Coronavirus Wedding Update

Coronavirus Wedding Update

It would be nice, if I could offer a brief, succinct, clear update on the current situation as regards weddings. As with so many rulings currently, it’s just not as simple as that!

Legal Ceremonies

A Court very recently decided that humanists should be able to conduct legal weddings. It was felt that they had suffered discrimination and should now be free to proceed – but the decision would remain in the hands of the government.

A Law Commission review is due to be published next month. Part of that review is considering whether civil celebrants, in addition to humanists, can be allowed to conduct legal weddings.

This may seem relatively insignificant, but the proposed change should be for the better in the long run and offer couples greater choice.

Legal Weddings

 There is a certain amount of confusion regarding the new announcement that weddings at venues are now allowed, but that there can be no reception.

It must be made clear that weddings conducted by civil celebrants are not currently classed as “legal”.

However, that doesn’t prevent you from holding a celebrant wedding ceremony! This needs to be part of the reception or party after the (legal!) wedding. How practical is this, I wonder, especially as it is unclear whether this is law or guidance?

My feeling is that it is probably best to wait until after 15th August to hold a gathering. The limit of 30 will still apply, but a service can then be held in an open space. This is dependent on there being only two family bubbles present. The civil celebrant counts as one bubble, and so would a photographer, say!

Could we have a situation where a photographer records the celebrant conducting a wedding for a couple who aren’t even allowed to be there?!

What a strange world we’re living in at the moment!

Anyway, I hope I’ve cleared all that up for you now …!

Photo: iandooley on Unsplash

Wedding Booze

Wedding Booze

No two wedding ceremonies ought to be the same.  Hence, the existence of civil celebrants like me to advise and help create a unique personalised ceremony! Nor should receptions be the same – not for venue, food, entertainment or booze.

The drink side of things tends to be a bit of a worry to many people. I can help. However, there’s not much point me focussing on choice of wine/ beer etc.,  as so much will depend on budget and personal taste.

Still, my suggestions are based on experience, and that may prove helpful.

How much?

As a general guide, I’d say that you should work on a couple of glasses per person of sparkling wine/champagne as an aperitif.

Assuming there’s a sit-down reception, go for half a bottle of wine per person. Of course, mineral water and/or soft drinks should also be available.

If it’s a morning or afternoon reception, you may find that people will consume less alcohol (and that may also prove to be a cheaper time to book the venue). Teas and coffees may become an option to consider then.


If you’re booking a restaurant as the venue, you may want to ensure they have more wine etc. in reserve. Just in case.


If you’re having a cash-bar at the venue, then quantity is not going to be such a problem.


Should you be holding the reception at your home, then it may be harder to judge the quantities. It is probably better to err on the side of generosity, although you won’t want masses left over. A good idea, therefore, is to buy from Majestic, as up to 10% can be returned – provided the bottle and labels are in good condition. (Be aware that if the bottle is put into a bucket of ice, the label will suffer.)

Choice of Wine

Don’t be pretentious. You want something that will be drinkable for the majority and that goes down easily. It doesn’t necessarily have to complement the food. Light whites and juicy reds would be ideal. After a heavy red, half the guests may drop off during the speeches!

You should be able to get very decent wines that meet your needs at Marks & Spencers or Waitrose for about £9 a bottle.


Forgettable Weddings

I like a wedding as much as the next man or woman – and I should: I’m a civil celebrant. But there are certain ingredients that can contribute to making a wedding very forgettable (or, sometimes, for the wrong reasons, unforgettable!).


I have been to some stunning settings for weddings, and the atmosphere has often been brilliant.

But I write as an Englishman. It is not so fun – especially in our winter – attending a wedding at a mill in a remote spot. The Satnav can’t find it, and it has rained so much in the preceding days that the muddy access lane is only navigable for a 4 x 4. And I don’t possess one.


Quite frequently, you know very few people, and find yourself thrown together at the service or during the reception with people you would not normally choose to get to know. The conversation often dries up after each person has answered the inevitable “How do you know the bride/groom?” question.

Or maybe you end up with the person who won’t stop talking for a moment.

On the other hand, the seating arrangements may throw you up next to somebody you already know and whose company is embarrassing – an old flame, perhaps?

I’ve had complete strangers whip out their phones and show me pictures of relatives I have no desire to meet. People have expressed right-wing sentiments that Gengis Khan would have hesitated to utter, and I have had to nod politely. I’ve come across some awful bores. And, of course, talking to me might have been the last thing my dinner neighbours would have chosen.

Dancing and music

I can’t be the only person in the world who cringes when it comes to the dancing, can I?

It’s bad enough watching the mother and groom (say) dance, but when it’s the public’s turn, I confess that I really don’t want to. It’s probably hot in the hall, so that might do as an excuse, but, in truth, my sense of rhythm is not impressive, and if I do dance, I spend my time assuming everybody is sniggering about me. Probably paranoia, but that’s how I feel.

And then, if I have found somebody interesting to talk to, I can’t do it because the music is too loud.

When I think about it, I’m not sure if I should be encouraging people to have weddings!