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Weddings with more than 30 people can go ahead as England’s Covid limit lifted

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Image Source Plus/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Image Source Plus/Alamy

The limit of 30 people at weddings in England is being lifted despite the decision to delay most other Covid reopening measures by four weeks, Downing Street has said.

The decision to make an exception for weddings and wakes had been widely expected, with many people having planned events for the weeks following 21 June, a number of which had been postponed from last year.

Related: PM announces four-week delay to Covid lockdown easing in England

The new regulations, which will bring weddings in line with funerals, means the maximum number of people who can attend will be dictated by the ability of the venue to hold a given number of people with social distancing.

Boris Johnson outlined the plan at the Downing Street press conference held to explain the wider delay, and was asked about the issue by a member of the public selected for a question, who said her own wedding had been postponed twice.

The prime minister said he was “sorry for all the disappointment that’s going to be caused by going a bit slower”, but explained that weddings with more than 30 people could happen from 21 June “providing social distancing is observed”.

He added: “I hope that works for you, and I think everyone would wish you every possible fortune with your wedding.”

The full rules, which have not yet been published, are fairly complex. Commercial venues will need to carry out a risk assessment beforehand, with wedding organisers needing to do a simplified equivalent if the event is taking place on private property.

People will have to eat with table service, with a limit of six at a table, while dancing and singing will not be permitted.

The rules vary according to where the event is held. For example, while the maximum number of guests at a commercial venue depends on the size, if a wedding takes place inside a private home, the maximum number is six, in keeping with wider rules for home-based mixing.

The one exception to the six-person limit for in-home weddings are deathbed weddings, where one partner is terminally ill. Here there is no limit.

In another slight complication, while rules barring things such as dancing are part of the law for weddings at commercial venues, for those taking place on private land, for example in a garden, they are only guidance, and not set down in the law.

Related: What we know about the delay to ending Covid lockdown in England

Marquees in gardens will count as outdoor spaces, but only if at least two of the sides are raised to provide ventilation.

Ministers had heavily hinted at the exception for weddings, mindful that many Conservative MPs are likely to be angry at the decision to delay the final lifting of lockdown from 21 June to 19 July.

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