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My wedding is just a joke: Couples angry over lack of clarity on May 17 rules

·3-min read

Grooms and brides-to-be have complained they still face uncertainty about their impending weddings due to a lack of clarity in the Government’s new guidelines, with one saying the ceremony she has been planning since she was 14 has been reduced to “a joke”.

Up to 30 people will be able to join together to celebrate weddings and receptions from May 17, part of step three of the road map for relaxing restrictions in England.

However, a growing movement on social media is asking the Government for greater clarity and guidance on what is and isn’t allowed – including whether the bride can be walked down the aisle by her father.

With just four days to go until the rule changes, the Government has also not issued promised further details on the rules for receptions.

“We are due to get married next Friday (May 21) and haven’t even been able to pay our venue in full as they are awaiting guidelines to confirm what to charge us for,” Lyndsey Hedgecock, 28, told the PA news agency.

“I can’t speak for other brides, but for myself, the wedding I’ve been planning since I was 14 is now just a joke.

“I can’t wait for this all to be over so I can carry on with my life. I don’t care about a wedding anymore, we just want to be married.”

Ms Hedgecock said that social distancing and table service were among the things she was still uncertain of for her wedding in Northampton.

Patrick O’Kelly, 30, from London, is marrying his fiancee Jodie, 30, on June 5.

A man and woman pose for a selfie. The man (left) is wearing a beanie hat and looking at his fiance (right) who is holding her hand up to the camera
Patrick O’Kelly, 30, from London, is marrying his fiancee Jodie in June (Patrick O’Kelly)

He said that while he and his partner fully supported lockdown, they “still find it frustrating that after the announcement we still don’t know exactly what we can have on the day – meaning businesses are potentially losing out on our custom”.

“The wedding industry workers have had their livelihoods stripped away without being given the guidance and support in parity with other industries.

“We still aren’t 100 per cent certain we can have a band perform to seated guests.

“The timings for the day are still uncertain, and my fiancee doesn’t know if her father can walk her down the aisle.”

He said they were also still looking for specific guidance on whether they could have a dance floor, a standing drinks reception and a band.

A Government spokesperson said: “We are working with the wedding sector to facilitate a return to as near as normal as quickly as possible and understand the need for certainty to plan for the summer season.

“As set out in the road map, the Government will increase limits for weddings, civil partnerships and receptions to 30 people at Step 3.”

The Government said that further advice on receptions, indoor performances and contact with guests will be issued before May 17.

It also confirmed that apart from the couple’s first dance, dance floors must stay closed unless used for additional seating to comply with social distancing, while close contact with guests remains a personal decision.

Ministers are hoping that step four of the road map – due no sooner than June 21 – will see the removal of all limits on life events such as weddings.

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