United Kingdom

Couples 'deflated' as coronavirus restrictions mean wedding plans are 'left to rot'

Couples have been left "let down and deflated" after being allowed just 15 wedding guests while sports prepare to welcome back thousands of fans.

Boris Johnson warned on Monday night that Britain is entering "the season to be jolly careful" as he announced new coronavirus restrictions that will last until the end of March.

Outdoor sporting venues in Tier one areas will be permitted to admit up to 4,000 spectators to an event or allow 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lower, while the caps were 2,000 and 1,000 respectively for indoor venues in tiers one and two.

Collective worship and weddings however will resume with a cap of 15 guests and receptions will be banned in Tier 3.

"Limiting to 15 just doesn't make sense when I can go to the local pub with 100 plus (people), or now visit a sporting event with 2,000 plus," Hannah Wilkin, 30, from Norwich, told the PA news agency.

"I think every wedding venue should be able to confirm what capacity they could accommodate based on size of venue. So if the Government advised 25 per cent to 50 per cent, for example, the wedding venue could dictate what would be suitable to adhere to social distancing."

Ms Wilkin said she and her fiance were due to get married in June 2021 in Norfolk, but uncertainty was putting their plans on hold.

"(We are) unable to currently formalise any wedding plans or even get excited out of concern it may not go ahead," she said. "This then stops us from making life decisions such as starting a family, as we both want to be married first."

A student nurse from Portsmouth, who did not wish to be named, said she and her fiance "do not understand" why hundreds of sports fans can congregate while they can only have 15 guests in their church.

"We are getting married in a huge church which holds hundreds of people," the 24-year-old said. "We do not understand how 1,000 people are allowed inside for sport events etcetera... and how cinemas and theatres can be open.

"I believe the official capacity (of the church) is approximately 350 people. If we could even have one fifth of this amount it would make such a difference.

"We've both worked so hard throughout this pandemic and just feel so let down and deflated."

A lack of certainty was cited by one industry worker as a key factor behind people postponing the planning of their weddings, leaving people like her "to rot".

"Due to the ongoing uncertainty, including the fact that we still don't know who will be in which tier or for how long, some bookings for next year are now cancelling," Cate Baines, a self-employed celebrant from Lancashire, told PA.

"People cannot change huge wedding plans for the third or fourth time, and new bookings/enquiries are non-existent as who wants a wedding with 15 people and no wedding reception?

"The Government needs to open up the wedding industry and have a plan for when they will do that. Like the wedding itself, set a date. We are just being left to rot at the moment."

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