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Couples’ frustration over continued wedding restrictions

·4 min read

Couples planning to wed this week have expressed their frustration at continued curbs to their big day while large crowds of fans are allowed to gather at sporting events such as Euro 2020 and Ascot.

One bride-to-be said she was “baffled” that fans could attend sporting events, yet she would be unable to dance with her children, while another who had already moved her wedding twice said she felt “let down” by the Government.

While the easing of restrictions in England originally planned from June 21 was delayed, the Government lifted the 30-guest cap on weddings.

Melissa Jane with her fiance, Benn Elliott (Courtesy of Melissa Jane)
Melissa Jane with her fiance, Benn Elliott (Courtesy of Melissa Jane)

But the size of guest lists is dependent on how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate, with social distancing measures remaining in place and organisers required to complete a risk assessment or face up to a £10,000 fine.

The risk assessment should be carried out by the organiser and someone who can carry out the practical steps needed to enforce social distancing rules, which could include the couple themselves, according to the guidance.

Dancing is off the table, apart from the couple’s first dance, and so is eating and drinking standing up. Staff and guests are legally required to wear masks at indoor venues and singing should be limited to small numbers of people in larger, well-ventilated buildings.

Sarah Balfour, CEO and founding director of Orchid Events, an event planning company, said: “I had to move everyone’s weddings and parties to September and October of this year or March and April of next year.

“Many wanted to wait until all restrictions were lifted.

“Music and dancing are so important. They help to get the party started and are an integral part of a wedding.”

She also knows how brides are feeling, as she had to postpone her wedding three times. She originally planned to get married on August 30 2020 and now hopes to get married on October 3.

Chelsey Rowe, 23, and her fiance, Nick Brown, 24, a joiner, both from Letchworth in Hertfordshire, will get married on Thursday, but the bride-to-be admits it will not be quite how she imagined it.

Operations worker Ms Rowe said: “I feel happy we can have our day with more than 30 people, but it’s still upsetting, it’s not going to be the day we wanted with all of our friends and family dancing.

“It’s a lot of money to spend on one day to not have it how you imagined.

Football fans gathered in large numbers in Leicester Square before the UEFA Euro 2020 match between England and Scotland
Football fans gathered in large numbers in Leicester Square before the UEFA Euro 2020 match between England and Scotland on Friday (Kieran Cleeves/PA)

“I think the main thing that we are missing out on is dancing. We paid a lot of money for a DJ that’s essentially a waste of money as our guests can’t enjoy it.

“It baffles me how you can have thousands at say a football match or to watch horse racing, but we can’t have our nearest and dearest celebrating a huge milestone in our relationship.”

The sight of crowds attending sporting events, or fans packing the streets ahead of big games such as England against Scotland, was also frustrating for Melissa Jane, 28, who is due to wed fiance, Benn Elliott, 31, a barber, on Saturday.

The couple initially planned to get married on May 16 2020 but had to postpone until December before settling on June 26.

Ms Jane, an insurance clerk, said: “We had to change venues and a few suppliers due to the restrictions and lockdowns and ultimately lost a lot of money.

Royal Ascot
Spectators at Royal Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

“We personally feel let down by the Government as a wedding, which can be a very Covid-secure controlled environment, whereby we know everyone there and could ask everyone to lateral flow test the morning before, is deemed as unacceptable, yet people gather on the street and nothing is being done.

“We can’t afford to postpone so will be going ahead with our day as planned – obviously adjusted to be in line with Government restrictions – as we couldn’t go through the stress of postponing.”

The couple, from Swaffham in Norfolk, are also upset with the decision to ban dancing.

She said: “We’ve paid a DJ to now basically play background music. I would have loved to dance with our children, Winnie (three) and Herbie (five months), yet it’s not allowed.

“We’ve come to the conclusion it’s never going to be that day we wanted, but we can’t go through the pain of waiting for the ‘what if?’ or ‘what could have been?’ You just have to decide what’s important, I guess.

“One day we will all get to dance with our family again, it just won’t be when we had have hoped.”

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