There’s no doubt that the recent Coronavirus pandemic has hit the wedding industry pretty hard. What’s more, the financial and psychological impact this has had on a lot of couples has been devastating. While new guidance was introduced by the government on June 29th for small marriages and civil partnerships, let’s take a look and see what this really means for Asian weddings.
First of all, it’s important to note that the ‘guidance applies only to marriages and civil partnerships taking place in England, under the law of England and Wales. Religious ceremonies (those not taking place under the law of England and Wales), belief ceremonies, blessings, or other non-statutory ceremonies are not covered, and those wishing to conduct them should refer to other guidance on gatherings.’
What do the new guidelines say?
You can have no more than 30 people in attendance. This maximum number includes all those at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, officiants and guests. Any other staff who are not employed by the venue will be counted in this including photographers, videographers, and catering staff – which for many Asian couples may not be feasible.
Any receptions that typically follow are strongly advised not to take place – the onus here is on the couple…
Small celebrations should only take place if social distancing guidelines are followed, which includes groups of up to two households indoors or up to 6 people from different households outdoors – If the bride and groom aren’t already living with their parents or siblings, then this would mean they may not all be able to attend.
No food or drink should be consumed as part of the event, unless required for the purposes of solemnisation – This means food that follows the ceremony is not allowed, but more so, any exchange of food within the ceremony should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Where the exchanging of rings is required or desired for the solemnisation of the marriage or the formation of the civil partnership, hands should be washed before and after. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible – It doesn’t seem practical to be able to wash your hands right away, so be sure to keep hand gel on you at all times.
Any singing, shouting, raising voices and/or playing music at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult or that may encourage shouting should be avoided due to the increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets – If you do decide to have any kind of background music played by the DJ (who would take up the space of one guest), then the sound would need to be very restrained. Silence would be preferrable at all times to avoid anyone having to raise their voice.
Here are some other things that you may wish to take into consideration, if you’re looking to get married while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place.
There should be clear signage alerting all guests and attendees of the social distancing guidelines upon arrival. This should also clearly state that they or members of their household should not attend the marriage or civil partnership if they are unwell with symptoms of COVID-19.
Where possible, there should be clearly marked areas on the floor to help people maintain social distance of 2 metres.
When arranging seating, try and ensure members of the same household are seated next to each other.
People should not wash the body parts of others. Where rituals or ceremonies require water to be applied to the body, small volumes can be splashed onto the body, but full immersion should be avoided. All individuals should thoroughly wash their hands before and after to ensure good hygiene.
In reality, where possible try and avoid any contact with anyone who is not part of your household. While the ceremonies have been given the official go ahead, it’s important to consider whether you’ll be truly happy if you did decide to get married this way. There isn’t any specific mention of masks in the guidelines, however the general advice shared does insist that you should try and wear a mask when indoors when shopping, on public transport or in other heavily populated areas. Therefore if you were in a room with 30 other people, it would technically make sense to wear a mask.
Not sure how these guidelines affect you? Feel free to connect with me on my Instagram and drop me a DM.
Click here to read the full set of government guidelines.