Lockdown: Wedding venues in Wales can reopen for ceremonies

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image copyrightKate Foulkes
image captionKate Foulkes and Nicola Edwards say they will postpone their wedding again to keep relatives safe

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies can take place at licensed venues in Wales from Monday as lockdown restrictions are slightly relaxed.

But as wedding receptions are still not allowed in Wales, some couples have delayed their big day until later in the year so they can have more guests.

Kate Foulkes and Nicola Edwards are set to push back their ceremony until it is safe for their elderly relatives.

"It's difficult," said Ms Foulkes. "But there's nothing anyone can change."

Previously, only register offices and places of worship were allowed open to perform marriages with social distancing requirements.

Now venues like hotels, castles and stately homes that are "approved premises" and have the appropriate licence can host a wedding, civil partnership ceremony or an alternative wedding ceremony such as a humanist wedding.

The number of people who can attend the ceremony depends on the size of the venue and its ability to allow people from different households to observe social distancing.

In England, up to six people will be allowed to attend a wedding ceremony from 29 March, although receptions can only take place in line with existing social contact rules.

Weddings with up to six people will also be allowed from 8 March when there are exceptional circumstances.

Wedding receptions are still not allowed to take place in Wales and the Welsh Government has not yet given a date for them to be allowed. Welsh ministers will review lockdown restrictions in Wales again on 12 March.

'Stressful and challenging'

image copyrightfamily photo
image captionEmma Stokes and Luke Poretta were forced to scale back their wedding plans because of coronavirus

Emma Stokes and her fiance Luke Poretta had planned to get married at St Tewdric's House in Chepstow in front of their family and friends.

But after Covid-19 restrictions forced them to change their plans, the pair will tie the knot in front of 10 guests at Cardiff's City Hall, before having a larger reception next year at their original venue.

Emma, who works as a doctor, said the changing of plans had been "very stressful and challenging".

"You've an idea of how the day will be, and the build up to the wedding," she said.

"It's been hard to have all that taken away and not know when it is going to happen."

The 28-year-old said the easing of restrictions was "really positive" but would not change their plans.

'We have a lot of elderly relatives'

image copyrightKate Foulkes
image captionKate Foulkes and Nicola Edwards said while postponing their wedding was hard, it was "the right thing to do"

Kate Foulkes and Nicola Edwards, from Connah's Quay in Flintshire, had planned quite a large wedding with 80 plus guests in May last year.

After the pandemic hit the pair pushed back the wedding to this Spring but are now considering delaying it for a few years until it is safe for elderly relatives.

"Everyone has been so lovely...it's difficult for everyone, we've had the attitude that we will just have to go with it, there's nothing anyone can change," Ms Foulkes said.

"It's still sad, but it's for the best...even if numbers are the same with us having elderly relatives that are coming I know they wouldn't feel comfortable in a room even of 30.

"We don't want people to have to social distance...postponing maybe a year, things may hopefully be a bit better."

Ms Edwards said: "Knowing more about this virus and the awful things that are happening because of it, we know it's in everybody's best interests."

'A wedding is not just a wedding day'

First Minister Mark Drakeford has been urged to give a clear path out of the strictest Covid restrictions so businesses, like wedding venues, could plan.

image captionBre Carrington-Sykes called for a "roadmap" out of lockdown in Wales

"A wedding is not just a wedding day, not just the ceremony," said Bre Carrington-Sykes, who owns Pentre Mawr Country House Wedding Venue in Denbighshire.

"It's the build up to it: the dress fitting, the stag do and hen do. Nowadays in particular it's about the build up to the wedding. So 1 March means nothing."

"We need a roadmap in Wales. The government does not understand that a wedding is not like going out for dinner in a restaurant, there's a huge build up to it, it's an expensive day and couples are entitled to it."

The Welsh Government acknowledged that "many couples have made the difficult decision to postpone their wedding because of the ongoing pandemic"

"These are challenging times for everyone, especially those working in the events and hospitality sector, but with everyone's help, better times are ahead of us," said a government spokesman.

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