Many couples have had to postpone their 2020 Wedding Days – but what are weddings going to be like for them after lockdown?
On the 23rd March 2020 the UK-wide lockdown sent shockwaves across the country, bringing an abrupt halt to our lives and future plans. With the lockdown measures put in place to avoid the spread of coronavirus, many couples had their wedding days put in to uncertainty. For some, weddings were days away, others in the following weeks and months and the lockdown was forecast to be at least 12 weeks before the first review. It was a major source of concern for the wedding service industry as well as the couples and families that it would immediately effect.
In the UK, and in fact across the world, this pandemic has meant that those couples looking forward to their spring and summer wedding day have been forced to look at postponing, rescheduling them until 2021 or 2o22, or for others it has meant that instead of the big wedding they had planned it has been scaled down to 30 people maximum at present from July 2020 and has to factor in social distancing. Can you imagine your wedding day family portraits with social distancing, not the happy, fun and joyous images that you had hoped for.
With all the disappointment over postponed weddings in the last few months and calls to suppliers trying to reschedule to their new wedding date, the continual question as a wedding photographer I have been asked is “when do you think that weddings will actually start back up again, and what might they be like post-coronavirus?”. Unfortunately I was as hopeful and helpless as my couples, I want nothing more than to capture the days they have dreamed of, but while things are slowly easing out of lockdown, I do think that any sort of ‘normal’ wedding may still be some months away from being possible.
Today, the 29th June the Government issued new guidance for weddings in the UK, here is an extract from that guidance that will affect your wedding day.
The marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation
- Should only take place in COVID-19 secure environments. Where a marriage ceremony can take place legally in other places not covered by this guidance (such as outdoor weddings that are permitted under the Marriage Act), the legal restrictions on gatherings must be followed for that place.
- It is advised that the ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time, and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law of England and Wales.
- Religious communities should therefore adapt traditional religious aspects, especially where celebrations would otherwise have taken place over a number of hours, or even days, to ensure the safety of those present and minimal spread of infection.
- Large wedding receptions or parties after should not take place after the marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation. See restaurants and other hospitality industries guidance for further information.
- No food or drink should be consumed as a part of the event unless required for the purposes of solemnisation.
- 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.
- Where an infant is involved in proceedings a parent/guardian or member of the infant’s household should hold the infant.
Social distancing measures
- All individuals involved in the ceremony (including attendees, guests and officiants) should be signposted to the current stay alert and social distancing guidance and that they or members of their household should not attend the marriage or civil partnership if they are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19. If either member of the couple have symptoms of COVID-19 the ceremony should not go ahead.
- Wherever possible, adhere to social distancing of at least 2 metres, or 1 mere with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable), between households. For frequently used venues, mark areas using floor tape or paint to help people maintain social distance.
- You should consider and set out the mitigations you will introduce in your risk assessment. These could include, for instance, 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, as outlined throughout this guidance.
- People from different households should maintain social distancing between one another. This may require marriages or civil partnerships to be adapted to remove practices that would otherwise have brought people into contact with one another, unless required for the marriage or civil partnership to be legally binding. Where this is the case precautions should be put in place to minimise contact and ensure the timeframe is as short as possible.
- Visitors should avoid touching property belonging to others, such as shoes which, if removed, should be placed and collected by their owner while adhering to social distancing principles.
To read the rule document please follow this link:
What will weddings post-lockdown look like?
It is very clear that weddings in the immediate future will be far smaller than normal. Weddings with up to 30 guests can take place from 4th July in England. Here are the two clear differences I can see at the moment;
Guest lists could become a lot shorter – by necessity
I expect to see many more smaller, intimate weddings in the months ahead and social distancing still being part of everyday life even if it is reduced to 1 metre apart. We are told to avoid face-to-face seating by changing layout and table plans, at present all hospitality indoors will be table service only, and contact between staff and customers will be limited. Reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces which effect the ceremony and reception space (and of course the dance floor). The use of protective screens and face covering are not going to look fantastic in your wedding photos, and don’t forget to carry your hand sanitiser with your bridal bouquet.
Weekday weddings are becoming a lot more popular
Despite weekend weddings being in much higher demand for obvious reasons, couples who are rescheduling for 2021 had to think about a weekday wedding in order to have their wedding day sooner, rather than wait a year or more for a weekend wedding date. Let’s be honest, the longer you wait the more likely you are to have the wedding day celebration you dreamed of. However if you really don’t want to wait anymore to say “I do” then I would look at having a small wedding ceremony now and then have the reception at a later date with you renewing your vows or having a marriage blessing.
If you are looking at rescheduling your wedding or have become engaged during this lockdown and would like to find out more about my wedding photography, please do get in touch, we can arrange a zoom call and soon be able to meet for coffee or cocktails to discuss your plans.