Wedding guests ‘will be limited to 15 under new Covid rules – but 30 mourners allowed at funerals’

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Dreams of a big wedding were dealt a further blow this lunchtime – happy couples will have to halve their wedding guests from Monday, after the government slashed the number allowed to gather to 15 under new Covid-19 rules.

Boris Johnson left thousands of couples hoping to marry with extended friends and family looking on devastated after reversing the easing of lockdown today to prevent a second coronavirus spike. 

Speaking in Parliament this afternoon, Mr Jonson said that from Monday no more than 15 people will be able to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, in a tightening of the ‘rule of six’. The new restrictions could be in place for six months. 

More than 73,000 weddings and civil partnership ceremonies were cancelled after a ban was declared at the start of lockdown in March. 

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Weddings were allowed to resume in August with a limit of 30 guests – but tighter Covid restrictions could see that figure halve

Last month, the Government declared they could resume, but capped the number of guest to 30.  Addressing Parliament this afternoon, Boris Johnson confirmed wedding guest numbers would be capped at 15 – but 30 mourners are allowed at funerals. 

Earlier today Michael Gove insisted the Government was taking ‘reluctant steps’ with the new coronavirus measures, but added that they are ‘absolutely necessary’.

Here FEMAIL speaks to three couples affected by the latest decision, and speaks to wedding expert and editor of Hitched, Sarah Allard, about how to handle another awkward conversation with both suppliers and guests. 

BRIDE-TO-BE: ‘WE’LL GO AHEAD: WE JUST WANT TO BE MARRIED NOW’

Bride-to-be Felicity Challis, 34, and Leon Davies, 35, had planned to tie the knot with at least 30 of their nearest and dearest and say they're frustrated by the government's latest plans

Bride-to-be Felicity Challis, 34, and Leon Davies, 35, had planned to tie the knot with at least 30 of their nearest and dearest and say they’re frustrated by the government’s latest plans

Felicity Challis, 34, and Leon Davies, 35 were due to wed on October 3rd at St James the Great church in Ruscombe, Berkshire and say they’re ‘frustrated’ that they big day will now be curtailed. 

Says Felicity: ‘It’s so frustrating especially as I work in a college with hundreds of students, and my son attends the local infant school and my daughter the local pre-school.’ 

ANOTHER tricky conversation: How to cut wedding guests back to 15 without causing offence…

Anyone hoping to get married with their nearest, dearest and a hundred or so friends and work colleagues looking might as well keep dreaming, for the government’s latest ruling puts big weddings off the menu for at least a year. So how should brides and grooms handle the disappointment – both their own and that of their guests? 

Just weeks after weddings were allowed to resume, the Government is set to cap the number of guests at 15

Just weeks after weddings were allowed to resume, the Government is set to cap the number of guests at 15

Hitched Editor Sarah Allard: ‘The new rules are bound to cause stress and disappointment for couples who have likely already postponed their wedding or begun planning a smaller celebration for up to 30 guests. 

‘The latest news will also come as a huge blow to so many wedding businesses who are fighting hard to look after their couples and keep their businesses afloat.’

Allard says there are things you can do though to ensure your wedding plans aren’t derailed completely…  

  • If your wedding date is coming up, speak to your venue and suppliers asap – they are professionals and in the best possible position to advise you on your options. 
  • If you plan to go ahead with a smaller day, then have an honest conversation with your guests – they will appreciate how difficult it’s going to be for you to cut down your guest list.
  • For those you’d still like to join you, make sure they’re aware of any health and safety measures you’d like them to adhere to on the day.
  • For those that are no longer able to attend, consider ways to still ensure they can still feel involved – whether it’s live streaming elements like the vows or speeches, or seeing them separately to celebrate.

She adds: ‘There are so many bubbles and yet we can’t have trusted friends and family (who are also part of work and employment bubbles), with us to celebrate our wedding.’

The couple say they ‘just want to be married’ at this point and so will go ahead the week after next with their wedding plans with the government’s reduced number. 

THIRD TIME LUCKY? ‘WE’VE CANCELLED TWICE AND WANT OUR APRIL WEDDING TO GO AHEAD – BUT WE MAY DELAY AGAIN!’

A third delay? David Reed, 32, and his wife-to-be Samantha Brewis, 29, are now set to walk down the aisle in Bury next April...however, if there's a chance they might be able to have a normal wedding, they say they could delay their nuptials again

A third delay? David Reed, 32, and his wife-to-be Samantha Brewis, 29, are now set to walk down the aisle in Bury next April…however, if there’s a chance they might be able to have a normal wedding, they say they could delay their nuptials again

The couple say they're reluctant to change the date again because they don't want to 'delay family plans'

The couple say they’re reluctant to change the date again because they don’t want to ‘delay family plans’

More costs: another delay would see the couple lose even more money, they say

More costs: another delay would see the couple lose even more money, they say

David Reed, 32, and his wife-to-be Samantha Brewis, 29, are hoping it’ll be a case of third time lucky, after the pandemic has seen them call off their wedding twice before. 

They were due to tie the knot at Bury Parish Church, followed by a reception at Eaves Hall in Clitheroe. 

Says the couple: ‘Our intention is to go ahead in April with whatever we can have as we have cancelled twice and so as not to delay further our family plans. 

‘However, if there is a definite end in sight when we could have a normal wedding, providing it is in 2021, we would consider delaying a few months for that to happen. It would just mean potentially losing suppliers and costing yet more!’  

GOING AHEAD: ‘EVERYTHING IS IN PLACE – TO LET ALL THOSE BUSINESSES DOWN AT SUCH SHORT NOTICE IS CRUEL’ 

Going ahead: Susanne Hunt, 57, and her husband-to-be Ian, 52, say they're heartbroken by Boris Johnson's latest announcement but can't wait any longer

Going ahead: Susanne Hunt, 57, and her husband-to-be Ian, 52, say they’re heartbroken by Boris Johnson’s latest announcement but can’t wait any longer

Susanne Hunt, 57, from Swindon, was set to marry husband-to-be Ian, 52, a week on Saturday. 

After ten years together, Susanne and Ian say they are devastated by Boris Johnson’s announcement this lunchtime – and feel like they’ve already waited and waited to walk down the aisle.  

Susanne told FEMAIL: ‘We’ve been together 10 years and he proposed on New Year’s Eve. 

We’ve hung on and on to ensure the day went ahead, cutting our numbers to 30 and now today’s announcement has left us shell-shocked.’  

The heartbroken bride-to-be said: ‘Everything is in place, venue, flowers, cake, photographer…..to let these businesses down at such short notice is cruel. 

She says the couple will still go ahead with their day but will now need to ‘work out what it will look like’. 

Susanne adds: ‘Infection rates in the South are less. How is it fair when funerals can have 30 people?’ 

Rebecca Broadley and Scott Cartmell, both 29, are preparing to get married at St Mary Magdelines Church followed by reception at Holmes Mill, Clitheroe. 

Rebecca says: ‘My partner and I were meant to be married on Saturday 19th September. However, due to Covid we re-arranged this to April 5th 2021.

After today’s announcement, we are now having to look at re-arranging again!

‘I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. The venue are not responding to my questions and because of the date are not allowing me to cancel or change without it costing me.

I am now also looking at spending my 30th birthday without seeing my family as well as having to put my life on hold.’

SIX MONTHS OF STRESS: WE’VE CUT THE GUESTS FROM 75 TO 30…AND NOW 15 – WE’RE NOT EVEN SURE WE WANT TO GO AHEAD

Mike Collison and his partner Jane, from Maidstone, are set to wed on October 28th and have seen their guest list shrink and shrink again. They say they’ve had six months of feeling ‘completely stressed and frustrated at the constantly changing rules around weddings’. 

Jane tells FEMAIL: ‘We’ve had to constantly change and adapt the plans, and what was the wedding of our dreams is now something we don’t even want to do anymore. 

‘We’ve gone from a day guest list of 75, down to just 6, then back up to 30. We have spent months being stressed and upset about it, and put all plans and purchasing on hold.’ 

Our folks are getting older, and any delay would also interrupt our future family plans…

‘Today we have had to cut the list down further to 15, or 14 as we’d like a photographer. This covers ourselves, our nine-year-old, our parents and our sisters and their families. My partner has been unable to have a stag do, and he can’t have his best man at his wedding now.’

‘We don’t want to delay. We’re exhausted by the constant planning and compromising. We just want to ‘get it done’ now, which should not be the attitude to have about your wedding. 

‘Our folks are getting older, and any delay would also interrupt our future family plans. We’re also under pressure from our suppliers, many of whom have lost most of their work this year, and will not give refunds.

‘We’re absolutely heartbroken that we can’t have our best friends there, and that it won’t be much of a day. I’m scared people will even get bored.’ 



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