As weddings typically bring lots of families and friends into close contact, they are particularly vulnerable to the spread of Coronavirus. Countries around the world have placed restrictions on the number of guests permitted at social gatherings which are gradually being lifted as countries are opening up.
Brides and grooms planning destination weddings are confused about the new regulations related to the number of guests permitted at social gatherings, which is making it harder and more stressful to plan their weddings.
With the help of industry colleagues worldwide, we have produced this dynamic document that will be updated regularly to help you out. Most wedding venues and wedding planners in different regions and countries are aware of the changing regulations and can also help you find out the latest protocols and guidelines as far as weddings are concerned.
Main image: Shipping Company of Lake Lucerne
United Arab Emirates
On 12 August 2021, The Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management in Dubai has increased the maximum number of people attending a wedding in Dubai to 300 at hotels and wedding venues provided it's not more than 60% of the venues' capacity and subject to compliance with the rule of one person per four square metres of venue space.
- Increasing the capacity to 60% and not to exceed 300 people, with no mandatory vaccination.
- The party host must pledge to bear full responsibility in adhering to all precautionary measures.
- It is forbidden to enter those who have any health symptoms and encourage children, the elderly and those with chronic diseases not to attend the ceremony in order to preserve public health.
Accordingly, the department warns of the need to fully adhere to the precautionary measures and procedures issued in advance, and Dubai Tourism will continuously assess the new situation with the health authorities, and we appreciate your constant cooperation and value your efforts as key partners to serve the public interest and protect the safety and health of the community.
In Ajman, as of 1 June 2021 the number of guests attending weddings and social events increases to 100.
In Sharjah, on 7 February 2021 the government reduced the number of guests attending social events, such as weddings, to 20 people, and the duration of the event must not exceed 4 hours. In Abu Dhabi, people attending marriage ceremonies and family gatherings should not exceed 10 people.
In Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) the number of attendees at social events and marriage ceremonies were reduced to 10 people.
Image: Maddy Christina
Other Arab Countries
In most Arab countries weddings are opening up gradually with the control of the pandemic situation.
In Jordan, as of 1 July 2021, weddings will be permitted with a capacity of 100 persons provided this number does not exceed 50% of the venue's capacity. As of 1 September, the number will increase to 200.
Lebanon has eased its restrictions on social gatherings in outdoor spaces and increased the limit to 200 persons, then decreased them.
In Saudi Arabia the government suspended all events and weddings on February 2 2021 for a period of 30 days, while in Qatar the number of people allowed to attend weddings increased in December 2020 to 80 for indoor weddings and 120 for outdoors, but then on 7 February 2021 restrictions were imposed by the Supreme Committee for Crisis Management stipulating that no indoor or outdoor weddings are allowed to take place, with the exception of weddings held at home. These weddings will only allow a maximum of 10 people indoors and 20 people outdoors. However, on 24 March 2021, the Qatari government took restrictions stipulating that weddings would not be held indoors and outdoors until further notice.
From 1 August, venues in Egypt started accepting weddings in a dinner set-up with the maximum of 50 persons without any kind of entertainment, just in-house light music. On 15 September, further restrictions have been lifted where outdoor weddings for 50% of the venue capacity have become legal.
In a report carried out by Consumer Tech and published recently in Forbers, Switzerland was selected as the safest country in the world for COVID-19 based on 130 quantitative and qualitative parameters.
As of 8 July following is the situation:
- Gatherings of more than 30 people are permitted in public spaces.
- The recommended minimum distance to be observed between individuals has been reduced from 2 metres to 1.5 metres.
- Events (including weddings) may be held if attended by no more than 1,000 people. If attended by more than 300 people, the venue must be partitioned into sectors each holding a maximum of 300 people in each section.
- Large scale events attended by more than 1000 people are likely to remain prohibited until at least 31 August 2020.
Image: Wedding ceremony in Brissago. Photo credit: David and Kathrin
Having successfully dealt with the Covid-19 epidemic, Cyprus has started welcoming travelers from various countries.
The maximum number of persons allowed to attend social gatherings at home and/or in public places (physical presence in the same premises/installation regardless of indoor and outdoor areas), is increased from 150 to 250 persons for outdoor spaces and from 75 to 100 persons in indoor spaces. This includes events such as weddings, christenings, concerts, festivals, private get-togethers and any other kind of assembly, introduced as one of the coronavirus protocols. However, mass gatherings are not allowed to occur simultaneously indoors and outdoors at the same venue.
According to Valentina Lombardi, wedding planner from Italian Wedding Company, rules for weddings are the following:
- Civil and religious ceremonies can be done outdoor or indoor wearing masks and guaranteeing distance.
- Indoor or outdoor churches and town halls can host only half of the standard capacity.
- Reception venues can host parties as long as they can accommodate guests with distances at and between the tables.
- The buffet can serve only mono-portion food.
- All wedding staff need to wear masks.
At this moment, Valentina’s tips for couples who wish to get married in Italy is to hire a wedding planner. "These professionals are informed about all rules and measurements to take while having a wedding in Italy so they can guide you to have the best day with no hassle. Each country has different measurements, so I suggest listening to professional advice. Also each region in Italy has different rules so I suggest hiring a local planner of the area you are deciding for", she states.
Weddings of 15 persons will be allowed from 12 April 2021. On 17 May the number of allowed people to attend a wedding will increase to 30. Then on 21 June 2021, all restrictions on weddings will be lifted.
Weddings with up to 30 guests resumed from 4 July 2020 in England. They had been banned under almost all circumstances since the lockdown began on 23 March 2020. Social distancing must be observed, and big gatherings are not allowed. From 28 September however, the number of guests who can attend weddings was reduced to 15 people. 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.
During all activities linked to the marriage ceremony all parties should adhere to social distancing guidelines. This means people should be 2 metres apart or more than 1 metre apart as well as taking extra steps to stay safe (such as wearing face coverings) to reduce the risk of transmission.
The marriage ceremony or civil partnership formation:
- Should only take place in COVID-19 secure environments.
- It is advised that the ceremonies and services should be concluded in the shortest reasonable time, and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the marriage or civil partnership that are required in order to be legally binding under the law of England and Wales.
- Religious communities should adapt traditional religious aspects, especially where celebrations would otherwise have taken place over a number of hours, or even days, to ensure the safety of those present and minimal spread of infection.
- No food or drink should be consumed as a part of the marriage ceremony.
- Where the exchanging of rings is required or desired hands should be washed before and after. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible.
- Where an infant is involved in proceedings a parent/guardian or member of the infant’s household should hold the infant.
Image: Wedding at Allerton Castle, England
Brigitte Kater, wedding planner at Perfect Celebrations explains that every 2 weeks the Belgian government is debating about the current situation. "Unfortunately, the event industry is the last one to re-open. No mass events are allowed in Belgium".
Only seated weddings for a maximum of 10 people are allowed according to Brigitte Kater says.
Image: Perfect Celebrations
Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal and an archipelago in the mid-Atlantic, is now Covid-19 free claims Maria C. Vieira of Ambiance Weddings Azores.
"Events are allowed, but up to 20 people with social distancing and masks. Dancing is allowed with social distancing. No summer concerts and festivals are allowed, but weddings yes", says Maria C. Vieira. "However if the wedding is attended only by members of the same family, the venue where it is being held can hold up to 75% of its capacity", explains Maria.
"My advice is if they wish to get married in the Azores is to go ahead with tranquility. You can have a smaller wedding and enjoy your wedding day. Flights are allowed from 1st July on”, says Maria. Maria C. Vieira also says that many local couples who have postponed their weddings for next year, have decided to reschedule again for this year. "Not many, but some weddings are being held between July and December 2020. They should be ok if they follow the rules", she adds.
It is expected that the 20 person limit on social gatherings in Portugal may change in September.
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Joyce Mnguni, wedding planner at Dream Weddings Riviera Maya says that "the government allows 50 people per gathering, of course, with practicing social distancing. Each and every venue and vendor has been preparing themselves with the new safety protocols. So, we can do our best", she affirms.
Badel Gómez Nechar, wedding planner at Soirée Eventos, says that at the church, only 30 people are allowed and they must wear masks and have sanitizers at the entrance, as well as, check the temperature.
Joyce Mnguni says that couples need to watch closely the ever-changing information about weddings."At the same time, they should keep their guests informed on what will happen when they travel to their destination. Personally, we are seeing fall weddings starting to push back again to 2021. Mainly because most of their guests are not yet ready to travel. At the same time, hotels are having restricted activities with the soft opening. So, couples are forced to cancel due to parents being older”.
Unlike Europe, Mexico won't be able to celebrate destination weddings so soon. "For July, I don’t think it is possible, but for late 2020 I think it will be great. But I really believe that will be just for local weddings not destinations. And I am pretty sure that those weddings will be so emotional and full of joy and happiness. However, I strongly recommend Mexico for 2021 - couples can book for the next year and get better services with amazing costs. In 2020, it will be difficult to throw parties, but 2021 is going to be the best year for destination weddings", says Badel.
In Denmark, measures are more flexible than most countries. "Private parties are allowed up to 50 people, no requirement to wear masks, no quarantine. We perform weddings as usual - mostly outdoors, and we keep distance between us", says Lena Hansen, wedding planner at Nordic Adventure Weddings.
Image: Elsinore Wedding
On 8 June Ireland's Phase 2 began, meaning all high street shops could reopen, while enforcing social distancing. Phase 3 started on 29 June, and phase 4 is due to begin on 20 July.
The limits on social gatherings are groups of up to 50 indoors and 200 outdoors while observing a 2 meter distance.
Image: Wedding at Bellingham Castle, Ireland
Costa Del Sol
- 75% of the capacity indoors (maximum 300 persons). Tables up to 8 pax.
- 100% outdoor capacity (maximum 500 pax). Tables for up to 10 pax.
- Bar consumption and musical performances are allowed.
- Dancing allowed outdoors using mask.
- Closing time 2 am.
- Belief Wedding Creators is an international platform for wedding planners and designers, with members in more than 30 countries. “Learn, share and build long-lasting connections without the hustle to be a lonely entrepreneur. That’s the main goal of Belief and we are always open to new wedding creators that want to join the community and be part of our social programs and business opportunities”, states Giovana Duailibe, CEO of Belief Wedding Creators.
Guendalina Rampazzi, Project Manager, Switzerland Tourism
Christos Demetriou, Regional Office Director, GCC & Middle East Countries, Deputy Ministry of Tourism, Cyprus
Various other sources