Our little white wedding bubble hasn't completely popped yet after today's clarification on this week's government announcement on weddings.
Here at County Wedding Magazines HQ we can confirm that the new guidelines of 15 guests, reduced from the previous 30, doesn't include suppliers that are at the ceremony for work purposes. This small silver lining around the grey cloud means that couples still choosing to go ahead and wed this winter can have 15 friends and family!
From gov.uk it reads, "This maximum number includes all those at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, and guests. Anyone working is not included as part of the limit on attendees."
These new perfectly formed intimate weddings are now the 'new normal' for the foreseeable future, and the team at CWM have been truly inspired at how couples and suppliers continue to adapt to the ever changing situation. We've spoke to local companies and couples about their experiences....
Hayley from @theweddingtree1 says, "We were originally hired for to supply canopy trees to be used as extra venue decor at a couple's original venue Three Choirs Weddings & Events Hampshire on the 28th March, 2020.
"However, obviously right before this, the situation started to spread in this country and then the rules came in for weddings to be scaled right back. Our couple decided to postpone and hold off for further announcements. It was so hard seeing them have to alter their plans!
"When the rule was lifted to 30, it was all go again with a new venue Hotel du Vin, Winchester and a new date of 11th September, 2020. The theme had altered slightly from rustic to a more elegant feel but they were certain they wanted our canopy trees which I am so grateful for.
"The hotel were so accommodating, we were given a time slot to arrive on the day to ensure each supplier could work safely, the PPE was to wear a mask at all times - no easy task up when busy setting up a room. The staff were so helpful at the venue and even assisted me setting up the 10ft trees.
"Even though it was a smaller wedding than they had originally planned, it came together beautifully and was such a perfect day for them. I am so grateful they stuck with us to supply their trees and they looked stunning in the hotel's ceremony room. Who says small weddings can't have the WOW factor!"
Check out www.theweddingtree.org.uk
Chrissy from @budandflower_ says, "It's been a bit of a roller-coaster since March. A lot of date changes and a lot of brides left in anticipation. However, we have had a great time planning photo shoots and open days.
"It's been great to work on to do lists and tick off the jobs we never get around to doing. We have remained positive and looking forward to 2021.
"A great positive is that we are able to connect with our brides on an even more personal level than normal."
Check out www.budandflower.co.uk
Josephine from @JosephineBirkettMua says, "I've done two weddings during Covid-19. They seem to be more special as the couples are desperate to say 'I do'. I think a lot of couples are happy to just do it with a few guests.
"Lots of my brides wait until they are married to start a family, so they want to get married so they can start their families – they don't want to wait. I am finding it hard to understand why weddings are 15 people, and funerals are still 30, I think a lot of the guidance is contradictory!
"I'm finding my clients' bridal party is smaller but the service is still the same. The PPE situation is strange, but I am just doing what I have to to keep safe, and keep my clients safe."
Check out www.josephinebirkett.com
Real life bride @jo_veganrunner's Covid wedding experience: "We got married on Saturday 19th September and had 25 guests including ourselves to the ceremony and reception meal," shares Jo. "We arranged our wedding in eight weeks knowing the restrictions and it was quite honestly everything I could've wanted!
"My now husband proposed on 18th July 2020 and as we're both in our mid 40s we didn't really want to wait too long to get married and start our new lives together."Our initial thoughts were Spring 2021, but soon realised that venues and registrars were going to be extremely busy due to this year's postponements. We were also concerned about a second wave of Covid-19 and didn't want to have to postpone ourselves.
"This is my first marriage and I wanted a luxurious wedding that I'd always dreamed of but we did not want an evening reception, it's just not our thing! The Covid rules had just changed to allow guests of 30 and we thought this would suit us perfectly.
"The week after our engagement we contacted a few venues and we struck lucky with Clevedon Hall, in North Somerset who were really on the ball with the new guidelines and already had a "Covid wedding" package in place.
"From there on in we spent a week arranging the registrars as well as the photographer, flowers, make up, hair etc. All of which had the date free and were excited to get back to some kind of "normal". We were fortunate to get some of the best in the area! The week after our engagement I visited Somerset Bridal in Minehead, the team were fantastic in finding me the perfect dress which arrived less than three weeks before the wedding.
"Compiling the guest list was not difficult; some people we're even unable to come as they were shielding or vulnerable. We just wanted our close relations and a few friends to attend. We would have loved a few more but due to the registrars, photographer and wedding planner being part of the 30 we were restricted to 26 ceremony guests and although we could increase this to 30 for the wedding breakfast, we decided to keep things simple with the same guests.
"The lead up the the wedding was nerve-wracking. Covid cases were increasing, especially in our county, and we were worried about anyone from our guest list getting ill or having to self isolate - but we made it!
"Our wedding was luxurious, intimate and beautiful. Everything we wanted. We forgot about Covid for the day even though masks were worn during the ceremony and bubble groups of six were required for the Covid secure reception, but... it was perfect!"
Bridal designer Sabina Motasem had a lockdown wedding and loved it, she says, "Our wedding like everyone else's had been postponed about three times... and in the end I just wanted to be Stu's wife!
"We had a lockdown wedding with 15 of our nearest and dearest, it was small but it was intimate, but was the best day! We also had a zoom station where 50 of our friends and family could join too, albeit in a virtual way.
"Obviously we would prefer to celebrate with everyone in person but my heart literally skipped a beat and felt so much joy being about to see everyone's happy faces sharing love. We had the zoom on a gallery view and also recorded it on two different laptops as speaker and gallery view so we can see everyone in more detail and have a little memento of the day too. Everyone dressed up as if they were going to a wedding. There were loads of friends who hadn't seen each other for ages who all enjoyed chatting with each other too. Everyone felt really happy to be able to join in and see us getting married, there were still tears!
"It feels good to actually feel like a wife now, it was the most amazing lovely day and I can't wait to celebrate with everyone when it's 100% safe to do so – it's something we are really really looking forward to!
"The most important thing is to celebrate your marriage, the big party will come later and making sure everyone is safe and feels comfortable is a number one priority."
Check out www.motasem.co.uk
Lewis from @PhotoJayes says: "Firstly, I'm not sure if people really know how much running around a wedding photographer actually does and when you are doing this with a mask on, it gets quite hard to breathe!
"My style has always been to become a member of the wedding party, get along with all the family and friends and become white noise to the guests. However, now I find myself being noticed a lot more, my ninja photographer techniques have been put even more to the test with no singing allowed in the ceremonies. Having to lump around all my off-camera flashes and gear has definitely been a check on reality. I normally have a second photographer or camera assistant to help me capture different angles and help me move everything effortlessly and quickly - my wide-angle and telephoto zoom lens has never been used so much! I'm used to using my prime lenses for sharper up-close images, now I find myself having to compose everything wider than usual to get everything in, or use the zoom lens because I'm far away!"
Check out www.jayesphotography.co.uk