Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, rules for holding wedding ceremonies and receptions have changed a number of times, so it's best to check the latest guidance to assist with planning your wedding on the government's website Click here for government guidance for small weddings and on the Cumbria Registration Service website Click here for more information on Cumbria Registration Service website. The updates below summarise the changes that have taken place up to today.
UPDATE: On 16th March 2021 the UK Weddings Taskforce received confirmation from government that between 12 April 2021 and 16th May 2021 weddings and receptions are only permitted for 15 guests in places of worship, public buildings, locations and outdoor settings that are already permitted to open. You can find out more from the UK Weddings Taskforce on their website. Click here for updates from the UK weddings Taskforce.
UPDATE: On 22nd February 2021 the Prime Minister announced a roadmap for easing Covid restrictions over the coming months. Dates given in the roadmap are the earliest date from which restrictions will be lifted and may change depending on a number of factors. Click here for more details of the government roadmap out of lockdown. Key dates for weddings are:
- 29th March 2021 - from this date wedding ceremonies will be allowed with a maximum of 6 attendees without being limited to exceptional circumstances. Social contact rules will apply and wedding receptions will not be allowed. Overnight accommodation will not be open.
- 12th April 2021 - from this date at the earliest, wedding ceremonies and receptions will be allowed with up to 15 attendees in premises that are permitted to open. Social contact rules will continue to apply. Self-catering accommodation will be allowed to open.
- 17th May 2021 - from this date at the earliest, wedding ceremonies and receptions will be allowed with up to 30 attendees. It is expected that social contact rules will be eased to some extent by this stage. Remaining accommodation, such as hotels, hostels and B&Bs, will be allowed to open.
- 21st June 2021 - from this date at the earliest, and subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme, all legal limits on weddings will be lifted.
UPDATE: On 4th January 2021 the Prime Minister announced a national lockdown, meaning that no wedding ceremonies and receptions can take place at the current time. It is expected that a 'roadmap' for the easing of restrictions associated with the lockdown will be published on 22nd February 2021.
UPDATE: From 31st December 2020, Cumbria has been placed into the Tier 4 (Stay at Home) alert level, meaning that wedding and civil partnership ceremonies should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery. Wedding receptions and celebrations are not permitted to take place. This unfortunately means that all ceremonies booked from 31/12/2020 until the alert level for Cumbria is reduced must be cancelled or rearranged. Click here for more information on Cumbria Registration Service website
UPDATE: On 23rd November 2020 the government released its Winter Plan which sets out its approach to ending the national restrictions on 2nd December. This involves a move back to the regional, tiered system that was in place before the national lockdown. This means that from 3rd December 2020 small marriages (up to 15 people excluding ceremony officers and anyone working as part of the wedding) will be able to take place once more. Wedding receptions will also be able to take place with the same restrictions as previously, meaning they will not be allowed in areas under the highest tier 3 (Very High) alert level.
UPDATE: On 31st October 2020 the government announced that weddings and civil partnerships will not be permitted to take place during the new national restriction period from 5th November to 2nd December at the earliest (during this period ceremonies will only be allowed in exceptional circumstances, such as life limiting illness). This means that all ceremonies booked between Thursday 5th November and Wednesday 2nd December 2020 must be cancelled or rearranged as noted on the Cumbria Registration Service website. Click here for more information on Cumbria Registration Service website
UPDATE: On 12 October 2020 the government introduced a system of local COVID alert levels and associated restrictions. In general, these additional restrictions do not have significant implications for small marriages or civil partnerships, with the exception that wedding receptions cannot take place in areas that are subject to ‘local COVID alert level - very high’ restrictions.
UPDATE: On 22nd September 2020, the government announced that wedding ceremonies and civil partnerships will be restricted to 15 people. This includes the couple and 2 witnesses, it does not include the 2 ceremony officers and any third party suppliers - for example a photographer. It is expected that these restrictions will be in place for the next 6 months.
UPDATE: On 13th August 2020, the government announced that small wedding receptions - sit down meals for no more than 30 people and subject to Covid-19 Secure guidance - will be allowed, in addition to ceremonies, from 15th August 2020. Click here for government guidance on small wedding receptions and celebrations
UPDATE: On 5th August 2020, Cumbria Registration Service announced that from 8th August 2020, it will be mandatory for all guests at a ceremony in a registry office or approved venue to wear a face covering (unless exempt for medical reasons). Click here for more information on Cumbria Registration Service website
The restrictions on numbers, requirements for social distancing, limitations on post-ceremony celebrations and uncertainty about how long any restrictions will apply, continue to leave many couples pondering what to do - especially those with weddings planned for winter and spring 2021. Obviously your best sources of information and guidance as you think about what to do will be your wedding planner, venue staff and the officiant for your wedding. However, I'm also ready to help in any way I can - including modifying your package, adapting my approach, changing your date, switching to a different venue or refunding your deposit.
If you're able to go ahead despite restrictions
If you're able to go ahead with your wedding in a form that you're happy with despite any restrictions in place at the time of your wedding, then that will be amazing! For those already planning very small or 'Just Us' weddings, it may well be possible to go ahead with minimal impact on your plans, except during lockdown periods. In anticipation of this, I've adapted my approach to capturing your wedding to ensure I operate in a Covid-19 secure way without putting anyone at risk. For example, I'm staying home as much as possible to keep well, I'm keeping up to date with changes in guidance for social distancing, I've done a mental risk assessment for each stage of the wedding and I've developed a list of things to talk through with you beforehand.
For others willing to scale back their wedding plans - perhaps moving the post-ceremony celebrations until next year - it may still be possible to plan a fabulous and memorable wedding day, putting even more focus on you as a couple supported by your closest of family and friends. In this case, as well as adapting my approach as above, I've also worked out how to capture group photos and other wedding traditions in a Covid-19 secure manner.
I'm also ready to adjust your photography package as needed to take into account of any changes in your plans - for example you may need less photography coverage if you're not having an evening reception, but might want to add LIVE streaming of the ceremony to your package, so any guests you can't have with you physically, can still join you remotely on your special day: Click here for more details on LIVE streaming your wedding
If you have to postpone your wedding
On the other hand, if a lockdown will be in force when you've planned your wedding or you feel things are otherwise too restrictive, you may be looking at rescheduling your wedding. If that's the case, I'll obviously try to accommodate a change of date and/or venue for you, so please don't hesitate to let me know about any dates you might be considering, so I can check my availability for you. And, in the event, I don't have availability for your revised date, then please don't worry, I can simply refund your deposit, so you can find another photographer to capture your day for you when it comes.
If you decide to move your wedding to next year or beyond, that's no problem at all, but I hope to won't mind me asking for a small uplift in my fees to take account of pricing changes in future years.
If you're having to cancel and regroup
Equally, I'm ready to help if you want to move your wedding but haven't been able to find a suitable revised date. If you want to cancel your booking while you decide what to do, then I can either keep your booking open without a date or refund your deposit if you'd prefer to start again when you've worked out what you want to do.
So, whatever your situation, I'm here to help! Whatever you decide to do, your day WILL come and it WILL be amazing, even if it's not entirely what you envisaged at the outset! Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions about anything and in the meantime, take care and stay safe.