What are the wedding Covid rules in the UK?

HAPPY couples are keen to celebrate their special day with more guests with the coronavirus pandemic hampering ceremonies and receptions in the past year.

Weddings have either been postponed or reduced since the start of the Covid pandemic – but as cases continue to plummet, more freedoms are being given to the public.

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What are the Covid wedding rules?

Under the Boris Johnson's roadmap, up to 15 people are currently able to attend weddings and civil partnership ceremonies from April 12.

Yet, more guests will be able to attend from May 17, with 30 people able to attend.

It comes after restrictions on weddings were eased on March 29, with couples rushing to their local registry offices to make the most of the new rules.

Ben and Gabriela Lloyd were the first to get married at St Alban's Registry Office after the relaxation of restrictions in March.

It is hoped an unlimited number of guests will be allowed from June 21 as all restrictions are scrapped, but the PM stressed this will be reviewed nearer the time.

Can I have a wedding reception?

Receptions can take place with up to 15 people – but that will increase to 30 from May 17.

This could be in the form of a sit down meal and in any Covid secure outdoor venue that is permitted to open, but receptions will not be allowed to take place in people’s private gardens or public outdoor spaces.

Yet, it is hoped all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions will be removed from June 21.

The PM has faced growing pressure from his own Tory MPs to support the wedding industry by making the return of ceremonies and receptions a priority.

A group of 13 senior Tory MPs, led by Esther McVey and Philip Davies have called for Covid-secure events to return this month including unrestricted weddings. 

Hospitality bosses have also warned the PM that the wedding industry, which supports 400,000 jobs across the UK economy, could face meltdown if receptions do not resume this summer.

Tamryn Settle, campaign manager of #WhatAboutWeddings, a group which advocates for couples and the wedding industry, told The Independent: "For weddings to go ahead in any form this summer, we need a roadmap to a safe reopening and we need to know what restrictions will be in place and what the conditions will be for easing these further."

Can I get married abroad?

Due to national lockdown, overseas travel is illegal unless for very specific reasons.

Under current Covid-19 restrictions, you cannot travel internationally unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so and will likely need to quarantine when you return. 

Brits face fines up to £5,000 for going on holiday abroad under new lockdown laws if returning to England or Wales.

From May 17, international travel will be permitted for Brits – but with only a limited number of countries on the green list, restrictions could hamper any wedding plans.

Any travelling outside of the UK will also have to abide by the rules set out by individual countries for handling the coronavirus pandemic.

What are my rights if my wedding couldn't happen?

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer wedding rights.

This says:

  • If your wedding can't go ahead without breaching local or national lockdown rules, the contract is likely to be "frustrated", meaning you are entitled to a refund and will not liable for future payments
  • This includes rules limiting the number of guests, telling people to stay at home or requiring venues to close
  • The refund requirement covers ''non-refundable'' deposits, although a venue or supplier can subtract ''limited'' costs for services already provided
  • A venue can also withhold money it has spent on your day that it cannot recover, such as on staff planning the wedding, but not for things like general staff costs or building maintenance.
  • Suppliers and venues must give you a costs breakdown if they wish to withhold part of your deposit

Can I claim on wedding insurance?

The CMA's guidance states: "In many cases, where consumers have paid substantial sums in advance of their wedding, the CMA would generally expect them to be offered most of their money back.

"It would be for the business to justify deducting any amounts."

Most insurance does not cover a ''government act", so is unlikely to pay out if lockdowns have affected your wedding, while new wedding insurance policies are unlikely to cover coronavirus.

Can suppliers and venues charge me more if I postpone?

Businesses are not allowed to just hike up prices.

Henrietta Dunkley of Ellis Jones Solicitors says some couples have found venues were charging them far more for a postponed wedding than if they were a new customer.

This is unlikely to be deemed reasonable.

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