I thought I should write a short post about the current situation with weddings and where we're at because, if you look at the current government guidelines, it is a bit of a minefield of vague and ambiguous statements. Couples who originally scheduled in their big day for this summer with a hefty dose of confidence are no doubt feeling fairly anxious about their big days and whether their plans line-up with all the "rules". Add in all the current chat of "Indian variants" and the media's selected quotes from SAGE scientists about perhaps pumping the brakes on relaxing restrictions, then couples and suppliers alike are left scratching their heads and wondering what on earth to do.
I'm going to put a link to the official government guidance here so you can take the time to go through it and digest at your leisure. Pay particular attention to the sections on eating and entertainment/dancing. There is also a liberal scattering of words like "must" (which means its enforceable by law) and "should" which means it isn't. When you compare it with the relaxation of other restrictions around the country in other sectors, its a frustrating read to say the least.
In a nutshell, here's where we're at right now:
Step 3: 17th May (at the earliest)
- Up to 30 allowed at a ceremony/reception at a Covid-secure venue indoors or outdoors (including private gardens for receptions)
- Weddings can now take place indoors but only in a COVID secure venue
- Weddings can take place outdoors in COVID secure venues and in private gardens
- No social distancing is required between guests when seated at tables
- Masks do not need to be worn when outside, but do need to be worn when inside other than when eating or drinking
- Live performances are permitted but dancing is advised against and dancefloors must remain closed
Step 4: 21st June (at the earliest): The government aims to remove all restrictions on weddings, subject to the outcome of the social distancing review and the Events Research Programme.
You've all waited such a long time to have your perfect days, you've postponed or cancelled and rebooked only to have the rug pulled from underneath you yet again. The lack of clarity and information from the government has been woeful and words like "at the earliest" don't help to alleviate any of those worries. At this point all we can do is trust that the steps laid out are achievable and that we will get back to normal sooner rather than later.
If you want to stay up to date with what is happening then I strongly recommend that you follow The UK Weddings Taskforce on Instagram (@uk_weddingsorg) #WeddingsTaskForce as they have been campaigning tirelessly on behalf of all couples and suppliers within the wedding industry to get clearer and more definitive answers from the government as to what can and can't be done and their vision out of this lockdown.
From a personal point of view, I am making a lot of bookings for 2022 and beyond and receiving lots of enquiries so it would seem that couples are holding fire on 2021 so that they can have the wedding they want with confidence at a later date. If you're planning your wedding for 2022 and have yet to think about photography then do please drop me a line, it would be great to chat!
Matt is a Surrey Wedding Photographer who covers the Home Counties and beyond.
Facebook: MJH Pictures - Photography by Matt Harris