Wedding guest limit lifted in Wales, as further easing delayed due to rise in Covid cases

The cap on the number of people who can attend a wedding, civil partnership, reception or wake has been lifted in Wales, the First Minister has announced.

The number of guests permitted will now be determined by size of the venue, following a risk assessment.

Previously, the number of people who could attend an indoor wedding reception at a regulated premises, such as a restaurant or hotel, was capped at 30.

Outdoor wedding receptions recently came under new rules for outdoor events that say the number of people present should not exceed 4,000 standing or 10,000 seated.

Wakes were previously permitted in regulated premises for up to 50 people outdoors and 30 indoors.

Adam and Rhian say there is still much uncertainty over how their wedding will look in a fortnight's time.

Rhian and Adam, from Radyr, are due to get married in two weeks' time after a long wait.

They had originally booked for August 2020, and this is their fourth date after a series of postponements due to coronavirus.

The new rules around guest numbers means Rhian and Adam can now invite as many people as their venue can safely accommodate - but the couple says the reality is more complicated.

They recently reduced their guest list - and while those guests could now be re-invited under the new rules, there's no guarantee they will make it.

Adam told ITV News: "We had to make a tough call a week ago to cut off 30-40 guests.

"Now those people have probably cancelled their accommodation, which is getting fully booked around this time of year."

Rhian said: "Even now, we still don't know so many other aspects of our day - and the venue doesn't know these things either."

"It's safe to say you lose the excitement of planning," Adam added.

It is not yet known whether there will be any other changes to the rules around weddings in Wales from Monday.

However, the Welsh Government has previously said people in Wales should expect to live with hand sanitising, face coverings and social distancing in certain settings "for some time to come".

Wedding venues are now having to work out how many more guests they can safely accommodate.

Current guidance on the Welsh Government website says guests must be socially distanced at all times, including in group photographs, unless organised in extended households or "bubbles".

It also says face coverings must be worn by all guests when indoors and that dancing should not form part of the event, except for the couple's first dance.

Music should be played at a level where people don't have to raise their voices to be heard, it adds, while singing along or chanting are not permitted.

Rachel Dancey, of De Courcey's Manor wedding venue, said staff are now having to work out how many people they can safely accommodate indoors after the announcement on guest numbers.

De Courcey's has halved the capacity of some rooms to keep people safe, while singing and dancing won't be allowed in line with the current rules.

"With the rule of six, and also two-metre social distancing, it will significantly reduce the capacity of the venue," Rachel said.

"For many couples, it's too little too late."

The current guidance still states that Covid regulations should be adhered to at events such as weddings. Credit: PA Images

The First Minister has announced some other minor changes to coronavirus rules in Wales.

Mark Drakeford had hoped to further ease the rules, particularly around meeting indoors, but has delayed this by four weeks due to a rise in Covid cases.

Today Mr Drakeford warned that the UK is seeing a third wave of the pandemic, adding: "Once again, we are facing a serious public health situation."

Latest figures show there are nearly 490 cases of the Delta - or Indian - variant in Wales and more than four out of five new Covid-19 cases are attributed to it.

Mr Drakeford said: "The variant is now in widespread circulation. More than two-thirds of new cases are from community contacts.

"In the space of just a few weeks, the Delta variant has entered Wales and quickly spread throughout the country. There is sustained and accelerating transmission, not just in north and south-east Wales but in all parts of Wales.

"Once again, we are facing a serious public health situation.

"Our scientific advisers believe the UK is now in the pre-peak stage of a third wave of the pandemic.

"Wales may be two to three weeks behind what is happening in England and in Scotland, where tens of thousands of cases have been confirmed, there is widespread transmission and reports of increased hospital admissions.

"This four-week pause will allow us to focus on vaccinating even more people, to help us to manage the impact of this new wave of infections."

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