The amount of people attending a church wedding should now be limited to just five people – the couple, the priest and two witnesses – the Church of England have announced.
Due to the ongoing restrictions on social gatherings amid the Coronavirus pandemic, the church have deemed it safer to limit all ceremonies held within churches to just five attendees in an effort to stop further spread of the virus.
They add that apart from the couple, the three other attendees should observe a social distance as far as possible. The guidance makes it clear that even traditions such as the priest touching the rings or the couple’s hands as part of a prayer or blessing are not needed.
The guidance also clarifies that the reading of banns will not be possible since public worship services have been suspended, but that couples can instead apply for a licence through a different procedure and those whose banns have already been read can proceed.
They note that couples are welcome to stream their ceremony where possible but acknowledges some may wish to postpone their wedding or proceed but hold a public blessing at a later date.
The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said: ‘Couples and parents, friends and families will have been planning for months, even years for their special moment, whether a wedding or a christening.
‘Now it can go ahead – but with only the minimum required in attendance. You may need to cancel or postpone. Whatever decision is made, God’s love and blessing will still surround all those who would have been there that day.
‘Prayers will still be offered, and there will be a special day to look forward to in the future. We encourage those who would have been there to hold couples and families in their prayers, and pray that everyone will know God’s love is holding them at this time.’
If you’re worried about the impact of Coronavirus on your wedding day, don’t miss our guide