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Couples ‘deflated’ by wedding limit as sports prepare to welcome thousands

By Max McLean, PA
·3-min read

Couples have been left “let down and deflated” after being allowed just 15 wedding guests while sports prepare to welcome back thousands of fans.

Outdoor sporting venues in tier one areas will be permitted to admit up to 4,000 spectators to an event or allow 50 per cent capacity, whichever is lower, while the caps were 2,000 and 1,000 respectively for indoor venues in tiers one and two.

Collective worship and weddings however will resume with a cap of 15 guests and receptions will be banned in Tier 3.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson appears via video link from 10 Downing Street to make a statement to the House of Commons in London, setting out plans for a new three-tier system of controls for coronavirus, which will come into place once lockdown ends in England
Boris Johnson appears from 10 Downing Street to make a statement to the House of Commons in London, setting out plans for a new three-tier system of controls for coronavirus in England (House of Commons/PA)

“Limiting to 15 just doesn’t make sense when I can go to the local pub with 100 plus (people), or now visit a sporting event with 2,000 plus,” Hannah Wilkin, 30, from Norwich, told the PA news agency.

“I think every wedding venue should be able to confirm what capacity they could accommodate based on size of venue. So if the Government advised 25% to 50%, for example, the wedding venue could dictate what would be suitable to adhere to social distancing.”

Ms Wilkin said she and her fiance are due to get married in June 2021 in Norfolk, but uncertainty was putting their plans on hold.

“(We are) unable to currently formalise any wedding plans or even get excited out of concern it may not go ahead,” she said. “This then stops us from making life decisions such as starting a family, as we both want to be married first.”

A student nurse from Portsmouth, who did not wish to be named, said she and her fiance “do not understand” why hundreds of sports fans can congregate while they can only have 15 guests in their church.

“We are getting married in a huge church which holds hundreds of people,” the 24-year-old said. “We do not understand how 1,000 people are allowed inside for sport events etcetera… and how cinemas and theatres can be open.

“I believe the official capacity (of the church) is approximately 350 people. If we could even have one fifth of this amount it would make such a difference.

“We’ve both worked so hard throughout this pandemic and just feel so let down and deflated.”

A lack of certainty was cited by one industry worker as a key factor behind people postponing the planning of their weddings, leaving people like her “to rot”.

Cate Baines, a self-employed celebrant in Lancashire
Cate Baines, a self-employed celebrant from Lancashire (Cate Baines/PA)

“Due to the ongoing uncertainty, including the fact that we still don’t know who will be in which tier or for how long, some bookings for next year are now cancelling,” Cate Baines, a self-employed celebrant from Lancashire, told PA.

“People cannot change huge wedding plans for the third or fourth time, and new bookings/enquiries are non-existent as who wants a wedding with 15 people and no wedding reception?

“The Government needs to open up the wedding industry and have a plan for when they will do that. Like the wedding itself, set a date. We are just being left to rot at the moment.”