Weddings and civil partnerships

Update 14 June 2021

Maximum number of ceremony attendees in the Register Office’s Wrekin Suite to remain at 30.

Following the recent update in COVID-19 restrictions from Government from 21 June 2021, there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees set out in law. Instead, the number of attendees at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

For ceremonies taking place in the Wrekin Suite at Telford & Wrekin Register Office the maximum number of people allowed to attend remains at 30, to allow for safe social distancing to take place. This includes the couple, witnesses, all guests, and children of any age. It does not include anyone who is working, such as the registrars, or a photographer.

Please email should you have any further queries and staff will endeavour to respond back within 5 working days. As soon as we receive further guidance, we will post an update on our COVID-19 page.

Previous updates


On 22 February 2021, the Prime Minister announced his plans for emerging from the lockdown and presented a roadmap with a step-by-step plan to ease restrictions in England. The plans apply to all areas of England from the dates specified, but are subject to the four tests outlined in the roadmap being met at each step. 

Marriages and Civil Partnerships in England

The changes planned are:

  • Step 1: From 29 March 2021 – Legal limit of 6 attendees but no longer limited to ‘exceptional circumstances’.
  • Step 2: No earlier than 12 April 2021 - Legal limit of 15 attendees.
  • Step 3: No earlier than 17 May 2021 – Legal limit of 30 attendees.
  • Step 4: No earlier than 21 June 2021 – No legal limit on attendees (subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme – from April, the government will run pilots for events such as large weddings to help determine how measures, such as enhanced testing, might allow large groups to attend without social distancing).

The number allowed to attend includes the couple, witnesses and guests, but those working, such as registration officials and venue managers, are not included.

From Tuesday 5 November 2020 through to at least mid-February 2021, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover. These weddings are limited to 6 people and are subject to registration staff availability and COVID-19 health and safety processes being in place.

From Thursday 5 November 2020 through to Wednesday 2 December 2020 Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover (‘deathbed wedding’). These weddings are limited to 6 people and are subject to registration staff availability and COVID-19 health and safety processes being in place.

The Prime Ministers announcement of 22 September 2020 has introduced further measures to suppress the COVID-19 virus.

These mean that from 28 September 2020 in England all weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and any associated receptions will be restricted to 15 people. It has been clarified that this maximum number includes all those attending, including the couple, witnesses and guests. However anyone working, for example officiants, photographers, security, staff employed by the venue, third-party suppliers or catering staff are not included. 

In Wales there has been no change to the existing guidance which states that as the marriage or civil partnership itself must take place indoors it is the capacity of the building or room (once physical distancing measures are taken into account) which will determine the size of the invitation list and therefore the numbers who can gather.

The Government has updated the guidance and FAQs on face coverings at weddings and civil partnerships in England, to confirm these include those taking place in register offices or other approved venues, as from 8 August 2020.  

Visit the GOV.UK website for the guidance on face coverings

This guidance is designed to assist people planning to get married or form a civil partnership in England, and venues that host such ceremonies, to prepare for small ceremonies to be allowed to restart, in accordance with the associated legislation which will come into effect on 4 July 2020.

The guidance sets out how this can be done in a manner that is safe and in line with social distancing guidelines, in order to minimise the risk of exposure to infection for all individuals attending the marriage or civil partnership, including those who work at the venues.

At present, legally-valid ceremonies or formations are strongly advised to go ahead only where they can be done in a COVID-19 secure environment. It is also advised that the ceremonies are kept as short as reasonably possible and limited as far as reasonably possible to the parts of the ceremonies that are required in order for the marriage or civil partnership to be legally binding. No more than thirty people should attend a marriage or civil partnership, where this can be safely accommodated with social distancing in a COVID-19 secure venue.

Any receptions that typically follow or accompany marriages or civil partnerships are strongly advised not to take place at this time. Small celebrations should only take place if following social distancing guidelines – i.e. in groups of up to two households indoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors.

The government is working with the wedding and civil partnership celebration industry on how receptions that typically follow or accompany marriages and civil partnerships could take place safely in the future. Every licensed venue that hold civil ceremonies will be required to each have their own COVID-19 Risk Assessment permitting a safe environment.

Some venues may wish to defer commencing civil ceremonies until restrictions are further reduced, therefore all couples should check with their venue whether they intend to re-open at this time, to hold smaller ceremonies.

Further to today’s announcement that marriages and civil partnership ceremonies can re-commence as from 4 July 2020, registration staff will be permitted to have face to face appointments for the completion of legal notices of marriage and civil partnerships.

  • Priority for legal notices will be for ceremonies booked over the next two calendar months – registration staff will contact all relevant parties by Friday 26 June 2020.
  • We will then contact all couples directly who had ceremonies booked during the lockdown period or deferred their ceremony to later this year.

Staff will advise you whether there is a  requirement to re-attend your local office to complete legal notices and also confirm the numbers of guests permitted to attend under the latest Government guidance for group gatherings.

Please be patient with us as there may be a slight delay in contacting everyone due to the demands being placed on the registration team presently.

You can email if your enquiry is urgent.

Last updated: 15/06/2021 15:10