Church Of England Weddings Limited To Five People During Coronavirus Pandemic
Now, the Church of England has issued new guidelines for couples, explaining that there can now be no more than five people present at the church ceremony.
Those attending must only include the bride and groom, a priest and two witnesses.
Apart from the couple - who may stand close together - the others in attendance must maintain social distance as far as possible and the priest will not be required to touch rings or the couple's hands during prayer or blessing.
It isn't clear how long the new measures will last, although it is expected to continue until further notice. Live streaming has been suggested as an alternative or couples can postpone their date.
The reading of banns (which is an announcement in church - on three consecutive occasions - of a couple's intention to marry and a chance for anyone to lawfully object) is also not possible at this time.
This is because public worship has been suspended, but couples can instead apply for a licence through a different procedure, while those whose banns have already been read are able to proceed as normal.
Similar rules have been put in place for baptisms, with numbers limited to parents (or guardians or carers), the godparents and the minister.
Only parents should stand at the font, with godparents maintaining social distance.
"Couples and parents, friends and families will have been planning for months, even years for their special moment, whether a wedding or a christening. Now it can go ahead - but with only the minimum required in attendance," said The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker.
"You may need to cancel or postpone. Whatever decision is made, God's love and blessing will still surround all those who would have been there that day.
"Prayers will still be offered, and there will be a special day to look forward to in the future.
"We encourage those who would have been there to hold couples and families in their prayers, and pray that everyone will know God's love is holding them at this time."
Many couples have already been forced to postpone their weddings due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, while others - with their big day approaching this year - are unsure if they will also have to rearrange.
Those who do not have wedding insurance may lose thousands of pounds, although many venues and suppliers are doing everything they can to assist couples in making new arrangements.
We've got everything crossed for 2020 couples - here's to hoping they get the day they've saved for - whether it's this year, or at a time in the near future.
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