Publication - Advice and guidance

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

Published: 26 Oct 2020
Last updated: 21 Apr 2021 - see all updates

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

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

Attendance and travel

Attendance and travel

Guidance on numbers attending

The numbers set out below can attend only if the venue can hold that many people with strict physical distancing measures in place. In some venues fewer people will be able to attend. 

Below are the maximum number of people who should attend a marriage ceremony in each level of the strategic framework in venues such as a hotel, a place of worship or a registration office, or when it is taking place outside at a private dwelling. The position is different where the ceremony will take place inside at a private dwelling

Level 0

No more than 200 people should attend.

Level 1

No more than 100 people should attend.

Level 2

No more than 50 people should attend.

Level 3

Until 25 April, no more than 20 people should attend.

From 26 April, no more than 50 people should attend.

Level 4

Until 25 April, by law no more than 5 people, or 6 people (if an interpreter is required), can attend.

From 26 April, no more than 20 people should attend.

At all protection levels, the limits include:

  • the couple
  • the witnesses
  • guests, including children of any age
  • any carers accompanying someone attending the ceremony
  • any staff not employed by the venue, such as a photographer, musicians or others a couple has employed for the purpose of the ceremony.

The celebrant and any required interpreter do not count towards these limits.

If your ceremony is taking place inside a private dwelling

A marriage ceremony should only take place inside a private dwelling if it is not possible for it to take place outside or at a public venue. This could be because:

  • a party to the marriage is seriously ill
  • disability prevents a party to the marriage from attending a ceremony or registration outside or at a public venue.

Where a marriage ceremony takes place inside a private dwelling, no more than 6 people should attend. This means the couple, two witnesses, the celebrant, and where required, an interpreter. This guidance has more information on the definition of a private dwelling, including when it is possible to use private hire exclusive use premises such as a castle or historic house for a ceremony.

Interpreters

The celebrant or local authority registrar will decide whether an interpreter is needed. An interpreter may be required if, for example, the couple do not speak English or need support for a hearing disability.

Remote attendance

In order to minimise the spread of COVID-19 couples should discuss with the person managing their venue whether remote attendance is possible. This could mean livestreaming or recording of the event. If the couple employ staff for this purpose, they will count towards the limits on numbers set out in this guidance: see numbers attending.

Travel

We have published guidance on travel within Scotland between different protection levels and on entering Scotland from another part of the UK or other part of the Common Travel Area. 

Our guidance on international travel explains the testing and quarantine rules applying to people returning or arriving in Scotland from abroad.  There are currently no exceptions specific to those who wish to travel to participate in or attend a marriage ceremony or reception.

 


First published: 26 Oct 2020 Last updated: 21 Apr 2021 -