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BORIS Johnson has announced restrictions on weddings will be eased from April under his lockdown roadmap.
Thousands of couples forced to postpone their big days due to Covid in 2020 – and with ceremonies arranged this year – have been on tenterhooks to discover how their plans will be affected.
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Couples are hoping for a return to wedding normality this yearCredit: Alamy
What are the Covid wedding rules?
Under the PM’s roadmap, up to 15 attendees – including brides and grooms – will be allowed at weddings from April 12.
This number will rise to 30 from May 17.
It is hoped an unlimited number of guests will be allowed as all restrictions are scrapped from June 21, but the PM stressed this will be reviewed nearer the time.
The first date things will change, albeit not very much, is March 29.
At this point, weddings can proceed with up to six attendees but will no longer be limited to “exceptional circumstances”.
Mr Johnson said: “We will aim to remove all legal limits on social contact and on weddings and other life events.
“We will reopen everything up to and including nightclubs and enable large events such as theatre performances above the limits of step three – potentially using testing to reduce the risk of infection.”
Under current rules, wedding ceremonies are only permitted to take place in exceptional circumstances – such as a bride or groom being terminally ill.
Can I have a wedding reception?
Hospitality bosses have warned the PM the wedding industry, which supports 400,000 jobs across the UK economy, could face meltdown if receptions do not resume this summer.
Tamryn Settle, campaign manager of #WhatAboutWeddings, a group which advocates for couples and the wedding industry, told The Independent:”For weddings to go ahead in any form this summer, we need a roadmap to a safe reopening and we need to know what restrictions will be in place and what the conditions will be for easing these further.”
Receptions have been banned altogether under the national lockdown.
The PM’s lockdown roadmap has said receptions can take place no earlier than April 12 for up to 15 people.
This could rise to 30 attendees after May 17.
The PM has faced growing pressure from his own Tory MPs to support the wedding industry by making the return of ceremonies and receptions a priority.
A group of 13 senior Tory MPs, led by Esther McVey and Philip Davies have called for Covid-secure events to return from next month and unrestricted weddings from May 1.
Can I get married abroad?
Due to national lockdown, overseas travel is currently highly restricted.
Under current Covid-19 restrictions, you cannot travel internationally unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so and will likely need to quarantine when you return.
But that could change after restrictions are eased on May 17.
Weddings were allowed to resume last year but with limited guests, masks and social distancingCredit: Getty Images – Getty
What are my rights if my wedding couldn’t happen?
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published guidance on consumer wedding rights.
- If your wedding can’t go ahead without breaching local or national lockdown rules, the contract is likely to be “frustrated”, meaning you are entitled to a refund and will not liable for future payments
- This includes rules limiting the number of guests, telling people to stay at home or requiring venues to close
- The refund requirement covers ”non-refundable” deposits, although a venue or supplier can subtract ”limited” costs for services already provided
- A venue can also withhold money it has spent on your day that it cannot recover, such as on staff planning the wedding, but not for things like general staff costs or building maintenance.
- Suppliers and venues must give you a costs breakdown if they wish to withhold part of your deposit
Tory MPs have called for an end to restrictions on weddings by the summerCredit: Getty – Contributor
Can I claim on wedding insurance?
The CMA’s guidance states: “In many cases, where consumers have paid substantial sums in advance of their wedding, the CMA would generally expect them to be offered most of their money back. It would be for the business to justify deducting any amounts.”
Most insurance does not cover a ”government act”, so is unlikely to pay out if lockdowns have affected your wedding, while new wedding insurance policies are unlikely to cover coronavirus.
Can suppliers and venues charge me more if I postpone?
Businesses are not allowed to just hike up prices.
Henrietta Dunkley of Ellis Jones Solicitors says some couples have found venues were charging them far more for a postponed wedding than if they were a new customer.
This is unlikely to be deemed reasonable.