2021 weddings and the four-step plan
The PM’s lockdown strategy involves opening England’s economy carefully over a four-month period from March to June (hence the four steps). Although we’ve been offered some rough dates for things opening again, there’s no guarantee we’ll move at this speed. It all comes down to whether we’ve vaccinated enough people and whether the infection rate continues to slow.
That said, there’s no reason you can’t plan your 2021 wedding based on the data we have available. Let’s take a look at the four-step plan and run over the key changes that could affect your ceremony.
Step 1: 8 March – 11 April
The first stage begins on 8 March, but we won’t see any real changes to wedding and civil partnership rules at this time. So, here’s a reminder of the rules already in place:
- You can’t get married before 29 March unless in exceptional circumstances (e.g. one of you is terminally ill).
- From 29 March, the ‘rule of six’ applies, which means you can book a wedding but you can only have four guests.
- Guests must wear face coverings.
- You can’t have a reception or party.
Step 2: 12 April – 16 May
There’s better news if you plan on tying the knot during step 2.
- It’s okay to get married again, and you can have up to 15 attendees.
- Receptions are okay, too, if they’re in a Covid-secure venue. This could mean you’ll need to be outside.
- You can honeymoon within the UK.
- Want your hair, nails and makeup done before the ceremony? Close contact personal services should be open again!
Step 3: 17 May – 20 June
Want a late spring or early summer civil partnership or wedding in 2021? Luckily, step three means further loosening of Covid restrictions.
- You can invite up to 30 guests.
- It might be possible to travel abroad again for honeymoons.
- Venues must be Covid-secure, but it’s okay to eat and drink indoors, so you should be able to book an indoor venue.
Step 4: 21 June onwards
With any luck, there won’t be any cap on numbers from 21 June onwards, and travel restrictions should be gone. However, there’s no guarantee that social distancing measures won’t still be in place.
Preparing for your wedding in 2021
If you want to tie the knot in 2021, your biggest concern is probably what happens if the rules change and your wedding is cancelled. Will you get your money back, and can you rebook for a different date? To help ease some of your concerns, here are some wedding planning tips to bear in mind.
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Consider wedding insurance
Wedding insurance in the UK often covers things like the venue going bust or one of the key people falling so ill they can’t attend. However, what’s covered varies widely between policies.
- You probably won’t be covered if you cancel the wedding.
- There’s no guarantee that you’ll be covered if Covid restrictions mean the wedding’s cancelled or you can’t travel abroad.
- You won’t usually be covered if you’re self-isolating.
Check any policy very carefully before taking out wedding insurance.
Have a plan B
Since there’s so much in flux this year, it’s best to have a plan B in case your wedding plans are cancelled at the last minute. Here are some tips for wedding contingency planning:
- Prioritise your guest list: if necessary, you can have a small ceremony and then a larger party at a later date.
- Before booking, ask the venue what the options are if the lockdown rules change. For example, they may be able to offer a smaller space.
- If you need to make a date change, check your suppliers will still be available.
Opt for a small ceremony
If you’re getting married in 2021, consider limiting the guest list from the get-go. That way, there’s less chance of wedding disruption if lockdown rules change.
There’s also less chance you’ll lose money.
Book a UK honeymoon
Travel restrictions could crop up at short notice. So although you could book a foreign honeymoon in the summer, you might be best staying home. If you do decide to book a foreign holiday, check out your travel insurance options to see if you can get your money back for any Covid-19 rule changes.
The message for civil ceremonies and weddings in 2021 is clear: opt for a smaller ceremony and always have a plan B. Sure, it might not be the wedding you imagined, but it’s the ceremony that matters.
Think of it this way: rather than splashing out on a huge wedding, you have the opportunity to save and build a nest egg instead!
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