The next steps for weddings after new lifting of restrictions

wedding couple outdoors seated kissing clinking glasses of red wine We're here, we've finally reached Step Three on the government's roadmap out of lockdown - whoops and cheers! Here at County Wedding Magazines we take a look at what this means for weddings in the coming weeks before we reach the long-awaited Step Four in June.

Step 3 - from 17 May: Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will be permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-secure venues that are permitted to open.Alternative wedding ceremonies, and weddings under the law of England and Wales that are permitted to take place outdoors, with up to 30 people, including in COVID-secure venues or private gardens.

wedding couple signing register with masks on Receptions, celebrations and viewings
Receptions and celebrations will be permitted to take place with up to 30 people. They can take place either indoors in a COVID-secure venue (this does not include private homes), or outdoors (which does include private gardens). Although there is no requirement to be COVID-secure in a private garden, the organiser should take all reasonable steps to limit the risks of transmission and must adhere to the gathering limit of up to 30 people. If the event is taking place outdoors, it can be partially sheltered with, for example, a marquee, provided that at least 50% of the walled area remains open.

A broader range of venues will be able to be open at this step, as set out in the roadmap. Any venue which is not required in law to remain closed will be able to host events and allow viewings with appropriate  mitigation measures in place. This includes, for example, any restaurant or indoor visitor attraction.

From Step 3, a broader number of venues will open. Only those venues which remain closed in law (for example nightclubs) will be unable to host viewings, ceremonies, or receptions and celebrations. In venues able to open, viewings will be able to take place indoors in groups of up to 6, or 2 households.

reception table set up outside Social distancing measures
Advice remains that all individuals involved in the event (including attendees, guests, officiants and anyone working) should observe social distancing from those they do not live with, except where they are part of the same support bubble. This means adhering to a distance of at least 2 metres between households (or support bubbles), or 1 metre with risk mitigation (only where 2 metres is not viable). Attendees should be reminded at key points during the events to maintain social distancing and to avoid close contact with individuals from different households.

Please note that the actual number of people able to attend a wedding or civil partnership ceremony or reception must not exceed the number limit that applies at each step, but will also be limited by how many people can be safely accommodated within the venue with social distancing, and where the venue manager has carried out a risk assessment and taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of.

These could include, for instance, avoiding any face-to-face seating by changing layouts, reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings, using signs or floor markings to help people maintain social distance in frequently used areas, and closing non-essential social spaces, as outlined throughout this guidance. Tables must be 2 metres apart, or no less than 1 metre apart with risk mitigations if there are COVID-secure measures such as barriers, screens or other measures to limit transmission are taken.At Step 3, the guidance on meeting friends and family has change, with a greater emphasis on personal responsibility. Instead of instructing people to stay 2 metres apart away from anyone they do not live with, people will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with  and actions to take to help keep friends and family safe.

musicians outside Under current restrictions, it is advised that ceremonies and services should be concluded in a reasonable time and be limited to those elements to ensure the marriage or civil partnership is valid in law.

Religious communities should therefore adapt traditional religious aspects, especially where celebrations would otherwise have taken place over a number of hours, or even days, to ensure the safety of those present and minimal spread of infection.

From Step 3, venues and places of worship will be able to provide food and drink but must adhere to the guidance on hospitality at this step, including that all reasonable steps are taken to ensure that individuals remain seated. This sharing of vessels or glasses, including where part of a religious service, should be avoided. More detail can be found in the places of worship guidance.From Step 3, indoor professional performances can take place, including at a ceremony or reception. Although there is no limit on the number of professional performers that can perform at a ceremony or reception, the number should be determined by how many the venue can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place between the performers and guests. Performances should follow the guidelines as set out in the performing arts guidance.

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