Wedding planner's plea for 30-guest limit to stay

Lisa Neat and Nigel Wilson celebrate becoming one of the first couples in Norwich to get married at the Assembly House.

A Norwich couple celebrating their wedding on May 18, 2021, which was organised by Goldsmith's Weddings and Events. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A wedding planner is calling for the 30-guest limit to remain until all coronavirus restrictions are dropped.

Charlene Goldsmith, who set up Goldsmith's Weddings and Events, based in Bowthorpe, Norwich, in 2018, was initially relieved after Boris Johnson's announcement that weddings could accommodate more people.

But she was worried the message would cause stress for venue managers because extra guests meant staff would have pressure to make sure people were sticking to coronavirus lockdown restrictions, in place until July 19.

Mrs Goldsmith said: "It is very confusing. More people are allowed to attend weddings but there are still the same regulations. It is like nothing has changed. We are still in the Covid phase. It doesn't make sense."

She added wedding venues had to assess if they could hold more people, while making sure coronavirus restrictions were followed, and said it would become difficult to control if more guests were invited.

"Staff are stretched at the moment," Mrs Goldsmith warned.

Wedding planner Charlene Goldsmith, owner of Goldsmith's Weddings and Events.

Wedding planner Charlene Goldsmith, owner of Goldsmith's Weddings and Events. - Credit: Charlene Goldsmith

The wedding planner added staff working on wedding events were often young and might feel unable to ask guests to stick to social distancing restrictions.

From June 21, the couple can share their first dance in front of all their sitting guests, drinking at the bar is still prohibited, as is dancing indoors from wedding guests, facemasks are still to be used when indoors, except when eating and drinking, and table service will remain in place, with no more than six guests on a table.

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Outdoor weddings can have dancing but the government has advised against it, along with singing.

Mrs Goldsmith believed that although weddings without everyone being able to dance were more like a gathering than a wedding, she said couples were still enthusiastic about going ahead with nuptials and said they were increasingly popular.

She said: "People have realised it is about having the most important people in your life with you, not about the amount of people you invite. It is not about having a flash wedding."

The 38-year-old business owner added the pandemic had prevented her from taking on new business because of weddings being postponed.