This feature will remain as a link at the top of the blog during the Coronavirus outbreak & will be regularly updated.
As well as addressing the current situation for wedding couples, we’ll be detailing the steps we are taking to assist, reassure and inform those currently planning their big day, whilst explaining how we will be standing shoulder to shoulder with our fellow industry professionals as we continue to champion and support the outstanding and hugely talented supplier community across the North.
THE CURRENT POSITION
Government advice was updated on Thursday 13th August 2020 in respect of small marriages and civil partnerships.
‘At present, legally-valid ceremonies or formations are strongly advised to go ahead only where they can be done in a COVID-19 secure environment. It is also advised that the ceremonies are kept as short as reasonably possible and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the ceremonies that are required in order for the marriage or civil partnership to be legally binding. No more than 30 people should attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue. This is the maximum number for all attendees at the event, including the couple and guests. It also includes any third-party suppliers, such as photographers or security, but does not include staff employed by the venue or any third party catering staff.
Wedding receptions or parties should not currently be taking place and any celebration after the ceremony should follow the broader social distancing guidance of involving no more than two households in any location or, if outdoors, up to 6 people from different households.
The roadmap set out the ambition of allowing small wedding receptions. This means sit down meals for no more than 30 people and subject to Covid-19 Secure guidance. This change will not take place until at least 15 August, at the earliest.’
You can access the current guidance in full, by clicking here.
An additional document sets out guidance for wedding and civil partnership receptions and celebrations, and states:
‘This guidance supersedes previous guidance. From 15 August 2020 receptions and other celebrations for weddings and civil partnerships can take place, but only in a COVID-19 secure environment/venue. Such events should not take place in people’s private homes (or adjoining outdoor spaces like gardens), given that these will not have the same COVID-19 Secure measures in place.
Capacity at a wedding or civil partnership reception or celebration (including the couple, guests and third-party suppliers, but not venue staff or third-party catering staff) should be limited to a number that can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue, and should be no more than 30. We will re-assess guidance in relation to larger wedding receptions in line with the development of the scientific advice.’
You can access the current guidance in full, relating to receptions & celebrations, by clicking here.
Both documents can be accessed together by clicking here.
This guidance remains under review and may be updated in line with the changing situation.
Feature last updated 14/08/20
WHAT YOU CAN DO
It may be that you wish to go ahead with your wedding ceremony and reception/ celebration. We would advise contacting your celebrant and/or venue, or chosen place of worship in order to discuss how you can proceed within the current guidelines.
It is very likely that some changes to the format of your day will be needed (and you may still wish to postpone in part) so we hope the advice that you will find below with regards communication with your supplier teams will be of use.
Should you decide to postpone your wedding day, we have listed the following steps to take in moving your big day, and would reiterate once more to postpone rather than cancel wherever possible.
Communication is going to be key in each step of the process. The first port of call is your wedding insurance company to inform them that you intend to postpone your wedding and to find out exactly what your policy does – and does not – cover you for. Study your documents carefully, including the small print.
Your insurer will be able to advise you on your individual policy though as well as highlight any excess that needs to be paid.
Next, contact your venue to discuss both their position and your plans to postpone. Ask if they know what month they now hope to host weddings again, and what dates are available for you to move your celebrations to. Remember that they are dealing with the ever-changing date line too, and will be likely to have a lot of couples to deal with simultaneously.
If you are holding the ceremony and receptions at different venues i.e. a church ceremony and hotel reception, then you will need to be in contact with both establishments and to work together to find a replacement date that is doable for both, as well as you as a couple and your key guests.
If you hit a hurdle, take a minute to pause, breathe and consider an alternative solution to the issue being faced. Perhaps you have guests travelling from overseas and don’t know when travel bans around the world will be lifted. Though upsetting, if they aren’t in your inner circle of family and friends, could you potentially go ahead without them on the guest list and live stream the ceremony to them so they will still feel part of the proceedings?
The case might be that you a struggling to find a mutually agreeable date for both the ceremony and reception venue, or the registrar. If so, is there scope to split your celebrations into two – perhaps hold a small ceremony on one date for close friends and family followed up by a meal at your favourite restaurant, then host a bigger party to celebrate with your wider guest list at a later date?
Another alternative could be to have a small legal ceremony at a local registry office and then hire a celebrant to conduct a personal and bespoke service for the ‘main’ celebrations at your reception venue. This was an option our Features Editor Rachel chose for her big day last May – and you can read more about her celebrant ceremony and how this worked here.
Finally, you may have always dreamt of a summer Saturday wedding, but please do consider agreeing to a week day or different season if it’s available and a date that you feel your key guests will be able to make. Work with your venue, who will be trying their very best to help you – they want to see your wedding happen just as much as you do. Just like a home, what makes a wedding is the people; and so it’s far more important that your celebratory squad are there to party with you than the slight inconvenience of asking that they take a day’s annual leave to attend.
You will also want to quickly contact all the suppliers that you have booked for your big day so far.
If you have a couple of date options to postpone to, initially go down your list of suppliers to see who can and can’t make which. If, in a stroke of luck, all are available for one of the dates, great! If not, look at who you feel you really want to lock in for your new date and who you feel could potentially replace.
When contacting suppliers remember to be kind – we are all in this together and maintaining relationships will help things to run more smoothly. It could be that if a supplier can’t make your new date you may lose your deposit, but they may be able to recommend a fellow supplier with a similar approach and style who can still achieve what you had initially planned/hoped for. Everyone is juggling to keep as many couples as happy as possible, just as you are juggling your own dates and priorities.
Finally, if you’ve not done so already, adding a professional videographer to your list of suppliers would ensure that if any of your guests are unable to make the your postponed wedding date, they too can still experience the day through the live footage, complete with real time emotions, voices and expressions.
Once you have checked your closest guests can make the postponed date, as well as your A-team of suppliers, confirm and secure the date with your venue.
Next, be sure to update your wedding insurance provider on the new date, or to take out a new policy if needed, to provide security and peace of mind for your future plans.
Ask yourself if there is anyone else you need to update or rearrange with – accommodation you planned to stay at the night before or after the wedding? Do you need to contact the registry office to change your Notice of Marriage? Was a friend or relative going to be assisting in a certain area, such a baking the cake or playing the guitar at your drinks reception, and if so, can they still do so?
Then make sure to contact your wider guestlist to let them know of the change of date and to establish what sort of numbers you will now be looking at. It might just be a call, text or email for now, then you can arrange confirming the full details at a later point when you’ve had chance to catch your breath.
This is undoubtedly a worrying, stressful and challenging time but we’d encourage you to stay as calm as possible and to look to reliable and regularly updated sources for information regarding the spread of the virus and the official current course of action.
If you have a wedding booked in the next few months, having a clear mind will enable you focus on the above steps, and following the advice and guidance via NHS.uk and GOV.uk will help to keep both you and your loved ones best protected and informed.
Tears will be shed, which we completely understand, but postponing now will lessen the anxiety you are currently experiencing and allow you to refocus on the positives to come.
In the meantime, try to keep some perspective on the situation – this Corona chaos will come to an end and you will still have that amazing big day, albeit slightly later than you had originally planned, whilst keeping your nearest and dearest (and the wider community) safe too.
WHAT WE CAN DO
We too have been knocked sideways by the news but practising what we preach, we have been quick to react to ensure we can continue to inspire and inform you, our readers, on all things weddings, through the Brides Up North blog, our glossy biannual wedding magazine UNVEILED and, of course, our line-up of epic wedding shows across the North.
PROTECT WEDDING SHOWS
Yes, this beast of a pandemic has rocked us… but it won’t beat us! Given the current health risks caused by Coronavirus and government advice limiting public gatherings and non-essential contact, we quickly took the positive decision to POSTPONE our spring wedding shows and make tweaks to our forward calendar as appropriate, with the updated schedule of amazing events we now have instore for 2020 able to view here. We will, of course, keep these new dates under review and keep everyone informed with early decision making should these events need to be moved once again.
UP THE ANTE ONLINE
We might not be able to bring the pretty to you in person just yet, but we can certainly continue to deliver it to you digitally, using the forced downtime to really polish up our offering.
Our schedule of daily posts will continue to run Monday to Friday on Brides Up North, featuring the lushest real weddings and styled shoots to give you plenty of ideas and inspo for your own big day plans. Furthermore, there will be expert supplier posts spotlighting the North’s top suppliers as well as valuable advice features covering everything from the budget, dress shopping and honeymoon ideas through to newlyweds’ top tips. This will all be in addition to our WHITEBOOK directory, which we are working hard behind the scenes to polish and further build into a veritable bible of Northern supplier contacts. A few months from now, you’ll be readier to create your dream day than ever before (and it will be all the more special for it).
The captivating content will continue over on the digital platform for our glossy bridal magazine UNVEILED, as we recap romantic real weddings and chic, fashion-forward in-house shoots from past and present issues whilst also bringing you exciting extra inspo too.
And we’ve not even got onto our social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – where we will be continuing to share our blog content and daily musings whilst keeping you abreast of any further development of the COVID-19 outbreak that could cause further disruption in the industry. Meanwhile, without our physical shows we will be showing some serious supplier love on these channels too, showcasing those who support us across our events and online to keep you connected to this wonderful community of professionals.
ARM YOU WITH PLANNING ESSENTIALS
Issue 14 of our luxury wedding magazine UNVEILED, is hot off the press and available to buy via the newsstands at WHSmith, WHSmith Travel and independent retailers as well as being available to be ordered direct to your door – click here.
We are still taking orders for our print edition which we can still dispatch weekly.
In the meantime, you can also read the full issue in all it’s lovely online via The App Store (just search “UNVEILED Magazine”). Click here to get our amazing app… hours of scrolling guaranteed.
The latest issue – The Indie Edit – shines the spotlight on epic independent wedding creatives and venues across the North whilst delivering the very latest in bridal fashion trends from the hottest national and international designers. As our biggest edition to date, there are a massive 324 pages of truly inspiring and informative content to pore over that will have you enthusing over every element of your big day planning.
Our online WHITEBOOK directories on both Brides Up North and UNVEILED can further assist you on your supplier search, giving you an insight into the skills, services and approach of top creatives and venues to help you find that perfect match for your unique plans and personalities.
Endless attire and styling inspiration can be found via our bountiful Pinterest boards, covering everything from themes and colour schemes to details, dresses and beauty.
Finally, our Brides Up North Forum provides a secure and inclusive place for engaged couples and newlyweds to voice their thoughts, seek advice and share their experiences which really is priceless at this present time.
WHAT WE CAN ALL DO
TAKE A BREAK
While we encourage you to remain updated on developments it’s also super important to take a break from the heavy and somewhat suffocating stream of negative news activity.
Take your own pace down a notch and invest in some ‘me time’ – escape to the outdoors, lose yourself in a book or indulge in a relaxing bath. Keep talking too: your partner, friends and family will want to support and help in anyway they can at this time so don’t bottle things up or feel like you have to take everything on yourself.
SHOW SOME LOVE
Social media may have got a bad rap recently, but this strange scenario provides an opportunity to show how it can be used for good.
As mentioned, we will be showing suppliers and venues some SERIOUS love via our social channels (watch out for our #spreadlove hashtag campaign over on Instagram) and you too can do the same; whether it be sharing an example of great service you have received at these challenging times, supporting fellow engaged couples on their pursuit to the perfect day or liking, sharing and following suppliers’ channels to spread word virtually.
Meanwhile, those in the midst of planning a wedding further into the future can continue with the organisation and booking to help keep the wedding industry cogs turning. Don’t think that everything has ground to a halt… as it hasn’t. You can research suppliers, venues and boutiques, and access inspiration online and via print publications.
And let’s not forget the power of Skype or Zoom – meaning that you can still freely interact with suppliers. In other cases, samples for certain elements such as stationery and even cake, can be sent in the post, and you can get some of the nitty gritty admin out of the way – we’re talking table plans, budget spreadsheets and the wording for your order of service – leaving more time to relax and enjoy the run up to the big day when our time comes around.
To conclude on perhaps the most important point – you 100% aren’t alone in this and would be doing well to find someone who isn’t affected in some way by this unprecedented situation. As such we must unite and move forward best we can, allowing time to focus on our own woes but being sensitive to those of others too. There are things on the line for all – whether it be weddings, livelihoods or even lives – and so in the current absence of a medical vaccine let’s build up our own resilience to the virus by being collaborative, caring and kind so that we can all come out of the eye of the storm even stronger on the other side.
We are here for anyone who needs us – couples and suppliers alike – so feel free to reach out by email, social media or in the comments here (yes, people still do that!) if you need is. We have your backs.
Sending so much love & positive vibes,
Julia, Rachel and the team xxx