Northern Ireland – Covid-19 Wedding Day Questions / Answered!

It has been a challenging Year!!
Covid-19 has affected everything we do especially within the Wedding Sector.
With the random nature of rules being set I have listed some important guide lines which the Northern Irish Excutive have recently Published.
I hope this may clarify things for you.

This was Recently Published by Northern Ireland Executive – Please click here for a direct link to the Post.

– Couples may have their marriage ceremony inside a place of worship. The number attending must be discussed and agreed with the place of worship, which will determine attendance based on the size of the venue and the ability to socially distance;

– Couples may marry or enter into a civil partnership in a Local Government venue. The number attending must be discussed and agreed and the venue will determine attendance based on size and the ability to socially distance;

– Other venues such as hotels and places which are licenced for marriage/civil partnership ceremonies may also host such ceremonies. As with other venues, the number attending must be discussed and agreed with the venue, which will determine attendance based on size and the ability to socially distance;

– Some venues may be in a position to provide aspects of the marriage or civil partnership inside and outside within the confines of the venue. Again the numbers attending must be discussed and agreed with the venue; and

– Noting that the number of people who may attend a marriage indoors is to be agreed with the venue, the limit of 30 people attending an outdoor marriage or civil partnership has been removed for these events. But it is important that the number of people attending is discussed and agreed with the venue provider in advance.

It will be for each individual venue to decide the date on which it will be possible to safely resume marriages or civil partnerships. Venues must risk assess and determine numbers attending based on their ability to ensure social distancing, and to follow any other Covid- 19 related guidance relevant to their industry, sector or venue.

Wedding Day Rules for Northern Ireland

THEMETOPICQUESTIONANSWER
of the room or rooms if this is appropriate for the size of the gathering.
VenueVenueHow many guests can the venue hold? Is it dependent on social distancing or a set number of guests?The number of guests should be dictated by the size of the room or rooms where the event is due to be staged based on social distancing guidance.Regulations state that table sizes must be no more than ten persons (not including children aged 12 or under). The top table has no limit placed on persons who may be seated.
VenueVenueDo members of staff at the venue count towards the total number of guests allowed (either at indoor or outdoor ceremonies)?There are no upper limits to the amount of people who can attend a wedding. The total number present will be decided by the venue via a risk assessment and social distancing guidelines. Couples are asked to work with their venue and comply with the venue’s advice.
CeremonyMeet & GreetCan guests be met and escorted to their seats?Guests can be greeted for a short amount of time at a social distance.
The venue will have determined the seats available for the ceremony.
CeremonyOrder of ServiceCan they be given out upon arrival vs placed on a seat?Orders of service can be collected at a point of arrival or placed on a seat.
The venue will consider the cleaning regime for all hard surfaces which might be touched during the service.
CeremonyOrder of ServiceCan order of services be allocated between guests (i.e. one between two) or does each guest require their own copy?Guests who do not share a household should have their own order of service. For guests who share households, the sharing of an order of service is permitted.
CeremonyProcessionCan people from different households walk down the aisle together?Seating should be laid out in line with social distancing measures.
Only members of the same household should walk together and sit together in a venue.Timed or staggered arrival should be planned to relieve congestion and queuing.
CeremonyMinisterHow close can the minister be? Can the minister interact with the bride and groom and/or exchange items?There is an increased risk to faith leaders who are required to maintain close physical contact with individuals during religious services and rituals. These individuals will inevitably be placed at greater risk of contracting the virus. Where possible physical contact should be kept to a minimum and social distancing guidance followed.
THEMETOPICQUESTIONANSWER
CeremonyKneelingAre kneeling posts cleaned pre wedding?Covid-19 can survive up to 72 hours on hard surfaces. Deep cleaning of rooms or shared areas is not required if they will not be used again within 72 hours, in which case wiping down surfaces with household cleaning products will be sufficient. The virus survives longest on hard surfaces. Contact with shared surfaces can therefore increase the risk of infection. Surfaces such as tables, seats, handrails and toilets should be cleaned regularly with household detergent. The virus may survive for less long on soft furnishings, such as seat cushions, but their use should be avoided where possible as they are harder to clean.
CeremonyCommunionWhat guidance is required for mass communion during the ceremony? Can the communion offerings be passed around? Does a one way system need to be in place for communion?The communion sacrament should not be shared from a common cup or chalice. There are no special measures or precautions recommended for the cleaning or disposal of individual cups beyond standard cleaning and disposal practices.
CeremonyReadingsCan multiple people give readings from the same pulpit? Does this need to be sanitized between readings?It would be best to give short readings from a standing position at the front of the venue to avoid hard surface contact. Readings should be kept short, and voice projection should be avoided.The virus survives longest on hard surfaces and can therefore increase the risk of infection. Surfaces such as tables, seats, handrails and toilets should be cleaned regularly with household detergent.
CeremonySingingCan a choir sing during either the ceremony or reception?Singing and chanted prayer are an important part of many religious services.
You are advised to bear in mind that singing may result in increased dispersal of the virus through aerosols and droplets. This is especially the case at loud volumes.
CeremonySingingAre guests allowed to sing hymns during the ceremony?Singing and chanted prayer are an important part of many religious services.
You are advised to bear in mind that singing may result in increased dispersal of the virus through aerosols and droplets. This is especially the case at loud volumes.
THEMETOPICQUESTIONANSWER
registereither provided by the venue or brought with them. If provided by the venue, the pens and hard surface area for the signing of the register will be part of the cleaning regime.
Afternoon Teas & CoffeesGatheringCan people mingle together?Social distancing guidelines remain in place. Groups of different households should exercise caution and refrain from close physical contact.Everyone must follow the venue’s guidance and requirements at all times.
Afternoon Teas & CoffeesProviding FoodDoes tea, coffee, shortbread etc. have to be provided on a table service basis?All service of food and drink should be in line with Guidance for Hotels & Accommodation on Working Safely provided at the following link – https://covid19.tourismni.com/support- centre/business-support-advice/epractical- guidance-for-working-safely-during-covid- 19/guidance-for-hotels/All service, food and drink, should be table service with staff assigned to specific tables. Drinks receptions can only be staged outdoors with social distancing measures in place.Buffet service including canapés should not take place.
Afternoon Teas & CoffeesGuest Book / ItemCan a guest book be signed?Yes, provided there are sufficient pens available or brought to the venue by attendees, and the hard surface area must be part of the cleaning regime.
Afternoon Teas & CoffeesEntertainmentCan there be afternoon entertainment? E.g. harpist, singer, magician, garden gamesMusic whether live or recorded is prohibited as per the regulations. Other activities, such as garden games etc. are permitted as long as social distancing can be followed. All equipment should be regularly cleaned throughout the day and before and after each wedding.
Afternoon Teas & CoffeesChildrenWould social distancing apply to children?Severe disease in children is rare. Children are also likely to be somewhat less susceptible to the virus and somewhat less likely to transmit it when infected, particularly in the case of children under 11 however, social distancing guidelines should continue to be followed at all times.
ReceptionTable PlanHow close can people sit at a table and do they have to be from the same household?The regulations state that no more than ten persons (not including children aged 12 or under) are to be seated at any one table, not including the table at which the parties to the wedding or civil partnership are seated at
THEMETOPICQUESTIONANSWER
which there is no upper limit on persons who may be seated.
Those organising the wedding should make every effort to limit the number of households seated at a table.Guests should be advised on the seating plan prior to arrival to reduce queuing and there should be multiple table plans for the guests to observe at a social distance.
ReceptionBarIs the bar open for service or just for staff use?All elements of the ceremony and reception should be on a table/seated basis. Tables should be 2m apart or 1m if mitigation measures such as screens are in place. The requirement for table service is stated in the regulations and is therefore required by law.
ReceptionFoodCan a buffet be provided vs a sit down meal? Does this also apply to evening buffets?All service of food and drink should be in line with Guidance for Hotels & Accommodation on Working Safely provided at the following link – https://covid19.tourismni.com/support- centre/business-support-advice/epractical- guidance-for-working-safely-during-covid- 19/guidance-for-hotels/All service, food and drink, should be table service with staff assigned to specific tables. Drinks receptions can only be staged outdoors with social distancing measures in place.
ReceptionSpeechesAre speeches prohibited – passing of microphone?Speeches can be included – the wedding party may wish to have these at the start of the event or at a time they find appropriate. Microphones should be sanitised if shared. Voice projection should be avoided.
Evening PartyDancing GuestsCan guests dance?Dancing is prohibited as per the regulations. Provisions have been made for the first dance by the wedding party, so this is permitted.
Evening PartySweet Cart / Chocolate fountainCan a sweet cart / chocolate fountain be allowed if gloves are provided for individual use?Items should be portioned in a hygienic area into single portions and brought to the table. The requirement for table service is stated in the regulations and is therefore required by law.
Evening PartyWedding CakeCan wedding cake be provided to guests on trays for consumption?A cake may be placed in the room. This can be cut by the bride and groom. The knife for cutting should be sanitised. If the cake is to be served, it should be portioned in a hygienic area into single portions and brought to the table. The remainder of the cake should be stored in a hygienic manner. The requirement for table service is stated in the regulations and is therefore required by law.
Evening PartyBar ServiceIs the bar open for guest’s vs table service?All elements of the ceremony and reception should be on a table/seated basis. This is stated in the regulations and is therefore required by law.
Venue LogisticsVenueDoes the venue of the ceremony or the reception need a full deep clean before or after each wedding, even if a time period of 72 hours has elapsed?Covid-19 can survive up to 72 hours on hard surfaces. Rooms used for worship should therefore be cleaned regularly following every service. Deep cleaning of rooms or shared areas is not required if they will not be used again within 72 hours, in which case wiping down surfaces with household cleaning products will be sufficient. The virus survives longest on hard surfaces. Contact with shared surfaces can therefore increase the risk of infection. Surfaces such as tables, seats, handrails and toilets should be cleaned regularly with household detergent. The virus may survive for less long on soft furnishings, such as seat cushions, but their use should be avoided where possible as they are harder to clean.
Venue LogisticsRented ItemsDo rented items need a full deep clean before or after each wedding, even if a time period of 72 hours has elapsed?Covid-19 can survive up to 72 hours on hard surfaces. The virus survives longest on hard surfaces. Contact with shared surfaces can therefore increase the risk of infection. Surfaces such as tables, seats, handrails and toilets should be cleaned regularly with household detergent. The virus may survive for less long on soft furnishings, such as seat cushions, but their use should be
THEMETOPICQUESTIONANSWER
avoided where possible as they are harder to clean.
ReceptionVenue typeCan a reception be held in a barn or a marquee?Yes. A “Private dwelling” is a dwelling occupied by a person as their only or main residence and includes any…outhouse or other appurtenance of the dwelling. Appurtenance is a building that assists in the full enjoyment of the main house (e.g. a garage). That would not include a barn or marquee. It is, therefore, appropriate for a barn or a marquee to be regarded as a venue.All requirements stipulated above for receptions must be adhered to.
ReceptionT oiletsIf a reception is hosted in a barn or a marquee on private land, can guests access toilet facilities in a private dwelling?If toilet facilities for the event are located in a private dwelling, the regulations state that “no person may participate in a gathering indoors in a private dwelling in the protected area which consists of persons from more than one household.”In practice this means that only one person or only people who live in the same household may access the facilities in the house at any time.

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Best Wishes,
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