation in outdoor public spaces – such as a park – will be permitted between two people, meaning they would be allowed to sit down for a drink or picnic. Wedding ceremonies of no more than 6 people remain in the exceptional circumstances only category.
From 29th March, outdoor gatherings of either six people or two households will be permitted. We understand that this will include gatherings in private gardens. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis or basketball courts will reopen and organised adult and children’s sport, such as grassroots football, will also be permitted. Wedding ceremonies of up to 6 people in all circumstances will be permitted.
Step Two: from 12th April
Step Two from 12 April will, hopefully, if the data permits, see a significant improvement for those planning weddings:
- Weddings and receptions with up to 15 guests permitted.
- Non-essential retail opens, hairdressers, and public buildings like libraries and museums
- Outdoor settings, like alcohol takeaways and beer gardens can open.
- Indoor leisure, like swimming pools and gyms can open.
- Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as self-catering lets and campsites can open but for one household only.
- The end of hospitality curfews and requirements to eat a substantial meal with alcohol.
- Wider social contact rules will continue to apply in all settings – this means no indoor mixing between different households will be permitted.
Step Three: from 17th May
The third step will come from 17 May, if the data allows, and sees further lifting of restrictions:
- Weddings and wedding receptions will be allowed with 30 people.
- Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 will be illegal.
- Indoors, the rule of six or a larger group of up to two households will be permitted.
- Indoor hospitality – pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, hotels, B&Bs, indoor exercise classes – *will be permitted with social distancing, possible mask wearing and numbers attending the event less than 1000. Larger indoor performances will be back no earlier than June 21, as part of Step Four.
- *We await further information about the chances of less social distancing restrictions for outdoor ceremonies and receptions
- It will be permitted to stay in hotels before and after the event
Step Four: from 21st June
The fourth step from 21st June will, all things being equal, see all legal limits on social contact removed, with the final closed sectors of the economy reopened – such as nightclubs, theatres, concert hall for events catering for over 1000 attendees. The government hopes that – from this date – restrictions on weddings and other social gatherings will be abolished.
What does Step 4 mean for weddings?
- We are very hopeful that this will allow for larger weddings over over more than one day.
- We can’t be certain yet but the implications are that music, dancing and hugging will be part of weddings again – fingers crossed!
It is important to note that from April, the government will run pilots for large events such as weddings, festivals and work conferences. It is hoped that these pilots will help to work out how measures (e.g. enhanced testing) may allow for larger gatherings without social distancing.
What tests must be passed to unlock each step?
The four conditions that must be met at each phase of lockdown easing are:
- The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan. The Prime Minister announced the anticipated target of all adults being offered their first vaccine by July 2021
- Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of deaths from the virus or people needing hospital treatment.
- Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions.
- New variants of the virus do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions.
All dates are “from” and are shown as the earliest date that we will reach each stage in opening.
The Prime Minister’s intention is that this is an irreversible and one-way roadmap out of lockdown. At long last, this should hopefully give couples the confidence to plan their wedding but we must stress that couples still need to be mindful of the four tests being met at each stage.
Feb 22nd 2021 update.
Summer weddings with unlimited guest lists will return as restrictions are lifted from June 21st.
As part of the Government’s roadmap, the gradual easing of numbers allowed to attend wedding ceremonies will commence in steps.
Under current rules, weddings are only allowed in “exceptional circumstances”, such as in cases of terminal illness or life-changing surgery.
These have to be Covid-secure and guests must adhere to social-distancing guidelines at all times. People are required to maintain two-metre social distancing and wear face coverings throughout the ceremony. Singing is also avoided in order to prevent airborne transmission of the virus.
In March, Step 1 will take place in two parts, with weddings at a capacity of six people, while funerals will be up to 30 and wakes six.
From April 12th, the UK enters Step 2, weddings and wakes will rise from six attendees to 15 guests, with funerals remaining at 30 (funerals can have higher numbers than weddings because people cannot pick and choose a funeral)
From May 17th, the UK enters Step 3, the number of guests for both will rise to 30. This also applies to other life events, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
From June 21st, the UK enters Step 4, there will be no legal limits on social contact at weddings and funerals.
The road map is divided into four steps, with each set five weeks apart, in order to allow each step to be data led.
Roadmap Week Commencing Feb 22nd 2021
We have everything crossed that the Prime Minister’s roadmap, due to be released on the week commencing 22nd Feb 2021, will include some positive news for weddings. We know that many couples are waiting until that point before they make any decision on the viability of their wedding plans. Whatever the Prime Minister’s announcement may be the result will either be to trigger more postponements / cancellations or to give new couples more confidence in choosing a suitable date for their wedding.
The current Government guidance for weddings / civil partnerships in England are as follows:
You should only consider booking a wedding or civil partnership (or continuing with one that is already booked) in exceptional circumstances. This may be for example, if you or your partner is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people. Anyone working is not included.
You should stay local and avoid travelling outside of your area, meaning your village or town, or part of a city, where possible. However, should you absolutely need to travel to attend a marriage or civil partnership ceremony in accordance with the legislation (taking place in an exceptional circumstance and with a limit of 6 people in attendance), you are able to travel in England to do so.
The full Gov guidance for the rules in England is here.
To say that the wedding industry has taken a huge hit during the last twelve months is an understatement and whichever way the mops flops after any announcement from the PM we feel that it is only fair to say that there will still be continued disruption and restrictions. That said, the vaccine rollout, which is clearly going well, may begin to provide some let up in the restrictions in the near to medium term future.
Happy couples, venues, caterers, florists, wedding planners, dress suppliers etc have all been “victims” of these unprecedented circumstances but rest assured that our sewing machines here at Judith Craig Couture are at the ready to leap into action just as soon as we can.
As for the more long-term future of weddings and civil partnerships all we can do is to try and remain positive. There is some other light at the end of the tunnel and that is the proposed change in the law to weddings and civil partnerships. We truly do hope that this comes into being as soon as possible and alongside the lifting of restrictions the future can be bright for all couples planning a wedding and all those services which will help them to make the happy couple’s plans turn into reality.
Just as soon as further information emerges we will publish it here on this page, so as the saying goes, watch this space!
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