- Coronavirus pandemic
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There's uncertainty over how many people will be allowed at weddings and civil partnerships this summer.
The easing of remaining restrictions – scheduled for 21 June – is being delayed by four weeks, but a government minister has hinted that weddings might get special consideration.
- What's the roadmap for lifting lockdown?
- What are the rules where you live?
What are the wedding rules in England?
Up to 30 people – including children – can attend a wedding ceremony or reception. Anyone working is not counted.
Venues and places of worship can provide food and drink, but must follow hospitality guidance. All food and drink must be ordered, served and consumed while guests are seated.
Guests do not need to be at socially distanced tables, but should be "cautious" about contact with different households.
Guests and staff must also wear a face covering (except when eating or drinking), unless exempt.
There's bad news for lovers of a wedding disco. The guidelines say: "Dancing is advised against due to the increased risk of transmission, except the couple's first dance."
- Read the official guidance for wedding and civil partnerships
- Read the official guidance for places of worship
When will the rules be relaxed?
The government said it hoped to lift all wedding restrictions on 21 June, but the spread of the Delta variant means this will now be delayed.
However, Health Minister Edward Argar told the BBC the PM is "very sensitive" to the situation of couples who have had to postpone their weddings, in some cases multiple times.
image copyrightGetty ImagesWhat are the rules in Scotland?
The number of people who can attend a wedding and reception varies:
- Level two restriction area – up to 50
- Level one – up to 100
- Level zero – up to 200
The maximum number of people depends on the size of the venue and whether social distancing can be maintained. The marrying couple and witnesses are included in this number.
Food and drink must be served at tables. Alcohol can be served until 22:30 in level two areas, 23:00 in level one areas, and in line with local licensing laws in level zero areas.
What are the rules in Wales?
Weddings and civil partnerships can take place in "approved premises", up to the capacity of the venue given social distancing requirements.
Venues must take all reasonable measures to minimise Covid spread.
Face coverings must be worn indoors by everyone (aged 11 and over) when not eating or drinking, unless they have a reasonable excuse.
This does not apply to the married couple or the person officiating.
Wedding receptions can be in regulated venues for up to 30 people indoors (outdoors limit set by Covid-risk assessment of venue), not including children under 11. They cannot take place in private homes or gardens.
Food and drink are permitted in line with hospitality guidance.
Physical distancing should be maintained at tables to avoid households mixing.
What are the rules in Northern Ireland?
There is no limit on the number of people at a wedding, but venues must assess how many they can safely accommodate.
During the ceremony, face coverings must be worn by everyone (unless exempt), apart from the wedding couple and the person officiating.
Receptions can take place but:
- There's no restriction on the number of people at the top table, but no more than 10 people (not including children) at every other table
- You need to wear a mask when not seated
- The wedding couple can have one dance only
- Pre-recorded music is permitted at background level
An "indicative" date of 21 June (subject to 17 June review) has been set to allowed live music at "ambient levels". But dancing will still not be allowed.
image copyrightGetty ImagesWhat are my rights if my wedding plans were affected by lockdown?
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published guidance in September 2020:
- If your wedding couldn't go ahead without breaching lockdown rules, you're likely to be entitled to a refund and won't be liable for future payments
- Your refund may also cover a ''non-refundable'' deposit, although a venue or supplier can subtract ''limited'' costs for services already provided
- A venue may withhold money spent on your wedding that it could not recover, such as planning, but not for things like general staff costs
- Suppliers/venues must give you a cost breakdown if they wish to withhold part of your deposit
image copyrightGetty ImagesCan I claim on wedding insurance?
Wedding insurance shouldn't affect your right to a refund, but you can't get your money back twice.
Most insurance doesn't cover a ''government act", so is unlikely to pay out if lockdowns affected your wedding.
Recent wedding insurance policies are unlikely to cover coronavirus.
Some policies will pay out if your supplier/venue has gone bust. If not, you may have to register a claim with the company's administrator.
If you paid by:
- credit card you can claim up to £30,000 per supplier under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
- debit card, you could secure a refund under the chargeback scheme