Wedding rules: How many people can you have at a wedding as churches open to 50 people?

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Weddings were put on hold throughout lockdown, and now places of worship have been allowed to open up to more worshippers in a new relaxation of the remaining lockdown rules. But what about wedding ceremonies and receptions?

The Government were forced to backtrack on planned changes due to come in on August 1 as the infection rate for COVID-19 has risen across several area of the country.

Boris Johnson said that the delay in easing lockdown measures will run until August 15 at the earliest.

He said the Government will continue to study the data carefully and “move forward with our intention to open up as soon as we possibly can”.

The news has devastated many potential newlyweds, who were not only forced to postpone their dream day but also likely forced into paying for elements that would go to waste.


In England, you can have up to 30 people at your wedding and social distancing must be adhered to for those who are not in a household together.

This maximum number includes all those at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, officiants and guests.

It also includes any third-party suppliers, such as photographers or security, but does not include staff employed by the venue or any third party catering staff.

The official guidance reads: “For the purposes of a marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation, the number of attendees should ideally be kept to a minimum as far as possible.

“The lower the number of attendees, the lower the risk of spreading the virus.”

The guidance remains the same for the wedding reception, however – with only six people allowed to attend in line with rules about meeting others outside your household.


Scotland is currently only allowed 20 people to be at your wedding – and similar to England, this includes “anyone employed by the couple.”

There are no limits on how many separate households can attend the ceremony.

Wedding receptions are still subject to the rules that apply for other indoor and outdoor gatherings – three households and up to eight people indoors, or five households and up to 15 people outside.

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The Welsh authorities advise that it is up to the wedding venue to decide how many guests can attend.

The advise reads: “The number that are able to attend a wedding or civil partnership will be limited by the capacity of the venue once social and physical distancing measures are taken into account.”

New rules around wedding receptions are expected to be announced later this week.

Northern Ireland

Weddings in Northern Ireland have been able to take place indoors since July 10, so long as they comply with social distancing rules.

Bernadette Chapman, head of the UK Alliance of Wedding Planners, called Friday’s announcement “devastating”.

“We don’t know when weddings can resume,” she said.

“This affects the immense planning that goes into organising a wedding. We need a roadmap. We need to move forward not backwards.

“How can it be justifiable to have pubs and restaurants open, but not micro receptions of 30 with the social distance?

“It doesn’t make sense, and once again it feels like Boris Johnson has no real understanding of how this affects not just couples but the industry as well.”

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