FAQs: The Latest Wedding Rules in England Explained

Answering the most frequently asked questions about COVID wedding rules in England.

Last updated: 26th Jan 2023

England is currently in Stage 3 of unlocking, but what does this actually mean for your wedding?

We know that navigating through all of these regulations can be really tricky, so we are here to help. Our team has reviewed the current government advice and pulled together a list of the top FAQs so you can double-check you’re following all the guidelines for your big day.

A summary of the current guidelines: Weddings and civil partnerships can take place either indoors or outdoors at a Covid secure venue from May 17th.  The reception can include a seated meal and entertainment. Ceremonies and receptions are allowed in private gardens but not inside private homes. Stage 3 is expected to last until 20th June.  

Who is included within the 30 people? Up to 30 people can attend the wedding reception, not including any working staff. This 30 does however include children of any age. 

What counts as a Covid-secure venue? A venue that has completed a COVID specific risk assessment. We recommend you talk to your local authority or venue to find out more. 

Do guests need to wear masks? Face coverings are required by law indoors across the UK. Therefore, masks must be worn throughout the ceremony with the exception of the couple and officiant. Guests can remove face coverings when eating or drinking. 

Do guests need to be socially distanced? There is no longer a requirement to seat guests at socially distanced tables. There is a ‘greater emphasis’ on personal responsibility and people are encouraged to ‘exercise caution’ where necessary. Ultimately, this decision will be up to you. 

Is live music allowed at the reception? Indoor performances can take place but outdoor performances are ‘preferable’. Professional performers should make sure they adhere to the Performing Arts Guidance. Amateur choirs, bands and musicians can perform in a group of up to 6 indoors and up to 30 outdoors. 

Can there be dancing? Dancing is ‘advised against’ except for the couple’s first dance and dance floors must remain closed. Any close contact is deemed a personal choice. 

Is congregational singing allowed?  Communal singing should not take place indoors or outdoors at Step 3.

What counts as outdoors? An outdoor reception can be partially sheltered, however, 50% of the walled area must remain open. 

Can there be more than 6 guests at each table? This is down to a personal choice, but we recommend you check in with those attending, especially if some of your guests are vulnerable. 

Is confetti allowed? Confetti isn’t specifically mentioned in the guidance. However, activities such as cake cutting and game playing can take place provided appropriate measures are in place. There is much more detail within the document for specific cultural and religious features. We recommend you read up on this for more detail. 

Can we have features such as guest books and photo booths? As above, these are allowed but appropriate measures are encouraged, for example, adding multiple hand sanitisation stations.

Can we have a drinks reception? A standing drinks reception cannot take place. In line with the current guidance, food and drink must be ordered and consumed whilst seated. 

Are we allowed to stay overnight? In Step 3 of the roadmap, hotels are allowed to be open. Provided that your venue is legally allowed to be open during this step, you will be able to stay overnight.

What is next for weddings? 

We are so excited for champagne to be flowing, cakes to be cut and cheesy tunes to be pumping. The end of these restrictions is so near and we can’t wait to watch you (finally!) have your moment. We know how tough it’s been to watch your original date pass by, but your day is so close and trust us, it’ll be worth every second of the waiting. 

Here at Bridebook, we are pretty positive that restriction-free weddings will be allowed after June 21st. With the roadmap going according to plan and a strong vaccination rollout, we feel incredibly confident that you’ll be able to say “I do” in the way you dreamed of very soon. Keep your eyes peeled for new information, we promise we’ll update you as soon as we can.

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