Couples slated to marry had hoped that from August 1, receptions of up to 30 people would be allowed in England. This is what the government had planned for the next stage of easing the lockout.
But last week, they pushed the date back, and receptions can still only be attended by a party of six outside, or two households inside.
This means that many brides have revamped their plans once and now have to cancel or change them again.
Others, however, continued to welcome the restrictions.
‘Disappointing to see his face’
For Justin Dew and his fiancee Kay, their day of August 14 will be a far cry from the 90-guest wedding they originally planned. The couple had reduced the guest list to 30 but, following the latest announcement, canceled their reception altogether. However, they continue the ceremony.
“We thought about it and decided that the most important thing was to get married,” says Justin, 43, of Essex.
“We want something positive to come out of all of this, so come hell or high tide, we’ll be husband and wife on August 14th. ”
The couple plan to broadcast the ceremony – in which 10 people will participate, the maximum that can fit safely in the small registry office – via Facebook. “I have family overseas, so we decided to broadcast the wedding live on Facebook so that if they can’t come to our house, they can be with us in another way,” says Justin. .
“Our honeymoon is booked in Spain, do you think so. We will probably cancel it because we cannot isolate. ”
Justin says he’s drained. “We have been preparing for over a year and although we are getting married, we will not be sharing it with everyone.
“It’s heartbreaking, my wife put so much effort into everything. It’s heartbreaking to see his face. ”
But he adds, “I’m just happy that thanks to technology we can still share the day with our friends and family. It’s not what we could have had, but luckily we can still share the day.
“August was supposed to be the most exciting month for us, but at least we can still get married, that’s the main focus. “
‘We had an amazing day’
The announcement that the restrictions would no longer be relaxed on August 1 – and therefore no wedding receptions – only came the day before Steph Bradley’s wedding.
But Steph and her husband Rob decided they could still marry and celebrate with social distancing.
“We got married at noon – just us and six guests, and then we went for a delicious lunch with champagne together afterwards,” says Steph, who runs a balloon business in Buxton.
She says some friends and family may have joined them at a pub for “socially distant party drinks.”
He was then back home for a dance in their back garden.
“We had a live band and did our first dance on the back lawn, it was perfect! »Said Steph.
“We had an amazing day! “
What are the rules for weddings?
Wedding ceremonies or civil partnerships (but not receptions) with up to 30 guests have been allowed since July 4 in England and the government has issued guidelines on how to organize a ‘Covid-secured’ wedding.
The guidelines list a series of restrictions, including that no food or drink should be consumed as part of the ceremony and that hands should be washed before and after the exchange of rings.
Northern Ireland has allowed outdoor weddings with 10 people in attendance since early June. Wales and Scotland also now allow wedding ceremonies, but social distancing must be observed and large gatherings are not allowed.
Currently, receptions can only be attended by six people outside or two households inside.
An easing of restrictions planned to allow a total of 30 people to attend wedding receptions from August 1 has been postponed until August 15 at the earliest.
- What are the rules on weddings?
‘Three separate receptions’
Jane Watson and Dom Horsley, of York, are due to tie the knot next weekend. Before the virus, the couple’s plan was to have a small ceremony with immediate family in Leeds, then a ‘big party’ a few days later – but that prospect was suppressed when the lockdown began.
They then hoped to accommodate 30 people in the garden of Jane’s parents. But after the government backtracked on allowing entertaining, they are now looking for other ways to celebrate.
“Fortunately, the marriage continues in one form or another,” says Dom. “We want to get married. We love ourselves. And we really hope we can do it one way or another. ”
“And if that means we end up having to have three separate parties afterwards where we put groups of six and go see them for a few hours… We just want to do it in the form we can.”
“It was quite stressful,” adds Jane.
“I realize there are more important things going on, but for us it’s pretty stressful, we’re just trying to make plans that include people who are also on guidelines. ”
She says one of the worst things is that Dom’s elderly grandparents won’t be able to come. “We try to include them in some way or another by maybe going to their house so that they can at least see us through the window in our wedding matters. “
‘Frustrated, disappointed and confused’
Alex Barclay and Katharina Lederle have already postponed their wedding once.
The couple were due to celebrate with 90 friends and family in May on two floors of a West End club in London. They then rescheduled to August 6 and organized a picnic for 30 people.
But now they say they’ll likely only have four guests – including a photographer.
“We are frustrated, disappointed and confused by the government’s announcement. Alex said.
“There is a lack of logic, a lack of consistency in allowing people in pubs, but not a socially distant marriage. “
They had to cancel their suppliers, which Alex says has a “massive financial and emotional impact.”
“We knew very quickly that we wanted to get married this year,” Katharina says.
“When we heard that you could have 30 people outside, we thought ‘awesome’. ”
Now that the board has changed, they are still hoping to get married at Chelsea Town Hall and may have a ‘little picnic’ with their witnesses.
“Our plans are on hold”
Kirsty Drake is set to tie the knot on August 15 in two weeks – when the decision to ease the restrictions again is due for reconsideration.
She had finalized plans this week for a small wedding reception, but now the restrictions mean she is unable to continue the gathering at her venue after her ceremony.
“I’m a little emotional about this today,” she said, speaking the day after the announcement. “Everything is in the air again. ”
“What I don’t understand is that if I wanted to now I could book six tables in an outside restaurant and sit and have a meal with the same group of people I just met. marry. [socially distance] on the spot anyway.
“In our situation, it would be safer to have a meal at the place where we are to be married. “