What do the latest socialising rules mean for weddings?

Want to invite more than a handful of friends and family along to a wedding reception so you can celebrate after tying the knot at your ceremony? Well now you can. Here’s what you need to know.

Bride wearing wedding dress

What are the new rules?

From August 1, the rules for weddings changed. Receptions could go ahead once again, and up to 30 guests were to be allowed.

But with the government bringing in new social gathering rules on Monday 14 June, what does this mean for weddings?

For the moment weddings, along with schools, workplaces and funerals are exempt from the changes. This means couples are still permitted to allow up to 30 guests to their big day.

This is, of course, subject to things being done in a Covid-secure way.

What has changed?

When the lockdown measures came into force in March, the Government stopped all weddings. As a result, many people were forced to put their plans on hold.

While weddings and civil partnerships were permitted again from July 4, couples could only have a maximum of 30 people at their ceremonies – including the couple, guests, the registrar or celebrant and the photographer – and provided they could abide by social distancing rules.

There were also strict rules on receptions: only six people were allowed to attend the reception if it was held outside, or two households if it was held at an indoor hospitality venue.

What do the changes mean?

The  rules will be welcomed by those set to get married this year who will  still be able to have a greater number of loved ones not only at their ceremony, but also at a reception afterwards. This means couples can still have some form of celebration.

It will also come as welcome news to the weddings industry; many venues and suppliers have lost significant sums of money over the past few months.

What if I don’t want to downsize my wedding?

With a limit of just 30 guests for the foreseeable future, some couples who still want a ‘big do’ may be wavering and wondering whether or not to go through with their wedding this year.

Some may opt to postpone, while others may decide to go ahead with a small ceremony this year, with a view to having a bigger celebration next year once it’s possible to have a proper party.

When will the number of guests permitted increase further?

The government says it is working with the weddings industry. But for the time being at least, we will need to await a further announcement on if – and how – bigger receptions could take place safely in the future.

Equally, if there is a second wave of the pandemic ahead of the winter, it’s unlikely that ceremonies will be able to operate at full capacity any time soon.

Should I be worried if I’ve got a wedding coming up in the next few months?

Couples need to be aware that while the government is ‘hoping for the best,’ it is also preparing for the worst. This will make for worrying reading for those who have postponed their wedding until late 2020 or until 2021, as well as those who have a wedding booked for some point this year or next.

If you fall into one of these groups, one option you might be considering is wedding insurance.

What is wedding insurance?

Wedding insurance is designed to give you the peace of mind that you are covered if anything goes wrong.

The aim of this type of policy is to protect against any additional costs or last-minute hiccups.

This might include, for example, the car breaking down, a wedding barn going up in flames, or a pet dog eating the wedding flowers.

But while cover usually provides value for money, this type of policy has hit the headlines of late, as Coronavirus has had a significant impact on wedding insurance claims.

What is the issue with wedding insurance and Covid?

Many of those who had weddings cancelled due to the pandemic and who had hoped to claim on their wedding insurance found they were unable to do so.

This is because many providers said they would not pay claims linked to Covid-19 as policies include exclusions for cancellations due to ‘Government acts or ‘law changes’ such as lockdown restrictions.

The advice throughout lockdown has been to contact your provider to find out the status quo.

What has been happening?

Some venues have offered couples the chance to postpone. For many, this made the best financial sense, especially if neither the couple – nor the venue – were able to claim on their insurance.

Are any providers paying out?

A host of wedding insurance providers are now paying out under certain circumstances. This may be the case if, for example, restrictions meant you couldn’t go ahead with your wedding – and you could prove you tried to get the money back from your venue and suppliers.

So is it worth having a wedding insurance policy?

Right now, you may find there are few – if any – insurers selling new wedding policies.

This could mean you are unable to get wedding insurance to cover you should your venue or supplier go out of business as a result of Coronavirus.

But going forward, this could change, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s happening.

If you have postponed your wedding until next year – or have a wedding coming up in the next few months –and it becomes possible to purchase wedding insurance, you may consider buying it.

But before you do, you must go through the T&Cs with a fine-tooth comb to understand exactly what you are (and are not) covered for, and especially when it comes to cover for pandemics – and Covid-19.

Keep an eye on our wedding insurance pages for when you can take out on insurance for your big day.

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