The delay in lifting all coronavirus restrictions on weddings is a “slap in the face” for couples, one bride-to-be has said.
Boris Johnson told a Downing Street briefing on Monday that the current 30-person cap for ceremonies and receptions will still be lifted on June 21, but venues will have to limit numbers and activities based on space.
The Government website has been updated to state that “some restrictions” will need to be enforced at weddings and commemorative events, including table service only, social distancing, face coverings and “restrictions on singing and dancing”, amid a delay to the planned final stage of lockdown easing.
Emma Ward, 30, who has had to postpone her wedding with fiance John Bennett three times due to coronavirus restrictions, has called for more clarity on the rules.
Miss Ward, a project manager from Sheffield who lives in Newcastle, said: “With the lack of clarity and lack of acknowledgment about what we’ve all been through in the last 18 months, it feels like a bit of a slap in the face.
“Seeing Boris get married recently and seeing all of this weekend’s antics with the G7 and the Euros with people celebrating in different capacities but meanwhile we’re being told we can’t celebrate in a secure capacity – they haven’t really considered us.
“If you’re doing lateral flow tests for sporting events, why not do that for weddings?”
Miss Ward, who is still planning to go ahead with her ceremony at Newton Hall in Alnwick, Northumbria, with 45 guests on July 14, welcomed the 30-person limit being lifted but added couples are still unsure on how many people they can have at evening events following the ceremony.
When asked by another bride-to-be at the Downing Street briefing why testing and vaccination status could not be used to open up weddings in the same way as it is being used for football matches, Mr Johnson said: “All I can say is I’m sorry for the disappointment that this will certainly bring to weddings, to many, many businesses, but it’s a few weeks that I think is worth it to get those jabs in.”
Emily Roome, 30, a solicitor from east London, said the social distancing restrictions could be “devastating” for her wedding at Sibton Park Estate in Suffolk, and that she and her fiancee Andrew Love are now considering postponing from July 24.
The bride-to-be said: “He (Boris Johnson) completely ignored the question about why weddings can’t open up…
“One thing that has always been really important for us is that we can celebrate how we want to celebrate.
“We’re a family that loves singing and dancing and giving each other a hug, we’re a very affectionate family, and if the guidelines that are in place mean that the venue can’t go ahead without a band for example or a dancefloor that would make us seriously consider what to do…
“If we got to the stage of feeling like postponing is what we have to do, I think it would be devastating to have got so close, to be told that actually you can’t go ahead with the wedding that you want to do, and we’d lose so much money.
“There’s so much clarity that needs to happen, because it’s not just our emotions, it’s not just the day that we’ve planned and we’ve dreamed of, there are thousands of pounds that have gone into the planning and that have gone into making it our dream.”
Megan Swan, 29, who is due to marry fiance Dexter Hurlock, 30, in Cornwall next Saturday, had previously cut her 110-strong guest list to 70 people and now faces cutting further due to the ceremony being indoors.
She said: “We have now got 10 days to scramble a plan together – and we have already spent thousands of pounds gearing up and changed venues three times.”
Miss Swan added that although she considered singing and dancing a key part of the celebration, changing the date at one of her local venues now would mean joining a two-year waiting list.
Founder of event management company Sauveur, Matthew Shaw, added: “While people dance in bars and pubs, pack out stadiums, and hold large gatherings across the country, weddings must still be fully seated with no entertainment, dancing, or standing receptions.
“The events industry has demonstrated time and again that these events can be operated safely.
“If the Government is prepared to allow thousands of mask-less fans into Edgbaston or Wembley, then it is unclear whether it is disrespect for or a misunderstanding of the wedding industry that means the same measures are not extended to us.”