Nail-biting wait for Yorkshire couples waiting to marry as government guidance for weddings post May 17 still not published

Couples hoping to marry after the next stage of the roadmap being lifted on May 17 are yet to receive guidance on how their big days will be conducted.

Weddings have not been unrestricted since the beginning of the first lockdown last March, and numbers allowed throughout the pandemic have never exceeded 30. Photo: Adobe

The number of guests allowed at weddings will increase to 30 from May 17, and a sit-down meal will be allowed post-ceremony for couples wanting to hold a reception

But key details around social distancing guidelines, reception entertainment, including music, and readings during ceremonies have yet to be released by government, and the confusion has led to uncertainty both for couples and for the wedding business, worth some £14.7bn.

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Weddings have not been unrestricted since the beginning of the first lockdown last March, and numbers allowed throughout the pandemic have never exceeded 30.

The restrictions have led to thousands of weddings being postponed, in some cases several times.

Sarah Ward 28, was due to marry her fiance Kyle Bielby, 30, last year, and is now on her third postponed wedding date. The couple, who live in Sherburn-in-Elmet, near Tadcaster, with their two children Eva and Josey, are due to wed on May 20, three days after restrictions ease.

But Miss Ward is faced with walking down the aisle at All Saints Church in the village without her father by her side - as he lives in Portugal and still does not know if he will be able to travel.

Miss Ward said: “It's all up in the air because everyone says to me, ‘Oh, you must be so excited’ and I am excited to get married but I've still got that doubt.

“I'm just sad for the kids as well because we've got so many little nieces and nephews. Now they can't come because even children under five have to be included in the numbers.

“Our venue has still to confirm to us how much we’re getting back. We’ve paid for over 100 guests but now we have 30, we’ve paid for a DJ that we’re not allowed now.”

Like thousands of couples, Miss Ward and Mr Bielby were unable to take out wedding insurance once lockdown had begun, and they have already lost hundreds of pounds on suit hire.

Annabel Beeforth, a wedding blogger and campaign manager at pressure group What About Weddings, said many couples who planned to marry between May 17 and June 21, where legal restrictions are due to lift, have chosen to move their day because of the lack of clarity.

Ms Beeforth, who lives near Whitby, said: “We’re reliant on government guidelines that aren't being released until the day itself or sometimes afterwards. So nobody knows what they can do which is obviously hugely damaging consumer confidence, confidence has already been hit. People aren't feeling confident enough to stick with their weddings that are happening, certainly between May 17 and June 21.”

The campaign group say weddings have been singled out unfairly by government to continue with restrictions despite indoor hospitality opening from May 17 to a capacity of 1000 people in some locations.

Ms Beeforth said: “We are just asking for the same fairness, we can't see why weddings are being treated any different. There's no scientific evidence whatsoever to prove that weddings are harmful.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We are working with the wedding sector to facilitate a return to as near as normal as quickly as possible and understand the need for certainty to plan for the summer season.