In light of the Coronavirus outbreak and restrictions on social gatherings, The Church of England have updated their guidance, stating that only five people should be in attendance at wedding ceremonies…
As efforts to promote social distancing increase, The Church of England have announced that wedding ceremonies need to be significantly scaled back to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus. It has been recommended that guest numbers should be limited to the legal minimum of five people, including the priest, the bride and groom and two witnesses.
The new guidance also states that the priest and witnesses should keep a social distance , and that ‘traditions such as the priest touching the rings or the couple’s hands as part of a prayer or blessing are not required.’
Similarly, the reading of the banns, which would normally take place during public worship, would not be possible as these services have been suspended. The C of E website states that “couples can instead apply for a licence through a different procedure and those whose banns have already been read can proceed.”
Where possible, the church advise live streaming so that family and friends can still be part of the ceremony. Alternatively, postponing the wedding is a possibility, and the church will work with couples to arrange this if possible.
The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, commented: “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.”
Find more information here: churchofengland.org