Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): wedding ceremonies and civil partnership registrations

Published: 14 Sep 2020
Last updated: 14 Sep 2020 - see all updates

Guidance to assist couples planning to get married or form a civil partnership in Scotland, as well as celebrants.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): wedding ceremonies and civil partnership registrations
Attendance and travel

Attendance and travel

Guidance on numbers attending

For the purposes of a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration, the number of attendees should ideally be kept to a minimum as far as possible. This will lower the risk of spreading the virus.

However, we recognise the importance of marriage and civil partnership in people’s lives and to society.

We are advising that up to 20 people, but preferably no more, should attend a marriage or civil partnership, provided this can be safely accommodated with physical distancing in the couple’s chosen venue.

This suggested maximum includes the couple, the witnesses, guests (including children) and any carers accompanying someone attending the ceremony. It also includes  any staff who are not employed by the venue, such as a photographer, musicians or others a couple has employed for the purpose of the ceremony or registration.  It does not include the celebrant and any required interpreter.

Physical distancing should be observed.

Electronic attendance

In order to assist the most vulnerable family or friends who may wish to attend or view a wedding or civil partnership, couples should discuss with the person managing their venue whether remote attendance, e.g. via livestreaming or recording of the event may be possible. If the couple employ staff for this purpose, they will count towards the suggested maximum in this guidance.

Gatherings celebrating a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration

This guidance concerns only a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration.

This is concluded with the signing of the register (the marriage or civil partnership schedule) by the couple, their celebrant and the witnesses. 

From 14 September, up to 20 people can attend a wedding or civil partnership reception taking place in hospitality premises, such as a hotel.   This number includes the couple, guests and third-party suppliers (such as a photographer), but does not include venue staff or third-party catering staff.  The venue must be able to safely accommodate those attending with physical distancing in place

There is statutory guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector and industry guidance for venues hosting wedding and civil partnership receptions. 

Venues hosting wedding and civil partnership receptions will be expected to comply with:

Travelling to/from a marriage or civil partnership registration

There is no restriction on travel within Scotland if individuals are acting in line with all other guidance which supports the Scottish Government’s  Route map through and out of the COVID-19 crisis. There is guidance on how and when to travel within Scotland.  

Face coverings are now mandatory on public transport and in certain indoor premises. See advice on how to travel safely, which includes guidance on public and private transport such as car sharing. This advice is being regularly reviewed and updated.

Quarantine rules may apply for people travelling into Scotland, including to attend a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration. Guidance on restrictions relating to international travel can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19): public health measures at borders (international travel). 

First published: 14 Sep 2020 Last updated: 14 Sep 2020 -