Covid wedding rules UK: masks, guest numbers and social distancing rules - and how they change after 21 June

The restrictions vary between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that wedding guest restrictions will be lifted from 21 June, despite the easing of other lockdown restrictions being delayed.

Mr Johnson, who married Carrie Symonds in a secret ceremony last month, previously said he was determined to end the 30-person limit ‘no matter what’, The Times reported.

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The UK government has aimed to lift all remaining lockdown restrictions in England on 21 June, but following concerns about the spread of the Delta Covid variant, which originated in India, the end of lockdown has now been delayed by a month.

Thousands of couples have been forced to postpone their special day due to lockdown (Photo: Shutterstock)
Thousands of couples have been forced to postpone their special day due to lockdown (Photo: Shutterstock)

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Johnson confirmed what had been largely expected – that lockdown will not be eased any further until 19 July – except the 30 guest limit at weddings, which will be lifted from 21 June.

On 14 June, Johnson said weddings can go ahead with more than 30 people from 21 June providing social distancing is observed.

“All I can say is I’m sorry for the disappointment that this will certainly bring to weddings, to many, many businesses, but it’s a few weeks that I think is worth it to get those jabs in,” he said.

Here’s what you need to know about the current rules for weddings and receptions across the UK, and when restrictions could change.

What are the lockdown rules for weddings?

England

In England, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted in Covid-secure venues and outdoors, including private gardens.

Receptions and celebrations can also take place, either indoors in a Covid-secure venue (not including private homes), or outdoors.

If the event is taking place outside, it can be partially sheltered, such as with a marquee, providing that at least 50 per cent of the walled area remains open.

All limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions will not be removed until Step 4 of the lockdown roadmap, which has been delayed until 19 July, the only alleviation is in guest numbers.

As such, the current 30-people cap on weddings will still be lifted on 21 June, but venues will be required to limit numbers based on space and to enforce social distancing measures.

Venue staff, bands, photographers and anyone else involved in the wedding must be included in the headcount, as well as guests of all ages, with the guidance applying to both wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Weddings held inside private homes or “enclosed spaces” which are not formal venues are still limited to six people or two households.

Guests and staff at a wedding ceremony or reception must also wear a face covering, except when eating or drinking, unless they are exempt. The exemption applies to the couple being married or joined in a partnership, along with those officiating at the wedding, but does not include those observing the wedding.

Scotland

The number of attendees at a marriage ceremony, civil partnership registration, or reception depends on which area of Scotland you live.

Those who live in Level 2 or Level 3 areas are permitted to have up to 50 people attend, while up to 100 people can attend in a Level 1 area.

People who live in Level 0 areas are allowed no more than 200 to attend.

These limits are provided the venue size and layout will permit the necessary physical distancing between households to be in place.

The numbers who may attend a reception in a venue, such as a hotel, at protection levels 0 to 3 are the same as those who may attend a marriage ceremony.

The Scottish Government has not confirmed a date when all restrictions on weddings will be lifted.

Wales

In Wales, a wedding or civil partnership reception may be held indoors or outdoors, including a private garden with up to 30 people, but receptions cannot take place in a private home.

Rules now state that large weddings can take place outdoors with up to 4,000 people standing, or 10,000 people seated, providing the venue is regulated and a full risk assessment has been carried out.

Wedding and civil partnership receptions can be held outside in a marquee which has more than 50 per cent open sides. If a marquee situated outside is not more than 50 per cent open sided, this is considered an indoor environment. In these circumstances, the maximum number of people permitted to attend is up to 30 people indoors, not counting those under 11 or those who are working.

The Welsh Government has not confirmed a date when all restrictions on weddings will be lifted.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, numbers attending indoor wedding ceremonies and receptions are determined by the venue on a risk assessed basis.

Those who are planning on organising a wedding ceremony or reception at a private dwelling must comply with domestic setting regulations, which includes a limit of up to 15 (including children) from no more than three households meeting outdoors in a private garden.

Face coverings must be worn during the ceremony by all unless exempt, or those in the marriage party. They must also be worn at the reception if you leave your table.At receptions, there are no restrictions on the number of people seated at the ‘top table’, but other tables are restricted to a maximum of 10. Children under 12 are excluded from table numbers.

Dancing is not permitted, with the only exception being the couple’s ‘first dance’. Live music is also not allowed, and ambient music must be at a level that permits normal conversation.

A date has not yet been confirmed for the lifting of all restrictions on weddings in Northern Ireland.

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