Ask the Expert- Advice on the New Wedding Rules
Posted on July 10 2020
Following the official stop on weddings during the lockdown, from the 4th July couples can now get married again with the UK. There are restrictions though, and for the time being only small ceremonies are allowed.
So what are the guidelines, and how do you decide whether to go ahead with your ceremony or whether to postpone? At the moment we’re not sure how long the restrictions will go on for, so do you go ahead and plan a smaller ceremony and have the big party next year, or postpone the whole thing? There are so many decisions.
There’s no right or wrong answer but with so much to consider where do you start? We’re here to help, so we caught up with our good friend and expert Jeni of Vanilla Rose Weddings. With over a decade of experience in luxury weddings and events, there isn’t much Jeni doesn’t know about wedding planning so we’re in good hands!
Firstly what exactly are the new wedding guidelines in England?
You can check out the full guidelines here, but the key points are as follows:
- Maximum of 30 people, including the couple, celebrant and officials;
- Ceremonies should take the shortest time possible;
- No large receptions or parties allowed;
- No food or drink should be consumed;
- Hands should be washed before and after the exchanging of rings;
- Singing and loud music should be avoided;
- Social distancing should be observed at all times.
Phew! So is it still possible to have a dream wedding? Over to Jeni…
Photo- Julie Michaelsen
Q. Do you have any tips for couples trying to decide whether to go ahead with, or postpone their wedding?
A. If you’re still unsure about your decision of whether to postpone your entire wedding, I would consider what’s really important to you right now. Are you desperate to be married to each other, or can you not imagine having the legal Ceremony without everyone there to celebrate with you?
If you really just want to be married to each other, it may still work for you to have a smaller legal Ceremony now, with a small number of your closest family and friends. You can then perhaps have a non-legal Ceremony or a Blessing at a later date, when guidelines allow, with all of your family and friends. Of course, followed by the big party you were originally planning for. That way, you get to celebrate twice!
If you really can’t imagine getting married without everyone there to witness your nuptials, and don’t want to have the Ceremony without the after party, then it would be best to put your plans on hold until next year, when you should be able to do everything altogether. It’s your day, and you shouldn’t have to compromise on what that looks and feels like, so waiting would be your best solution.
Q. For couples who are going ahead with a smaller ceremony what are the key things to consider?
A. Have a sure-fire plan of how you’re going to take all possible steps to keep to the Government guidelines and keep everyone safe. Having a plan in place will make your day run smoothly and you’ll find it easier to relax and enjoy the celebration instead of worrying.
Make sure you have sufficient facilities for guests to wash their hands throughout the day, and have hand sanitiser and tissues readily available. Ask your venue what their procedures are and how they’re planning to ensure everything is clean and safe before everyone arrives.
Think carefully about the select number of guests you will invite. Encourage anyone who has symptoms to stay at home, and keep the elderly or vulnerable safe by not having them there either. Perhaps you could set up a live video link for those important family members or close friends to still attend virtually, so they can witness your celebration without putting themselves at risk.
Photo- Helen Warner
Q. For those who have decided to postpone their wedding, how would you advise them to proceed? Things to remember?
A. Schedule a call with your venue and officiant first. Discuss the options available to you with them, and have a few dates in mind that you would like to move your wedding to, so you can check availability with them. Ask if there are any financial implications of moving the date or if they’re simply able to transfer any deposits already paid to your new date. Remember to check with your Registrar for your local Council if you need to give notice again. You may need to do this, depending on when you reschedule your wedding for. Once you’ve pencilled in a new date with your venue and officiant, check the date with the remainder of your suppliers, and ask them if they’re able to transfer your deposit without additional fees. If a supplier isn’t available on your new preferred date, you should check their contract for their cancellation policy as you may not be entitled to your deposit back.
Once you’ve secured a new date and safely moved all of your suppliers, remember to tell your guests about the new date! If you have a wedding website, you can easily update this there – with an announcement and an email. This will ease the questions from guests too if there’s one place for you to share any important information with them all.
Q. Do you have any words of encouragement for those who are really struggling with the whole situation and losing their initial excitement about getting married?
A. I completely understand how this situation can make you feel less excited about your wedding, or feeling anxious about how everything has been. It’s not something any of us could have ever predicted, but it’s an event which is entirely out of our control. Try to combat any negative thoughts with positivity and hope about how much better your wedding will be when the day arrives. How much more you’ll appreciate being able to have those most important to you there to celebrate with you and have you by your side to witness you getting married.
Use this time to work on your wedding plans and make them even better if you can! Learn a new skill – calligraphy or flower arranging for example, so you can create some elements yourself if you had dreamt of being able to have some really personal touches at your wedding, but lacked the time or knowledge previously.
Focus on the design and detail elements of your day; is there anything you’re missing or that you’d really love to add? Re-visit your plans and make sure your wedding day is exactly as you want it to be, and don’t hesitate to adjust some of your plans or design if you want to – it’s more important than ever to make your wedding day feel like you, and to embrace everything that you are as a couple. You’ll thank yourself for making those small changes when your day comes around!
Photo- Julie Michaelsen
Q. Is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?
A. I know it’s tough, and it’s a situation none of us thought we’d ever be in. But whatever your decision or pathway to getting married, it’ll be worth it in the end and you’ll still have the best day of your lives!
Whether you’re planning a smaller celebration this year, or putting your plans on hold until 2021, join my free Facebook community of likeminded Brides, all on the same journey as you. With weekly live wedding planning topics to guide you through your planning with my expert advice, the group is a safe sanctuary for Brides to retreat to from the busy-ness of work and life. Where it’s about less overwhelm, and more joy.
Click here to join Jeni's Facebook group- trust us, you won't regret it. Jeni has so much experience and helpful, practical advice and can help you pick up the wedding planning excitement once again.