A government minister has suggested England’s wedding restrictions could be eased next week – promising that couples desperate to hold larger ceremonies are “very much” in the mind of Boris Johnson.
The prime minister is set to announce a delay to the 21 June lifting of remaining lockdown curbs later on Monday – but he is expected to relax the cap of 30 guests allowed at weddings, according to reports.
Health minister Edward Argar hinted that Mr Johnson wanted to allow bigger ceremonies to take place in England from the June date many couples have been working towards for months.
“There will be a lot of couples who planned, hoped, to do it, put a line through it, done it again and rescheduled again,” he told Sky News on Monday.
“Not only does that cost money, but emotionally that is incredibly difficult for couples who want to have their special day and want to get married,” the health minister added.
Mr Argar added: “Again, I’m not going to pre-empt what the prime minister will say later, but I know that weddings and people in that particular situation will be very much in his mind at the moment, it’s one of the things he has been looking at.”
The minister also told ITV’s Good Morning Britain that Mr Johnson was “acutely sensitive” to the issue, though he gave nothing away about new limits on the size of weddings.
The cap on weddings being attended by a maximum of 30 people is expected to be relaxed, according to reports in The Times and The Telegraph – but officials were said to discussing new rules for the size of ceremonies last night.
One Hertfordshire couple said the uncertainty surrounding the restrictions has already “ruined” the wedding preparation experience they are “supposed to be enjoying”.
Sam Penney and Steve Weaver are still hoping to marry on 25 June with 139 guests – having already delayed their ceremony by a year.
Ms Penney told Good Morning Britain: “We’re clinging on to some hope that there might be an element of easement for weddings.”
“So if it stays where it is with 30 [guests], for us as a couple we will have to postpone again, but we’re just clinging on to some hope,” she added.
Liverpool couple Sian Holmes and Daniel Whiteley – who have planned a 54-guest wedding for 25 June – told the BBC they would lose “thousands of pounds” if the 30-person cap isn’t lifted next week.
“It’s not just a party. It is an important life event for people to celebrate together,” said Ms Holmes.