THE legal limit on wedding guest numbers will be scrapped this month and it will be up to venues to stick to social distancing rules.
There will no longer be a maximum number cap on guests from June 21 – but how will this affect your right to a refund if you’re still forced to cancel your special day?
What are the new rules?
The Prime Minister confirmed last night that from June 21 there will be no legal cap on guests at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions.
Instead, the guest list will be determined by how many people the venue can accommodate with social distancing measures in place.
This will be based on a Covid-19 risk assessment of the space and measures put in place to limit the spread of the virus.
If you have booked a place of worship or a hospitality venue – such as a hotel – for your ceremony or reception, your venue manager will need to tell you the maximum number of attendees that you can invite.
For events that are being held in other venues such as in your garden or on private land, organisers will have to “make the space as safe as possible”, the government said.
Your marquee must have at least 50% of its walled area open in order to be classed as outdoors.
If you plan on having more than 30 people in your chosen venue you must complete a Covid-19 risk assessment to determine your guest list limit.
Check the government website to find out how to complete a risk assessment.
Weddings with more than 30 people should not happen indoors at private homes – unless they are urgent marriages where one half of the couple is terminally ill.
Some restrictions on ceremonies and receptions will continue, including the need for table service, wearing face masks and social distancing.
There is also a ban on singing and dancing.
The current Covid rules on weddings will continue until midnight on June 20.
This restricts the total number of people allowed at a wedding ceremony or reception to a maximum of 30.
Can you claim on insurance if your wedding is cancelled or postponed?
The government has given the go-ahead for larger weddings to take place – but that is dependent on your venue’s risk assessment.
Some venues may be unable to accommodate weddings with social distancing measures in place, or you may be forced cut your guest list.
Unfortunately this means you will have to either cancel your special day or postpone it until all Covid restrictions are lifted.
This could mean waiting at least four weeks – or longer depending on whether lockdown lifting is further delayed and on availability at your chosen space.
It is unlikely that many insurance policies will cover Covid-19 cancellations at this stage, unless you bought it before March last year.
Some couples had infectious disease cover included in their policy, but this has now been largely excluded by insurers.
You should double check your policy to see whether it includes infectious disease cover, as this may make it easier to get a refund.
However, as the government has put the burden on individual venues – rather than legally enforcing guest numbers – it could be tricky to prove that the wedding has been cancelled for an insured reason.
Aaron Le Marquer, a partner at London-based law firm Fenchurch Law, said: “There may also be disputes over whose insurer should bear the cost – the venue’s, or the couple’s.”
What should you do if you can't claim through insurance?
You may be able to get a refund on your wedding if you contact your venue – although this depends on individual circumstances.
According to the Competition and Markets Authority, you could be entitled to a refund – either partial or in full – if"the number of guests who can safely and lawfully attend the wedding is radically different to that agreed in the contract".
If your wedding is cancelled by the venue, you should be entitled to a full or partial refund.
But if you decide to cancel or postpone your wedding due to social distancing measures, you should speak to your venue as soon as possible.
You may be able to simply move the date of the wedding or secure a partial refund – however this is dependent on individual agreements.
If you decide to go ahead with the wedding with a slimmed down guest list, you may find you are able to pay less than your original agreed price.
This is because you will be paying for fewer guest's food and drink on the day.
However, fixed costs such as venue hire and entertainment are likely to remain the same.
Here's a list of all the businesses that will be unable to open from June 21 after the Prime Minister delayed lifting lockdown rules.
Boris Johnson also said work from home guidance will continue until July 19.
But the furlough scheme will not be extended despite the four-week delay to ending restrictions.
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