NEW government guidance on weddings has been published ahead of Monday's easing of lockdown rules.
Current rules allow weddings and civil partnerships to take place with up to 15 people, but from May 17 the guidance in place since the Covid pandemic will change again.
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What is the new guidance?
Under Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown, the number of guests allowed at wedding ceremonies will double from 15 to 30 on Monday.
From May 17, up to 30 people will be allowed to attend weddings and civil partnership ceremonies or receptions.
Venues holding the events must be Covid-secure.
Alternative wedding ceremonies are also allowed to take place outdoors, with up to 30 people in Covid-secure venues or private gardens.
Can I attend a wedding reception?
Receptions and celebrations will be allowed with up to 30 people, either indoors in a Covid-secure venue.
Any venue that is legally allowed to open is allowed to host events.
There is no requirement to be Covid-secure if the reception is being held in a private garden.
But the organiser should take all reasonable steps to limit the risks of transmission and adhere to the limit of up to 30 people.
What about social distancing?
From May 17, the guidance on meeting friends and family will change, with a greater emphasis on personal responsibility.
Close contact with friends and family will be a "personal choice" under Step 3 of the government's Covid lockdown roadmap.
People will be encouraged to "exercise caution", instead of staying two metres apart from anyone they don't live with.
Anyone attending a wedding should "always make space for other people to keep their distance if they want to", the guidance states.
Will singing or live music entertainment be allowed?
Musicians and singers can perform indoors from May 17 at a ceremony or reception.
But no communal singing among guests will be allowed to take place.
There is no limit on the number of professional performers that can perform at a ceremony or reception.
New government guidance on weddings from May 17
How will the rules for receptions and ceremonies change from Step 3 of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown?
- Any venue that's open can hold a wedding
- Bands can return as indoor performances get the OK
- But no communal singing is allowed
- Couples can have first dance but generally dancing is advised against
- Dancefloors must remain closed
- Face masks must be work still at ceremonies
- Any other activities at a reception, including those that involve or are watched by guests (such as cake cutting and the playing of games) can take place
- Speeches should be undertaken outside or in well ventilated areas wherever possible
- All food and drink should still be consumed at the table
But the number should be determined by how many the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place between the performers and guests.
Choirs, bands, or musicians can perform in a group of up to 6 indoors, or in multiple groups of up to 30 outdoors.
Can I dance at a wedding?
Apart from the couple's first dance, going for a whirl is advised against "due to the increased risk of transmission".
Dancefloors and other spaces for dancing must remain closed, but can used for additional seating.
But other activities, such as watching the couple cut the cake and playing games, will be allowed.
What about food and drink?
If the event is taking place at a Covid-secure venue where alcohol is served, all food and drink must be ordered, served and consumed by the customer while seated at a table.
From May 17, venues and places of worship can provide food and drink but must adhere to the government's guidance on hospitality.
All reasonable steps must be taken to make sure people attending remain seated.
But the sharing of vessels or glasses, including during a religious service, should be avoided.
Guests don't need to be placed on socially distanced tables, but they should "consider the risks of doing so, as set out in new guidance on meeting friends and family".
Do I need to wear a face mask?
Anyone attending a wedding ceremony or reception must wear a face covering, apart from when eating or drinking.
But the couple and whoever is officiating the service is exempt from the rule.
Staff working at a venue holding a reception also have to wear face coverings.
What about speeches?
Speeches should take place outside or in well ventilated-areas wherever possible, but if being held indoors, windows and doors should be opened as much as possible.
If the speech is in a marquee its sides should be removed or rolled up.
PA systems should be used wherever possible so anyone making a speechdoesn't need to raise their voices.
Social distancing between the speaker and those listening should be maintained at all times. and people shouldn't raise their voices.
How about travelling to weddings?
You are permitted to travel to attend a marriage or civil partnership ceremony or reception in accordance with the legislation in England.
From May 17, international travel will be permitted for Brits – but with only a limited number of countries on the green list, restrictions could hamper any wedding plans.
Anyone travelling outside the UK will also have to abide by the rules set out by individual countries for handling the coronavirus pandemic.
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