Coronavirus UK: How will civil and religious wedding ceremonies be affected?

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You can still get married … but it will be for a smaller audience (Photo: Getty)

The effects of the coronavirus continues to be felt in the UK and around the world, as schools are set to close across the country and lockdown fears continue to mount.

For many, the virus outbreak has also put a wrench into the work for their long-planned weddings, leading to uncertainty as to whether they should annul or whether their marriage may even take place.

The Church of England on Thursday imposed new measures indicating that marriages held in their churches can only include the legal minimum number of people.

So how many people can you have at your wedding and can weddings – as we know them – take place in the midst of the current epidemic?

Read the latest updates: coronavirus news live

Can weddings still take place in the UK?

It’s an ever-changing image, but currently church weddings continue, albeit without many guests.

Civil ceremonies will be judged on a case-by-case basis.

Here’s what we know so far.

Church weddings

The Church of England today issued guidelines stating that weddings can now only include five people – the priest, bride, groom and two witnesses.

a worshiper in Westminster Cathedral in London

Services have been suspended in many churches across the country, including Westminster Cathedral in central London (Photo: Will Oliver / EPA)

In a statement, the Church said: “Although wedding services may continue, the number of people attending the ceremony at the church should be strictly reduced to the legal minimum.

“When family members or friends cannot attend due to dialing restrictions, churches will be happy to explore ways to allow others to join the service, either through platforms such as Skype. , or by registering the service to be sent at a later date to anyone unable to attend. ‘

“Apart from the bride and groom, physical distance should be respected as much as possible.

“The priest does not have to touch the rings to bless them, nor to touch the couple’s hands as part of a prayer or a blessing, so it is possible that the service will proceed normally.”

The Church has clarified that a full refund is available if you want to cancel your wedding and that it will attempt to reschedule the weddings if the couples prefer to postpone.

The Catholic Church and the Church of Scotland also issued guidelines yesterday saying only “close” and immediate families should attend weddings, but they did not stipulate a number.

Civil ceremonies

If you are planning to hold a civil ceremony, it is recommended that you contact the venue or clerk of your choice, as the rules vary from location to location and may also depend on the size of your ceremony.

If you’ve been planning a ceremony, be aware of the government’s advice for practicing social distancing, with Boris Johnson asking people stay away from theaters, pubs and bars.

The Prime Minister also advised older people and people with serious pre-existing health problems to “protect themselves” for 12 weeks.

Today, he again confirmed that the government insisted that people should avoid mass gatherings – a category into which many wedding celebrations would fall.

Meanwhile, mass gatherings of more than 500 people are banned in Scotland.

white bicycle with wedding arrow decoration

Couples often choose to get married outdoors (Photo: Getty)

People in England and Wales can get married at a registry office or any other place approved by the local council, such as a hotel or stately home.

In Scotland you can get married anywhere, as long as it is not in a religious location and you agree with the registrar, while in Northern Ireland you can get married at the registrar’s office or at an approved place.

Some registrars and locations have removed services while others remain open, so it is recommended, as always, to contact yours directly.

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