Edit – 22/09/20: This information has been superceded by restrictions introduced on September 22nd. We will post a new blog with updated information as soon as we have clarification on the details.
Following the government announcement on June 23, we are excited to be able to provide ceremonies for existing bookings, where safe to do so, from Saturday 4 July. We are still waiting for detailed guidance, and are aware that the position may still change depending on how the virus infection rate changes. Please follow us on Facebook for regular updates and progress reports. Here is the latest position regarding Somerset ceremonies:
- Ceremonies resumed on Saturday 4 July at our own offices and at approved premises. The ability to conduct all ceremonies will depend on social distancing measures and a new risk assessment being in place at each venue to ensure the safety of staff and guests.
- There is a maximum limit of 30 people for the ceremony itself. This includes the couple, witnesses, 2 registrars, photographer and any other staff not employed by the venue. This maximum limit also depends on the size and layout of the venue and may be a lot less. Please contact your venue to agree the maximum number of ceremony guests. See below for our own venue numbers.
- Reception parties and gatherings are limited to 2 households or social bubbles inside, or 6 individuals outside – the same restrictions that apply to pubs, restaurants or other public gatherings. Please bear in mind that the wedding couple will likely count for 1 household.
- We are still not taking new bookings at this time. There is still a lot of work to be done with moving affected summer ceremonies, and dealing with the backlog of urgent Notice appointments. We hope to reopen the diary soon. We’ll update this page and our Facebook page when that’s due to happen. In the meantime, you can register your interest in a new ceremony booking or postponing ceremonies from October onwards (beyond the scope of our current postponement project) using this form: New Ceremony Booking Form
- The team are currently calling all couples with ceremonies booked in August and September (couples with earlier ceremonies should now have been contacted), to discuss postponement if social distancing measures would mean not having the day that you’d planned. We’d like to say a huge thank you to all the couples who are waiting patiently for their turn to rebook. We still have plenty of 2021 capacity, so please don’t worry about not being able to get a date.
- We do advise that any couple waiting to postpone or book a new ceremony should consider being flexible with their ceremony time, if they have a specific date in mind. We are doing everything we can to increase capacity. While the popular 1pm or 2pm slots normally get booked up first, especially on a Saturday, we can often provide a morning or late afternoon ceremony on the same day.
- We are gradually opening up our offices for urgent notice and birth appointments. Please be aware that we still have limited capacity due to social distancing requirements. We will initially be calling couples directly to book in the most urgent appointments for July and early August ceremonies, and aim to have our online booking service up and running again shortly. We would appreciate couples with ceremonies more than 2 months away not booking notice appointments just yet, to allow those with the greatest need to access the available slots.
- Somerset & North Somerset couples urgently needing to give notice for a religious ceremony or ceremony booked outside the county within the next 2 months should email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM the team via the Facebook page for a booking.
- Please continue to email Pre Ceremony Check forms back to us in plenty of time for your ceremony – downloadable from the More Information section. We will keep this on file even if you decide to postpone.
- We’ve extended our payment terms for all ceremonies for the time being. The team will be in touch to arrange payment before your ceremony.
Ceremony Room Numbers
We’ve now assessed our own ceremony rooms and created new seating plans in line with the government’s social distancing guidance. These are the new numbers for our Register Office venues. All other venues will be working out their own safe capacity – please liaise with them about guest numbers. We’re so sorry that these are reduced from our normal numbers, and thank you in advance for your understanding. We will need to be very strict about these maximum limits on the day, so please don’t invite more people than listed below. These numbers include children, regardless of age. Photographers will need to be included in the guest numbers. Where there is a * indicated, this means there is a photographer standing space only available at rear of room, unless they are seated as a guest.
|Room||Seated Guests||Standing Guests||Witnesses||Couple||Registrars||Total In Room|
|Tudor Hall, Taunton||16||+||7||+||2||+||2||+||2||=||29|
|Vivary Room, Taunton||10||+||1*||+||2||+||2||+||2||=||17|
|Hutton Suite, Weston||8||+||0||+||2||+||2||+||2||=||14|
|Old Council Chamber, Weston||12||+||8||+||2||+||2||+||2||=||26|
|Mandeville Room, Abbey Manor, Yeovil||6||+||9*||+||2||+||2||+||2||=||21|
|Frome Town Hall, Frome||0||+||24||+||2||+||2||+||2||=||30|
If you would prefer to cancel your ceremony for now and receive a refund, please email us using the subject header “Ceremony Cancellation Request – COVID19”. For the time being, these will be the only ceremony-related queries that we will be responding to as our inbox is not being fully monitored. Thank you so much for your patience and understanding.
For general advice regarding coronavirus, visit the NHS website