UPDATE 31st July: The government has now pushed this back for ‘at least a fortnight’.
From August 1st, wedding receptions can have up to 30 guests. This is a marked change from previous guidance which said just six guests for a reception, and if held indoors only from two households.
The current guidance (from July 17th) now states:
- Ceremonies must be kept “as short as reasonably possible” and limited to the legally binding parts
- No more than 30 people may attend, including the couple and staff at the venue
- Ceremonies must be in a “COVID-19 secure environment” with guests following the 2 metre rule, or “1 metre plus” where extra safety measures like masks are used
- The floor should be marked with tape or paint to help people maintain social distancing
- No food and drink can be consumed as part of the service, such as during a communion
- Hands must be washed before and after rings are exchanged; as few people as possible to handle the rings
- Couples and officiants are not allowed to speak with raised voices, such as when exchanging vows
- Raised voices should be avoided, so recordings are recommended instead of singing, and music played at a level where guests do not need to shout over it
- Playing wind or blown instruments should be avoided
- Mitigate risk factors by avoiding face-to-face seating, reducing the number of guests in an enclosed space, improving ventilation, using protective screen and face coverings, and restricting access to non-essential areas
Of course, limiting your wedding to 30 guests means you’ll need to be very careful about who you invite. Parents, siblings, close family, best friends – you’ve probably already reached your 30. But you do need to remember that this number includes yourselves, and our staff.
We recently read about the Australian bride-to-be who posted a letter on Facebook saying that because of “capacity restrictions” the bride and groom had been “forced to split our guests into groups”. Anyone in Group A needed to “please RSVP as soon as possible” as “we will be able to extend any vacant seats to additional guests”. For those in the ‘reserve’ Groups B and C, they would have to wait and see if anyone from Group A couldn’t make it!
We’d suggest avoiding getting into hot water this way. Instead, chat to your family and friends – it’s likely that those you’re not inviting will understand – after all these are extraordinary times. If you really want to get married now, then why not plan to have a celebratory party next year?
If you want to go ahead under the current guidelines, Escot is a perfect venue for smaller weddings – we have always welcomed smaller events as well as large celebrations. Our day rooms give you lots of options, and our outdoor space is lovely too, with a terrace and gardens ideal for summer weddings (at this point in time, many people feel safer outside).
Like all wedding venues, we don’t know what will happen next and it may be that the number of guests will increase. We just don’t know, so watch this space!
If you would like to discuss a smaller wedding, please get in contact. We are now open for viewings.