A government masterplan to clear the backlog of weddings this summer will see brides and grooms urged to hold their hen and stag parties well in advance of their marriage to minimize covid disruption
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is still considering whether to expand the current limit on 30 guests if he holds back from the full reopening on June 21.
Ministers anticipate significantly increased numbers of weddings over the summer regardless of the decision on whether to keep some curbs in place.
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Some 320,000 couples have had to postpone their wedding because of Covid-19 and some 200,000 could take place this summer according to one internal Whitehall estimate.
Updated advice on holding weddings safely while Covid-19 is still circulating will be issued on Monday.
Couples will be urged to reduce the chances of Covid-19 spoiling their big day with practical steps like ensuring a sufficient gap between stag and hen dos and the wedding itself.
And if the bride or groom do catch Covid-19 in the days before their wedding, ministers are seeking to ensure there is a bank of emergency registrars to cope with hasty rearrangements.
Practically this would mean registrars being able to work across local authority boundaries to help meet spikes in wedding demand.
Caterers, florists and DJs struggling to get started after the long shutdowns are also being encouraged to apply for short-term loans as part of efforts to restart the wedding industry.
The package of advice and additional support has been agreed in meetings between ministers and the industry group The Wedding Taskforce.
In an open letter to the Prime Minister sent last week, the group urged him to provide urgent reassurance to couples who had booked their nuptials after June 21 “in good faith.”
In a statement a Cabinet Office spokesman said: “We know how disruptive the pandemic has been to couples and the wider wedding industry, but we have to ensure that we are putting the safety of the British public first and that is why it is right to continue to look at the latest data.
“We have already issued straightforward, clear and accessible guidance for those holding weddings and receptions under current guidelines and continue to work closely with the sector.”