Wedding planning can be stressful enough without having to worry about Health and Safety especially within the current ever-changing climate of rules and regulations. The good news is, here at Poptop, we have taken the stress out of it for you and created this inclusive COVID safe wedding guide to help with all your H&S needs for weddings in England.
COVID Safe Wedding Ceremonies & Receptions – England
What are the current rules and regulations?
As it stands, wedding ceremonies and receptions are allowed to take place as long as Health and Safety measures such as social distancing are present to ensure the safety of the wedding party and the guests.
If any of the guests have symptoms of Covid-19, they should not attend the ceremony. If one or both of the couple have symptoms, then the ceremony should not take place and should be postponed until they have been tested negative.
Number of Attendees
The number of attendees at a wedding ceremony and reception has been limited to 15. This includes guests, the couple, the wedding party and any third party suppliers that you may have on the day. This doesn’t include the venue staff and venue manager or third party catering staff.
It is not recommended that those who are shielding, those at risk and guests over 70 attend wedding ceremonies or receptions at this time, though there is no ban on this. There is also no limitation on children being present to weddings but the Government has advised that all soft-play or shared pay areas for children are removed as they are difficult to clean and can encourage children to mingle.
The Basics: You can have 15 people attend the wedding, including the to-be married couple and suppliers.
Poptop’s Recommendation: Choosing who to invite to your wedding is already stressful without a limitation on numbers. Look into getting the wedding live-streamed or recorded for friends and family who are unable to attend.
Social Distancing Measures
The venue that you are looking to book or have booked for the ceremony should allow for social distancing measures to be put into place where possible; guests and family bubbles should be 2 meters apart. Layout and seating plans that have the guests face to face should be avoided and you may wish to add screens and encourage the use of face masks in certain areas.
It is recommended that ceremonies and receptions take place outside where possible, to allow for proper ventilation and social distancing to take place. Though this is not required, you may wish to have certain elements of your wedding day take place outside, venue permitting.
The Basics: Wherever possible the 2 meter rule should be enforced.
Poptop’s Recommendation: If you want to make social distancing rules clear, ask your venue manager to mark the area with tape to show 2meters where possible.
Hand Washing & Face Masks
We all know how to wash our hands and keep ourselves clean, but with guests in their best outfits, hand sanitisers may not be at the forefront of your guests minds. Your venue should have appropriate facilities for all of your guests and ensure that your wedding venue, toilets and celebration space is private for you and your guests’ use only.
Where social distancing is difficult, you may wish to enforce the wearing of face masks to ensure that you and your guests are being extra cautious.
The Basics: Ensure the venue has appropriate toilet and cleaning facilities (especially if your venue is outdoors).
Poptop’s Recommendation: Buy some hand sanitiser to dot around the venue to make it accessible for guests to use. If you choose to wear face masks at some point during the day, make sure you have spare unused masks for your family and friends who may have forgotten.
Food & Drink
A wedding reception would not be complete without food and drink. The Government has advised that guests are seated and waited on, similar to restaurant settings, to allow social distancing measures to remain in place. Buffets and/or tapas style food is not recommended, nor is having a bar area, but instead, plan for drinks to be brought to the tables.
Eating or drinking during the wedding ceremony is heavily advised against, unless it is necessary for solemnisation or traditional reasons.
The Basics: Like a restaurant, food and drinks should be served to your guests to allow for social distancing.
Poptop’s Recommendation: If you wanted to have a food van, consider guests getting their food in their respective bubbles rather than mingling in a queue.
Speeches & Traditions
Any post-ceremony activities such as speech giving, cake cutting etc can still go ahead in line with social distancing recommendations. Speech givers should not raise their voices and should ideally be able to speak freely in an open and well ventilated space.
Traditions that include objects being passed between guests and cannot be performed while allowing for social distancing should not occur. For example bouquet tossing or confetti throwing. Any guest book signing or photo booths with props etc should be limited and hand sanitisation should be encouraged before and after partaking.
The Basics: Cake-cutting, speeches and wedding favours are traditions that are allowed in line with social distancing rules.
Poptop’s Recommendation: Go ahead with most post-ceremony traditions as long as you are social distancing with guests.
Originally there were some regulations put in place for wind and brass musicians and singers, these have now been revoked and you are now allowed to have these performances take place both privately and on your wedding day. So, if you are looking to have a band or singer at your ceremony, you now have no limitations to the type of band you choose.
However, it is recommended that all performances are shortened and limited where possible and bands with fewer members and that use amplification rather than spoken projection are preferable and outdoor performances should be considered if possible to allow for proper ventilation.
If you choose to have music during the ceremony or reception, it is advised that this is played quiet enough to avoid attendees having to raise their voices.
Unfortunately there is still a limitation on dancing, so please refrain from this on your wedding day. Though there is talk of allowing the married couple to have their traditional ‘first dance’, this has not yet been confirmed by the British government.
The Basics: All types of band and singer are now able to perform, though performances should be shortened.
Poptop’s Recommendation: Ensure your band or singer has enough space to perform with social distancing put in place and limit their performance to your favourite few songs.
You may already have some suppliers booked for your wedding day, or you may be still looking to hire some. If your booking has been or will be affected by Covid-19, the best thing to do is communicate as much as you can with the supplier directly. It is likely that they have some new health and safety procedures in place and you will want them to have all of the venue details too, so it is best to check in with them to make sure.
You will also need to find out what time they plan on arriving, how much time they need to set up and any personal details for staff members for track and trace that the venue will need. It may be that the venue manager will be able to organise this for you, but we advise collecting these details yourself too. If there is a one-way system in place or any other major health and safety procedures at the venue, you will need to ensure the suppliers are aware of this.
We would recommend that suppliers remain in one area of the venue where available and limit contact with all guests to ensure social distancing at all times.
Here is a quick list of questions to ask the supplier to get you started:
- Have you got your own Covid-19 policy?
- Do you need a copy of the venue’s Covid-19 policy?
- Will you be in touch with the venue manager to explain Health and Safety procedures?
- Do you need to wear PPE? If so, are you able to provide this yourself?
- Do you need us/the venue to provide access to hand washing facilities/hand sanitiser?
- Do you need to be socially distanced?
- Have you/your staff been tested for Coronavirus and can you ensure that all of your staff working are in good health?
- Do you need any performance screens or a large area for social distancing?
- Speak to your venue manager to find out their Covid-19 policies.
- Check the Government Website for the latest updates.
- Ensure guests do not have any symptoms before they attend the ceremony.
- While it is not recommended that ‘at risk’ guests or those over 70 attend, if they do ensure that your attendees are aware to ensure they are properly socially distanced and respectful of this.
- Ensure you have the contact details of all of the guests in case of Track and Trace, your venue manager will need these details on hand and keep them for a minimum of 21 days.
- Check the Government websites for wedding guidance in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. They differ from England and have different numbers for guests as well as other guidelines.
Just because we are having to be more careful while celebrating with our friends and family, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your wedding day to the fullest with your loved ones. We wish you all the best for your big day and most importantly stay safe and have fun!
Disclaimer: this is information gathered at the time of writing from the UK Government website, this may change at any time and it is best to check with your venue manager and the Government website for any updates. This is a recommendation only and we have no say on Government regulations due to Covid-19. All these steps and guidelines may not 100% prevent the spread of Covid-19 and there is the possibility that the spread of Covid-19 could happen even if all these steps were taken.
THIS IS A GUEST FEATURE WRITTEN BY // Paige Patterson // Head of Client Experience at Poptop UK
We help wedding planners book live music bands, solo musicians and entertainment professionals quickly, easily and safely. With us, you book entertainment suppliers directly, so we guarantee a fair price and a transparent booking process.