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Coronavirus: What are the rules on live music at weddings and events?

If you've been trying to plan your wedding or any other event, you're probably tired of coronavirus being around. We are too! But thankfully, we're starting to see some great progress in returning closer to normal.

We hope we can give some clarity and answer a few questions you might still have following recent announcements of progress the UK has made.


Are weddings allowed?

Good news! If you're one of 73,600 couples affected by the ban on weddings and civil partnerships, then it is of much relief to know that they are now allowed once again. However, there are still some restrictions in place.

Dancing at wedding party to music
Photo by Tristan Adams Photography

The current restrictions limit you to having up to 30 people at your sit-down reception from 15th August 2020 in England. There's more information on how coronavirus will affect your wedding.

Small outdoor wedding ceremonies are allowed in Northern Ireland. The number of people allowed to attend is based on a social distancing risk assessment made by the venue, as it is in Wales, where indoor receptions are still not allowed.

In Scotland, indoor wedding ceremonies of up to 20 people can be held, and receptions are subject to the rules about gatherings.

How will coronavirus affect my wedding?

The government has published guidelines on how to have a ''Covid-secure'' wedding in England.

  • Venues can only reopen if they can do so safely

  • Ceremonies should be kept as short as possible

  • No food or drink should be consumed unless it is essential for the ceremony

  • Group singing and playing of instruments should be avoided

  • A maximum of 30 people should attend, and only where there is space to socially distance. This includes all guests, the officiant and any staff not employed by the venue, like a photographer

  • Social distancing of at least one metre between different households should be practised at all times

  • The venue should keep a record of visitors for 21 days, in case they need to be traced

Obviously, being a band, it's not ideal to share the fourth point in that list that you should avoid having us or any other band play at your wedding. However, guidance to those working in the performing arts sector suggests that it is safe to play indoors with some restriction.

The advice says that from 15th August performances are allowed indoors and outdoors, but with a limited socially-distanced audience when indoors. So, the size of your venue and the number of guests are going to be the main factors in determining whether you should have a band at your wedding.

Dancing at wedding party to music
Photo by Tristan Adams Photography

If you're one of many who have already booked your wedding in 2021 or have had your wedding postponed to next year, then this is a really positive step when we still have around a quarter left of 2020.

One thing to keep in mind is that it's still technically allowed to have live music at your wedding this year, all be it for a smaller and socially-distanced audience. If that doesn't appeal to you or your venue can't facilitate the social distancing required for the performance to go ahead, then 2021 will more likely be the year for you where we'll see a lot less restrictions than what's in place at the moment.

What about business or corporate events?

Weddings are getting quite a lot of coverage due to the nature of how many different suppliers and venues are affected. But not a lot is in the spotlight for other events in a corporate or business context.

What the government have announced is that pilots will take place at conference venues ahead of the expected resumption of business events from 1st October at the earliest.

Other than this, the reason for little coverage is that there is little information from the government about it.

Despite this though, it's a good idea to keep 1st October in your diary so you have an idea of when to expect potential changes and maybe consider your plans for upcoming events. We'll do our best to keep you up to date with any of those changes.

What if we go into local lockdown?

The new guidance will not apply in areas where local lockdown measures are in place, the government said. If there is any form of lockdown, local or national, then all the information you've read so far will need to be revised. We will do our best to keep you updated with the latest announcements.

Where we are based in the South West, specifically in Devon, things are looking promising though with a continuous decline in cases. We're not saying to ignore the risk but it's great news to see locally we are reducing the presence of coronavirus quickly and only means normality is getting closer and closer.

I'm a supplier/venue for weddings and events. Is there any information out there for how I can start working?

If you're working in performing arts, including arts organisations, venue operators and participants, there's more government guidance available.

This includes the five-stage roadmap for recovery and what each stage of that recovery process will allow when it is deemed safe to progress to it. As of 15th August 2020, we are at stage four where performances are allowed indoors and outdoors, but with a limited socially-distanced audience when indoors.

Bride and Groom enter at their wedding
Photo by Tristan Adams Photography

Things are going back to normal at long last. It still isn't quite where we were but this is a really positive step. We believe that going forward from here, you should feel more confident in either starting or continuing to plan your special day or event the way you want it to be.

Thank you to Tristan Adams for sharing his wedding photography work with us to use in this post. To see more of his work or make any enquiries, you can reach him on Facebook, Instagram, or his website.

If you're interested in what The Waves Collective can bring to your wedding or event, get in touch.

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