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Coronavirus wedding rules: are wedding receptions allowed in April?

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Megan Murray
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The government’s new guidelines for weddings come into practice today (23 March). Here’s everything you need to know about the updated rules.

Updated Tuesday 23 March: As we edge closer to summer, aka wedding season, there’s optimism in the air as vaccination plans continue to be implemented and milestone dates mean that staycations aren’t too far away. 

And now, for couples, there’s more news to celebrate as the government has updated its Covid-19 wedding rules, giving more venues permission to hold ceremonies from 12 April. 

As things stand, up to 15 people will be permitted to attend a wedding ceremony in England from 12 April. Previously, only places of worship or public buildings were able to take advantage of this, but guidance has been updated to include hotels, too. 

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From 12 April until 17 May, hotels and conference centres with a specific room for the wedding party will also be able to hold ceremonies. While receptions can also be held, they must take place outside and include a sit down meal. 

The new government rules read: “From Step 2, ceremonies may also take place in venues which are permitted to open for the purposes of providing unrestricted services.

“At Step 2, this includes: Conference centres and exhibition halls; holiday accommodation, including hotels (in a room approved for the solemnisation of marriage and formation of a civil partnerships); any purpose built wedding venue (where that is its sole purpose, and it is not also a hospitality venue or visitor attraction).”

Editor of wedding planning destination Hitched, Sarah Allard, comments: “This is a positive step for couples who no longer want to wait to tie the knot and want to move ahead with their wedding with a small group of guests. After a difficult year of uncertainty, this is also promising news for many of our licensed venues who will now be able to open up and host ceremonies next month.

“While we all remain optimistic and hopeful, it’s important that the sector remains cautious as we await clarity on the guidance and exactly what will be allowed to take place at these locations. Our licensed venue partners will be working fast to make sure dream weddings can go ahead within the next few weeks and months, so it’s key that we receive that needed clarity soon to avoid further disappointment.”

Couple getting married
How many people are allowed to attend a wedding right now?

Currently, until 29 March, wedding ceremonies can take place with up to six people with no reception if there is an exceptional circumstance, for example if either the bride or groom is seriously ill. 

After 29 March, wedding ceremonies of up to six people can take place without exceptional circumstances, but there should be no formal reception. It is possible to meet six people outside from two households, with social distancing observed, though.

From 17 May, weddings can go ahead with up to 30 people , as can receptions indoors at a Covid-19 secure venue. From 21 June, if all goes well, all restrictions will be lifted on weddings. 

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a senior digital writer for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about homeware (particularly candles), travel, food trends, restaurants and all the wonderful things London has to offer.