The government has published new guidance for couples planning to stage “small” weddings or civil partnership ceremonies in England while the pandemic continues.

Published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the guidance sets out safe practice for such events to help prevent covid-19 infections.

The Ministry explains that civil partnership ceremonies and weddings should be attended by no more than 30 people in venues large enough to allow social distancing of two metres. It continues:

“It is also advised that the ceremonies are kept as short as reasonably possible and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the ceremonies that are required in order for the marriage or civil partnership to be legally binding.”

Religious ceremonies that might normally take hours or days should be truncated, the Ministry states, in order to limit the risk of exposure. Hands should be washed before and after the exchange of rings and no food or drink should be consumed unless this is a necessary part of the ceremony. In addition, music or singing that might interfere with normal conservation and encourage raised voices should be avoided, as should spoken responses amongst attendees during the ceremony, as these could all increase the risk of airborne infection via exhaled droplets. For similar reasons, wind instruments should not be used.

Wedding receptions and parties are currently prohibited but the government plans to reintroduce sit down, socially distanced events for a maximum of 30 people at some point during August, although no date has yet been fixed.

The full guidance is available here.

Image by Jean L via Flickr (Creative Commons)