Couples trying to plan a wedding since last March have faced numerous frustrations, including multiple postponements, refund nightmares, lack of insurance payouts, and ongoing uncertainty about the end of coronavirus restrictions.
For those who thought a full 365-day pushback from 2020 was enough to get them well out of danger, the continued restrictions throughout 2021 have kept couples in suspense about whether they might be required to change track yet again.
A full lifting of restrictions was set to go ahead on 21 June according to the government’s roadmap out of lockdown – which has so far seen each stage go ahead on the proposed date – but a recent surge in the Delta variant of Covid-19 could mean an impending delay.
Ministers have begun laying the groundwork for a possible delay, with minister George Eustice saying on 8 June that the government will not “rule anything out”.
A final decision on whether all restrictions will be lifted is expected on Monday 14 June. But here is everything we know about the rules around weddings now.
What are the current rules?
From 17 May, which was the third stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies were permitted to go ahead with up to 30 guests. This stage did go ahead as planned.
Ceremonies in England and Wales can now be held in Covid-secure venues and those taking place outdoors can also have up to 30 guests, including in private gardens.
People can also hold receptions and celebrations in an indoor venue – this does not include private homes – or outdoors, including in private gardens.
Up to 30 guests are allowed for receptions and celebrations. However, the government currently advises against dancing due to an increased risk of transmission with the exception of the married couple’s first dance.
What happens in the next stage?
The government set 21 June as the date when it aimed to remove all social restrictions, which would include all current limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions. Effectively taking us back to pre-pandemic events.
However, a surge in infections due to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in recent weeks might mean this date will be delayed by a couple of weeks – although nothing is yet confirmed.
But, reports on Thursday suggested that even if 21 June was pushed back for an easing of all restrictions, Boris Johnson is still determined to give weddings the green light, lifting the 30-person limit.
According to reports inThe Times even if other lockdown restrictions remain in place, Mr Johnson – who got married on the Bank Holiday weekend to his partner Carrie Symonds – wishes to allow weddings to go ahead.
A government source said that the wedding sector faced a difficult time during lockdown, adding: “If you’ve got stadiums full of people, why can’t weddings go ahead with more than 30 people?”
According to the reports, unlimited guest lists are set to be permitted but wedding guests will still be required to wear masks when not eating or drinking. Wedding attendees will also be encouraged to use their own judgement around social interactions, like hugging, as per current guidance.
When will Boris Johnson make an announcement?
An announcement on whether or not all restrictions will be lifted in England as of 21 June is expected on Monday 14 June.
If the date is pushed back by a couple of weeks, this would allow more adults – particularly in the under 30 age bracket – to receive their second dose of the vaccine, which offers greater protection against Covid-19.