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Couples urged to focus on the marriage ceremony itself as they face reduction in wedding guests

by Chantalle Edmunds

Couples preparing to get married next week face a difficult decision when it comes to who will be in attendance on their big day.

Under changes announced by Boris Johnson on Tuesday September 22, weddings in England will be restricted to 15 guests instead of the current 30.

The new restrictions will come into force on Monday September 28 and are part of a raft of new measures designed to try and curb the growing number of coronavirus cases.

The Rev. Andy Froud is priest in charge of four parishes in the Clitheroe area of Lancashire, he told Premier the changes can help couples focus on the marriage ceremony itself. 

"Keep a focus on what is most important, which is you and the person you are going to spend the rest of your life with. We've got tecnhology, we've got live streaming now, we've got all sorts of stuff that we can do to help people to be present even if they are not present."

Rev. Froud added that he does have sympathy with the government as to the problems posed by large scale funerals and weddings that have been the source of super spreading in the past, but the different restrictions between weddings, funerals and services can be difficult to fathom. 

For example, under the new restrictions, thirty people will still be able to attend a funeral.

"In church what we are doing, everyone is masking, everybody is observing social distance, we are doing extra hand sanitising, we are cleaning the church, we are doing absolutely everything we can to make sure it's Covid-secure and the numbers they just seem a little bit arbitrary, to be frank."

The Rev. Froud told Premier that weddings have been rescheduled in his parishes since earlier this year and the change in guest numbers, possibly in force for the next six months, means more couples will push their weddings further and further into 2021. 

However, there are some advantages for couples who do choose to go ahead with a downsized wedding.

"I think it has helped focus some people's minds in a sense and yes it takes off that stress of I must have that huge wedding:" said Rev. Froud.

It is a sentiment echoed by Christian wedding planner, Theresa Beckles who told Premier more of her clients could now look to reschedule their weddings beyond April 2021 because of the change in the number of permitted guests.

She said that couples could use the reduction in numbers to their advantage, especially when it comes to accumulating huge wedding debt.

Beckles, who runs Exclusively You Events, added that she is working with her church pastor to speak to couples who aren't sure what to do.

"Maybe we should use this opportunity to encourage them, to let them know it's about their marriage not necessarily about the day."

"I would never encourage anyone to take out any loans or anything like that to get married. I say if you don't have the money just use what you have, it's about the marriage, that's what's important."

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