The rules on weddings and lockdown restrictions

03 Sep 2020

Due to get married? What can and can't you do at the moment? 

It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a strange year – especially for the wedding industry and couples planning their special days. In the space of three months we went from holding celebrations that were as intimate or as grand as you wanted, to a complete ban on weddings.  

At the beginning of July, we were finally told that small wedding ceremonies could take place – but with no reception. Finally, the government announced that wedding receptions in England, including a sit-down meal for up to 30 guests could take place from August 15. 

The rules are different in different parts of the UK – for example, in Northern Ireland, wedding ceremonies and post ceremony celebrations are allowed with the number of people allowed to attend is based on a social distancing risk assessment made by the venue. 

Similar to this wedding ceremonies and receptions are allowed in Wales with the number of people able to attend decided on a social distancing risk assessment, up to a cap of 30 people. 

In Scotland, wedding ceremonies of up to 20 people can be held and receptions are subject to the rules about gatherings. 

These dates and restrictions are being constantly reviewed and you can keep up with the relevant guidance by following the links below: 





The current rules on weddings in England are:  


  • Wedding ceremonies or civil partnerships for up to 30 people (including the couple, registrar or vicar, witnesses and staff like photographers) have been able to take place from July 4. The 30-guest limit does not include the venue staff. 

  • Ceremonies should be kept as short as possible.  

  • Social distancing of at least one metre between households should be practised at all times. 

  • Guests (but not the officiant or couple) must wear face coverings in all places of worship and register offices. 

  • No food or drink should be consumed unless necessary for the marriage solemnisation. 

  • Group singing and playing of instruments is allowed by professionals or non-professionals indoors but should be outside if possible. This also applies to receptions. 

  • Spoken responses during ceremonies should not be in raised voices. 

  • Hands should be washed before and after the exchanging of rings. 


  • Wedding receptions including a sit-down meal for up to 30 guests (including the couple and any external staff) are allowed as long as they take place within a Covid-19 secure environment. These should not take place in people’s gardens or homes. 

  • Food and drink should be served by staff to minimise self-service in line with guidance for restaurants and pubs etc. 

  • All parties, especially people from separate households/bubbles should adhere to the social distancing guidelines of at least one metre. 

  • Speeches should be done outdoors or in a well-ventilated area. The speaker should maintain their distance from the guests at all times and not raise their voice. 

  • Other activities that are watched by guests (cake-cutting for example) can be done, but again, social distancing must be maintained at all times. 

  • Although performances by musicians are allowed, dancing is not. 

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