COVID-19 & Postponement of Weddings

COVID-19 & Postponement of Weddings

Posted by Patrick Mulcare, on July 24, 2020. Tags: ,

Planning a wedding can be stressful at the best of times. Throwing a pandemic into the mix only adds fuel to the fire for anxious couples.

From 1 August 2020, restrictions on weddings will be eased to allow wedding receptions of up to 30 people. Larger events are currently expected to take place from October. This is part of the Government’s aim of getting closer to normal life.

Whilst many couples will welcome this development, others are still left wondering whether they should postpone their dream wedding or consider dramatically reducing the guest-list. This places a particular strain on couples whose cultures traditionally feature large-scale weddings.

Social distancing measures will remain in place for weddings from 1 August 2020 meaning ceremonies will need to be completed as quickly as possible, washing hands before and after the exchange of rings, and with no mixing between households.

Receptions, from 1 August 2020, can take place for a sit-down meal of up to 30 people (albeit the current guidance is that no food or drink should be consumed as part of the event).

Despite the easing of lockdown, many couples find themselves in a position where they are unable to tie the knot in a way which is meaningful to them, potentially, leading to the difficult decision to postpone.  

Your legal rights after postponing your wedding

Postponing a wedding can have a knock-on impact on other aspects of a couple’s legal relationship. Many venues book up a year or so in advance. It is therefore important for couples to consider their circumstances in the meantime.

Much to the surprise of many, “Common Law” marriage does not exist in England, and cohabiting partners have little legal protection should they separate. There are calls to modernise the legal approach to cohabitation but as yet, no such reform is on the horizon.

If couples are faced with a long deferment of their nuptials, they may want to consider reviewing or creating their Will and/or entering into a Cohabitation Agreement.

Those who have already entered into Pre-Nuptial Agreements may need to amend the document to take into account any changes, including financial changes, that have been brought about by COVID-19. Others may feel the postponement has given them time to reflect and now wish to enter into a Pre-Nuptial Agreement.

Next Steps

For more information on the Government’s guidance for weddings, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships/covid-19-guidance-for-small-marriages-and-civil-partnerships.

Spratt Endicott’s Family Law Team are able to advise on Pre-Nuptial Agreements and Cohabitation Agreements. To book an appointment or discuss any other issues raised in this article, please contact us on 01295 204000 or email enquiries@se-law.co.uk.

Sigourney Lee is a Trainee Solicitor in Spratt Endicott’s Family Law Team based in their Banbury office.