Publication - Advice and guidance

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

Published: 26 Oct 2020
Last updated: 6 Jan 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

Guidance on numbers attending

Where the size of the couple‚Äôs venue means that it cannot accommodate the permitted numbers set out below with strict physical distancing measures, the number of people able to attend may be less. 

The number of people attending a marriage ceremony should ideally be kept to a minimum as far as possible. This will lower the risk of spreading the virus. Below are the maximum number of people who should attend a marriage ceremony in each level of the strategic framework.  The protection levels can be applied either locally or nationally.

Level 0

No more than 50 people should attend.

Level 1, 2 or 3

No more than 20 people should attend.

The limits at levels 0, 1, 2 and 3 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.

Level 4

No more than 5 people (or 6 if an interpreter is required).  This limit is laid down in regulations.

This limit is based on those attending being:

  • the couple
  • the celebrant
  • the two witnesses required under the marriage legislation
  • any required interpreter (eg if the couple do not speak English or require support for a hearing disability).

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 because, for example:

  • a party to the marriage or civil partnership is seriously ill
  • disability prevents such a party 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. There is further information on the definition of a private dwelling.

Remote attendance

In order to assist the most vulnerable, 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

Travel within Scotland

Travel restrictions are in place.

A person living in a local authority area subject to level 4 restrictions must not leave the place where that person is living. Attendance at the solemnisation of a marriage or the registration of a civil partnership is, however, listed in regulations as a reasonable exception to this requirement, so long as the individual is:

  • one of the couple getting married or entering the civil partnership
  • the approved celebrant or the authorised registrar
  • one of the witnesses required under the marriage or civil partnership legislation
  • any required interpreter

People living in level 4 areas will only therefore be able to attend a marriage ceremony or civil partnership where they fall into one of these categories. This applies regardless of the level of restrictions applicable in the area that the marriage or civil partnership is to take place in.

Other people living in areas which are not level 4 must not enter or remain in an area which is in level 4. Attendance at a solemnisation of a marriage or registration of a civil partnership is, however, listed as a reasonable exception to this requirement. Any such marriage ceremony or civil partnership which such a person does attend in a level 4 area will, however, have to comply with the requirements of the regulations for level 4 areas.

Otherwise people must not travel out of their local authority area to attend a marriage ceremony or wedding reception elsewhere in Scotland.

Travel to or from the rest of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and Jersey

Travel restrictions are in place.

People must not travel between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Jersey to attend a marriage ceremony, civil partnership registration or wedding reception unless they are:

  • one of the couple getting married or entering the civil partnership
  • the religious or belief celebrant who is to solemnise the marriage or register the civil partnership
  • one of the witnesses required under the marriage or civil partnership legislation
  • any required interpreter

Other people should not travel between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or Jersey to attend a marriage ceremony, civil partnership registration or wedding reception.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


First published: 26 Oct 2020 Last updated: 6 Jan 2021 -