The Government has today unveiled new guidelines for weddings in England.
As of July 4, small wedding and civil partnership ceremonies of up to 30 people will be allowed to happen – but there are some new rules which will likely make them feel very different to what we’re used to.
According to the new rules, all attendees must follow social distancing guidelines, keeping at least two metres apart, or one metre with risk mitigation, between households and anyone with symptoms of Covid-19 should not attend.
This means that fathers will be unable to walk their daughters down the aisle arm-in-arm, as is tradition for some, unless they live together.
Other restrictions include no food or drink to be consumed as a part of the event, and a ban on large receptions or parties after the event. “Any receptions that typically follow or accompany marriages or civil partnerships are strongly advised not to take place at this time,” the guidelines state. Receptions of only two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors, will be permitted.
The ceremony itself should be kept to “the shortest reasonable time” and attendees should avoid “singing, shouting, raising voices and/or playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting”, as well as “playing of instruments that are blown into,” due to the potential increased risk of transmission through droplets. The government has suggested using recordings instead of singing, though organs can be played during the ceremony as long as they are cleaned before and after use.
Other new rules include washing hands before and after exchanging rings. “Where the exchanging of rings is required or desired for the solemnisation of the marriage or the formation of the civil partnership, hands should be washed before and after. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible,” the advice reads. While couples should also avoid giving “spoken responses” in a raised voice when exchanging vows.
The guidelines also suggest avoiding “any face-to-face seating by changing layouts, reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings, and closing non-essential social spaces.”
Read the full guidelines here.