COVID secure wedding ceremony

Planning your wedding should be fun and exciting, if a little stressful at times, but planning your wedding during a global pandemic brings a whole new set of challenges to be overcome. And with the rules constantly changing over the past year it’s been difficult to know exactly what to plan.

Since the COVID roadmap was announced at the end of February there has been a little more certainty over what you can and can’t do if you’re planning a wedding this summer. We’ve put together a guide to planning your COVID secure wedding, along with helpful links to previous articles at the end.

What are the current rules for weddings?

Boris Johnson set out the COVID roadmap on 22nd February 2021 with the following dates being put forward as the earliest restrictions may be lifted;

  • From 8th March – weddings of up to 6 people may be allowed
  • From 12th April – weddings of up to 15 people may be allowed
  • From 17th May – weddings of up to 30 people may be allowed
  • From June 21st – all restrictions to be lifted from this date

Rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland vary, please check the relevant government websites for the latest information.

Organising a wedding in 2021

Make decisions early

If you’re planning a wedding before the general lifting of restrictions on 21st June, you’ll need to make some quick decisions about whether to go ahead with a ceremony only, reducing your guest list (and plan a big party later in the year!) or to postponing to a later date. The earlier you make these decisions, the quicker you can inform your venue, suppliers and guests and give them sufficient notice to change their plans.

Be prepared to be flexible with your new dates, it’s likely your venue and suppliers are already juggling re-bookings and postponements from last summer too. Considering mid-week and out-of-season dates may give you more choice.

Consider social distancing rules

While there is a long list of things you can’t do at a COVID secure wedding, with a little careful planning you can still make your socially distanced wedding as beautiful and special as the day you originally planned.

  • Talk to your venue about alternative seating arrangements to group households together and space guests out as required.
  • Instead of including readings and hymns, ask your guests to pre-record their readings and create a special playlist to be used during the ceremony.
  • Incorporate social distancing signage into your décor to remind guests about the 2m rule and face coverings. You could even provide matching or customised face masks for your guests (a unique memento of your lockdown wedding day!).
  • Make sanitising stations a pleasant experience with flowers, décor and scented hand sanitiser, or provide each guest with their own personalised supply!
  • You may not be able to serve food and drink as part of your wedding, but you can send a box filled with treats in advance, so your guests can still raise a glass and enjoy a slice of cake with you from the safety of their own home.
  • While you may have to reduce your in-person guest list, there’s nothing stopping you inviting more guests to take part virtually, you could even send them a treat box to enjoy too!

Stay updated

Keep an eye on the news for updates and changes to the restrictions. While the government have set out the dates at the end of this post as a guide, we’ve learned over the past year that things are subject to change when the data does. Consider what changes you can make if dates are delayed, and come up with a Plan B and C that you can easily action if needed.

Book a planner

If your budget allows, book a planner (search our directory of UKAWP planners) to help you navigate the restrictions, organise and liaise with suppliers and come up with creative ways to incorporate social distancing into your day, as well as helping you to quickly come up with alternative plans if needed.

There’s no doubt a COVID secure wedding might be a little different to what we’re used to, but with a little extra consideration it should be every bit as enjoyable for you & your guests. If you’re planning a 2021 wedding in line with COVID guidelines and need a little help, our planner members are happy to share their experience, advice and support, contact us here to find a planner.

Further Reading

Organising a micro wedding 

Wedding trends 2021

How to uninvite someone to your wedding

Organising a social distanced wedding


Featured image by member Fiona Kelly 

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