Coronavirus: What are the rules on weddings?

Sit-down wedding receptions of up to 30 people are allowed to take place in England from 15 August.
Ceremonies with 30 guests have been permitted since early July.
But the rules about who can attend weddings and receptions vary around the UK.

Are weddings allowed at the moment?

Weddings were banned when lockdown began on 23 March, affecting 73,600 weddings and same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.
They are now allowed around the UK, but with different rules.
Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend a sit-down reception in England from Saturday.
Small outdoor wedding ceremonies are allowed in Northern Ireland. The number of people allowed to attend is based on a social distancing risk assessment made by the venue, as it is in Wales, where indoor receptions are still not allowed.
In Scotland, indoor wedding ceremonies of up to 20 people can be held, and receptions are subject to the rules about gatherings.
How will coronavirus affect my wedding?
The government has published guidelines on how to have a ”Covid-secure” wedding in England.
  • Venues can only reopen if they can do so safely
  • Ceremonies should be kept as short as possible
  • No food or drink should be consumed unless it is essential for the ceremony
  • Group singing and playing of instruments should be avoided
  • A maximum of 30 people should attend, and only where there is space to socially distance. This includes all guests, the officiant and any staff not employed by the venue, like a photographer
  • Social distancing of at least one metre between different households should be practised at all times
  • The venue should keep a record of visitors for 21 days, in case they need to be traced.
What should I do if I am due to get married soon?
If you feel your day will be too different from what you wanted, it is generally better to postpone rather than cancel it.
Check alternative dates with your venue, and see if your suppliers can switch.
Couples ”do need to be understanding” of current issues for venues and suppliers, says Henrietta Dunkley of Ellis Jones Solicitors.
Many venues and suppliers could have lost significant sums of money, so aim for a solution that works for everyone, she advises.
For example, if the wedding was on a Friday or Saturday or in peak season and the venue can’t offer an equivalent date, it’s generally reasonable to ask for a fee reduction, or an upgrade in the service you will receive.
What if I want to cancel?
If your ceremony was due while weddings were banned, you should generally be entitled to a full refund if you don’t want to postpone.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says in most cases this would be if:
  • A business cancels on you
  • Lockdown meant a business couldn’t provide a service
  • Lockdown stopped you holding the event
An exception is the costs a business has incurred on your behalf already, like a wedding meal tasting or a dress fitting.
As a result, venues and suppliers may be entitled to keep all or part of your deposit, but consumer rights law states they must give you a costs breakdown.
If your wedding is coming up, that’s where things become trickier.
Read the small print in your contract to check the rules on cancellation or date changes and ask the businesses you are using what they can offer.
Under consumer rights law, contract clauses that could be deemed unfair may be unenforceable, even if you previously agreed to them. Any ”non-refundable” deposit can only have been a small percentage of the total price.
Can I claim on wedding insurance?
Most wedding insurance does not cover a ”government act”, so it is unlikely to pay out if the lockdown affected your wedding.
However, a few wedding insurers are paying out now under some circumstances.
Many, if not all insurers are not selling new wedding policies, so this only covers existing agreements.
If not, you may have to register a claim with the administrator or can claim up to £30,000 per supplier from your credit card company for services not rendered, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
If you paid on debit card, you may be able to secure a refund under the chargeback scheme.


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