Wedding rules in England – UPDATE

Wednesday, May 19 2021

England is currently in step 3 of the four-step roadmap out of lockdown. But what does this all mean for weddings and wedding receptions?

Step 3 means that the permitted wedding and reception guest list is now 30 people. This does not include individuals working at the event.

From 17th May...

Weddings and receptions with up to 30 people are now possible indoors or outdoors. They can take place at any premise that has a Covid-secure licence. This also includes taking place in private gardens.

From 21st June...

This is step 4, the final step of the roadmap plan. Here, it's expected and hoped that all legal limits on social contact are removed. This includes at weddings, live performances and other large events. Though this is still subject to change.

We've rounded up a few key rules:

  • You can use a marquee for partial shelter should the wedding or reception take place outside. However, this is only permitted if at least 50% of the walled areas remain open.
  • Face coverings must be worn in any indoor settings, including in places of worship. This is in accordance with the law.
  • Venues and places of worship are allowed to serve food and drink. However, reasonable steps must be undertaken to ensure guests and individuals remain seated. Sharing of cups/glasses – including those part of a religious service – is not allowed.
  • Single-use service sheets, prayer mats or religious texts can be provided but individuals must remove these following the ceremony, to remain in line with the law.
  • Speeches should be carried out in well-ventilated areas or outside where possible. For example, opened windows and doors.
  • Reception objects like guest books, games or photo albums are permitted but should be minimised. Hand sanitiser should be offered before and after coming into contact with said objects.
  • Dancing is allowed but advised against. However, the couple's first dance is still allowed.
  • Indoor professional performances can take place, including at a ceremony or reception. There is no limit on the number of professional performers that can perform at a ceremony or reception. However, the number should be determined by how many the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place between the performers and guests. Amateur choirs, bands, or musicians may also perform in a group of up to 6 indoors. Outdoors, they may perform in multiple groups of up to 30. Communal singing should not take place indoors.
Cake by Helen Mansey, from
Cake by Helen Mansey, from 'Bellissimo Wedding Cakes'

What the current guidelines mean for weddings