02:42PM, Friday 25 June 2021
The limit on the number of people at weddings and wakes has been lifted ... but we need to remember the rules on hands, face, space and fresh air. We look at the new etiquette for wedding organisers and their guests and how to commemorate the life of a loved one at funerals or wakes.
Forget wedding etiquette bible Debrett’s – for now! Friends and family can once again be at the centre of our celebrations but new rules are in place to ensure our safety. In England, you can have as many guests as you like as long as the number complies with the venue’s socially-distanced capacity and that guests remember the hands, face, space, and fresh air message is still important.
Staff and guests are asked to wear masks except when eating and drinking. It is also best to get tested twice a week before and after the event. Venues will have to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment. In other locations, such as private gardens, the organiser must decide how many people can safely attend to allow for social distancing and complete a risk assessment.
The risk assessment is easy to access and complete and should be treated as just one more thing – including sending invitations, buying favours and booking a photographer – to tick off the to-do list.
Don’t forget to do it as failure to provide a completed risk assessment could result in a £10,000 fine.
If your ceremony and reception are at different venues, risk assessments must be carried out for both. Food and drink usually flow at a wedding reception and they still can ... to guests sitting at tables, indoors and out.
Go ahead and book a band or DJ who can perform socially distanced and, though singing and dancing are not advised, the newlyweds can take to the floor for the first dance.
The best man and father of the bride should prepare those embarrassing speeches, best delivered outdoors. Alternative wedding ceremonies are permitted in line with the same rules as weddings or civil partnerships.
You can attend a stag or hen do and Hindu or Sikh Mehndi parties can go ahead with numbers for each restricted to 30 people outside and rule of six or two households inside private homes.
The COVID-19 risk assessment, along with helpful guidance and tips, is available on https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-safely-plan-a-wedding-or-civil-partnership-or-funeral-wake-or-commemoration
Wakes and funerals
An unlimited number of people can legally attend funerals and the 30-person limit on wakes has been lifted in England, meaning it is now up to the individual venue to decide how many people may attend.
The venue or organiser must conduct a risk assessment to assess the number possible guests in line with social distancing.