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Short, socially distanced ceremonies & no reception – England's post-lockdown wedding rules revealed

Weddings will look a lot different after 4 July

bride and groom exchange rings
Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
June 29, 2020
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While weddings have been largely banned during the coronavirus pandemic, they will once again be permitted to resume on 4 July as part of the government's easing of the lockdown rules. However, with strict social distancing measures and restrictions on guest numbers to be enforced, weddings will look a lot different to what we're used to! Here's what you can expect and should consider if you're planning a post-lockdown ceremony…

GALLERY: Celebrity couples whose weddings were affected by coronavirus

1. Socially-distanced ceremonies and guest list restricted to 30

father of the bride aisle© Photo: iStock

Social distancing measures may mean a father-of-the-bride can't walk his daughter down the aisle

For public health reasons it is strongly advised that wedding ceremonies are restricted to 30 guests, including staff and suppliers such as photographers and your registrar. Everyone should follow the two-metre social distancing rule where possible, or one-metre with extra safety measures.

The social distancing measures may sadly prohibit the tradition of the father of the bride walking his daughter down the aisle arm-in-arm, unless they live in the same household.

2. Bride and groom should wash hands before and after exchanging rings

Face mask wedding rings© Photo: iStock

The bride and groom should wash their hands before and after exchanging rings

Wedding rings should be handled by as few people as possible, and you'll want to ask your ring bearer to pack some hand sanitiser, too. New hygiene measures mean the bride and groom will have to wash their hands before and after the exchanging of the rings.

MORE: What weddings will look like in 2021 after coronavirus

3. Ceremonies should be kept as short as possible with no singing

You may have had big plans for romantic wedding readings and singing hymns, but the guidance recommends that ceremonies should be kept "as short as reasonably possible" and limited as much as possible to just the parts that are legally binding.

Singing, shouting or playing music at a volume that means people have to raise their voice should also be avoided. Recording of music are suggested instead of singing, so prepare your playlist now.

4. No big wedding reception

Outdoor wedding reception© Photo: iStock

Outdoor wedding receptions should be limited to six guests 

While you can still get married in front of up to 30 of your nearest and dearest, the guidance says receptions that "typically follow or accompany marriages or civil partnerships are strongly advised not to take place at this time".

The document states that small celebrations should only take place if they follow social distancing guidelines, such as groups of up to two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors.

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5. Wedding venues to adapt for social distancing

It may not look as good in your wedding photos, but venues frequently used for weddings should mark the floor with tape or paint to help people maintain a safe social distance. The government has also suggested changing traditional wedding layouts to avoid face-to-face seating and advised venues to improve ventilation, otherwise guests should consider wearing masks.

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