LOCKDOWN AS OF 5th NOVEMBER 2020

The restrictions announced for the lockdown which starts on 5th November (and will go on until at least 2nd December) have stopped all weddings except those in exceptional circumstances. You can see the full list of rules outlined here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november

5. Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:

  • Funerals
  • To broadcast acts of worship
  • Individual prayer
  • Formal childcare or where part of a school
  • Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • Other exempted activities such as some support groups

Coronavirus / Covid-19 2020 and into 2021

As of October 2020, it looks like we are settling for a few months of local lockdowns, potentially a national lockdown at some point. The government have restricted weddings to no more than 15 guests (plus those working at the wedding) and it doesn’t look like that will be reviewed again for a good few months. If you are planning a wedding between now and Easter 2021, I would assume a smaller wedding is realistic with only the off-chance of that number increasing. But … every time I make a prediction, things change and we have to have a rethink!

Lots will depend on so many different factors, nationally and locally. Too many things to make a solid prediction over what 2021 will look like. I am ever the optimist and feel that we will be back on a bit more of an even keel by Easter and things will look more promising – beyond that, I couldn’t hope to say.

My commitment to couples is the same – I will help with everything that I can; if plans change, you need to postpone or split your wedding into a smaller ceremony and big party later on in the year, I will do whatever I can to accommodate your plans.

Coronavirus / Covid-19

We’re heading into fairly unprecedented times with the current situation surrounding the Covid-19/Coronavirus and all the measures we need to take to make sure we keep everyone as healthy as possible.

For those of you getting married in 2020, this will be unsettling as government advice and suggestions will be changing at a fairly rapid pace. It’s difficult to know what to expect, how long this situation will last and how to plan around it. I’ll be using this page to post as much advice and help as I can around your photography for the day and any relevant advice I think will be useful around planning weddings in general.

YOUR WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY

At the moment, having had a lot of discussions with other suppliers and venues, it’s business as usual. I’m not sure how long this will last and what changes will be put in place so it’s prudent to have as much of a back-up plan as possible for when things will inevitably change. 

My commitment to photographing your wedding is the same as before – I will be there to photograph your wedding. If I can’t, I will find a list of photographers who can. It’s always been my priority to make sure your wedding is photographed and if I can’t do it, for me to find someone for you so that you don’t have to worry about that.

BOOKING FEES / REFUNDS

If your booking falls within the time that the government declares that your wedding can’t go ahead, then your contract with me is considered a “frustrated contract” (ie: although I am available and ready to photograph your wedding, I can’t). With this in mind, you can get a refund on your booking fee less any admin costs incurred on my behalf.

If you postpone your wedding and I am unable to photograph your new date, again this falls under “frustrated contract” and you can get a refund of any fees paid minus any admin costs incurred on my behalf.

If you decide to cancel your wedding or postpone it and I can’t photograph the new date but your original wedding date is not within the governments restrictions on weddings, then the existing contract terms and conditions apply.

You can see a fuller explanation at the CMA (Competition and Marketing Authority) and a more specific wedding industry related explanation of things at the Association of Wedding Businesses.

PRACTICALITIES OF PLANNING THE DAY

As wedding photographers, we have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that there is cover for any photographer affected by the virus. If I am ill or even at the slightest risk of passing on the virus, then you will have a photographer who isn’t and there will be no concern about any of your guests catching it. 

With the wedding itself, I would wholeheartedly advise keeping in contact with your venue and/or significant wedding suppliers. Communication is going to be essential.

Hopefully it wont come to this, but if you have to postpone your wedding, I would be happy to transfer your booking over to your new date as long as I have that date available. 

I appreciate this is an anxious time for all of us. But I hope that it won’t disrupt your plans & that we can all stay happy and healthy.

As standard, I’ll be in touch about 4 weeks before your wedding and we can talk through plans, timings and logistics as normal. We can also chat over the situation as it stands then – I suspect things will be changing fairly frequently this year.

INFORMATION FROM SUFFOLK REGISTRARS

(as of 4th July 2020)

Ceremonies: July to September 2020

The guidance that we have received from the government sets out a number of conditions and restrictions which will apply to ceremonies in the initial post-lockdown period.

By requesting a ceremony booking with us during this period you’re agreeing to the following arrangements:

  • the maximum number of people permitted to be in attendance will be determined by the COVID secure risk assessment for the room in which the ceremony is to be held. The maximum number at any ceremony is 30 – this includes the registrars, the couple, photographer and any other attendants.Note: For most locations the actual number permitted will be considerably lower than 30.
    Check how many people can attend our own ceremony rooms.
  • some smaller ceremony rooms may not be available owing to distancing requirements. It is also possible that some chairs may not in use and ceremony parties will be required to stand.
  • toilet and changing facilities will not be available.
  • pushchairs and prams cannot be accommodated, babies and toddlers must be held throughout.
  • the government expectation is that the content of the ceremony will be limited to the minimum legal wording so music and readings will not be permitted.
  • rings can be exchanged but cannot be presented by a best man or ring bearer.
  • photography options are likely to be limited, and please note that the photographer counts towards the room occupancy numbers.
  • all guests are expected to comply with distancing requirements, and not attend if they are showing any symptoms. Particular care needs to be shown for guests that are in the categories that the government defines as vulnerable. We will require all people attending to use the hand sanitisers which will be available to use when entering ceremony rooms.
  • some of our registrars may be wearing PPE.
  • in our ceremony rooms chairs will be spaced to enable distancing compliance. They must not be moved to enable household groups to sit closer together.
  • Marriage/Civil partnership certificates will be posted out to you afterwards and not presented at the ceremony.

INFORMATION FROM THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND

(As of 4th July 2020)

From 4 July, the Government has allowed for weddings in places of worship, providing certain public health criteria are met including an advised maximum number of 30 people in attendance.

Please see our guidance on weddings for more information.

Please also see the government’s guidance for safely conducting wedding ceremonies.

VAT REDUCTION FOR HOSPITALITY

The government announced that the VAT for hospitality is to be temporarily reduced from 20% to 5%. You can see the govt website here.

When will the VAT cut take force?

The tax cut will take force from 15th July 2020 and will remain in place until 12th January 2021.

What will the VAT cut apply to?

Booze is excluded from the VAT cut, but it will apply to food and non-alcoholic drinks from restaurants, pubs, bars, cafés and other similar premises across the UK. It will also apply to accommodation.

How this affects your wedding as a whole is a bit of a grey area at the moment. In theory, if your suppliers charge VAT, it should be possible to have that reduced to 5%. But there are a lot of variables and no definite advice on how this works.

Also, we don’t have a definite time frame for how long this reduction works for or if it is meant to be applied to events like weddings. Even if you pay your supplier now, their accounting may be set up in such a way that the payment isn’t registered until your actual wedding date which may very well be outside of this timeframe.

As ever, it’s well worth having a chat to your suppliers to see what their view is on the situation.

I don’t charge VAT so there is no change to what I charge in relation to this announcement.