Great Britain

Limit on wedding guest numbers to be scrapped despite delay in last stage of lockdown easing

Boris Johnson has announced the cap on the number of permitted wedding guests in England will be lifted on 21 June.

The prime minister has confirmed that the last stage of the government’s roadmap out of lockdown will be delayed by four weeks until 19 July, but couples getting married will no longer have to adhere to the current 30-person guest limit.

However, despite the absence of an upper limit, some restrictions will still apply, such as social distancing. The rules will also apply to civil partnership ceremonies.

Guests must adhere to social distancing requirements and wear masks when moving around an indoor venue unless they are seated at a table - as per the current set up in restaurants and pubs.

Dancing indoors will still be banned after 21 June. Although currently that rule does have an exception for the bride and groom to do their first dance.

While there will be no limit on numbers for celebrations held outdoors, indoor venue operators must assess the Covid-secure capacity of their venue based on existing social distancing rules.

“We will continue to pilot events such as Euro 2020 and some theatrical performances,” Mr Johnson added, indicating they will be allowed larger crowds than under the restrictions currently in place elsewhere as part of the research programme.

The announcement will be welcome news to couples and businesses in the wedding industry, who have been plagued by uncertainty in recent weeks due to a surge in coronavirus infections.

The number of infections in the UK is rising, fuelled by the Delta variant, which led to the ministers’ decision to delay the planned lifting of all social restrictions.

In Wales, economy minister Vaughan Gething said ahead of Mr Johnson’s announcement that the plan to scrap the rules on 21 June was not “sensible”.

The Welsh government is taking a phased approach to lifting restrictions and will relax restrictions around outdoor events and activities first.

Mr Gething said the Welsh government recognised “the impact it will have on a significant number of businesses, particularly wedding venues and indoor attractions”. Eligible wedding venues in Wales will be entitled to additional support payment of between £875 and £5,000 depending on their “size and circumstances”.

In Scotland, the number of people who can attend a wedding and reception varies according to what level their area is in. The maximum number of people is 200, but this also depends on the size of the venue and if social distancing can be maintained.

There are no limits on wedding guests in Northern Ireland, but venues must assess how many people they can accommodate in a Covid-secure manner.

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