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Marriage and civil partnership during Covid

The rules for marriage and civil partnership during Covid depend on:

  • the protection level where the venue is
  • the type of venue
  • how many people keeping physically distant the venue can hold

Maximum numbers at each protection level

The numbers allowed are only if the venue can meet physical distancing rules. Some venues may need to have fewer people to meet these rules.

Ceremony

Ceremony - protection levels and maximum numbers
Type of venue Level 3   Level 2  Level 1  Level 0
Regulated 50 50 100 200
Private hire 50  50 100 200
Private gardens 50 50 100 200

Reception

Reception - protection level and maximum numbers
Type of venue Level 3  Level 2  Level 1 Level 0 
Regulated 50 50 100 200
Private hire (see exceptions) 50 50 100 200
Private homes and gardens (including self-catering) 6 (outside only) 8 (outside) 
4 (inside)

12 (outside) 
6 (inside)

15 (outside)
8 (inside)

The rules on household mixing apply to receptions in private homes and gardens (and some private venues).

Who the numbers include

Maximum numbers include:

  • the couple, witnesses and guests
  • anyone employed by the couple such as a photographer
  • children of any age 
  • any carers with someone attending

Numbers do not include:

  • the person doing the ceremony
  • staff at a venue
  • any interpreter you need

Rules for different types of venue

Regulated venues

This can include:

  • register offices (ceremony only)
  • hotels
  • restaurants and bars

Maximum numbers apply as long as the venue can meet physical distancing rules.

Check with the venue if you’re unsure if it’s classed as a ‘regulated venue’.

Private hire venues

This can include:

  • castles
  • historic houses
  • stately homes

Private hire venues and Covid guidance 

The rules for private hire venues may be different to those for regulated venues. A private hire venue can only allow maximum numbers if they've staff to ensure everyone meets Covid guidance. This includes statutory hospitality guidance and receptions guidance.

For example:

  • making sure physical distancing takes place
  • managing toilet facilities
  • being able to offer table service for alcohol

If they cannot meet the guidance then the rules for household mixing at each Level applies. For example at Level 3 this would mean up to 6 people from 6 households can have a gathering outside.

You should contact the private hire venue to confirm the number of people you can have there.

Private homes and gardens

This can include:

  • private homes and gardens
  • holiday homes and gardens
  • rented self-catering or holiday homes

For receptions, numbers must follow the rules for household mixing at each Level. For example at Level 3 this would mean up to 6 people from 6 households can have a gathering outside.

Marquees

You cannot have more people there because you have a marquee. The same rules still apply for a private home or garden. 

Marriage and civil partnership inside a private place

You should not have a marriage or civil partnership inside a private place right now. This is unless the ceremony cannot happen anywhere else. This could be because:

  • one of the couple is seriously ill
  • a disability stops one of them from attending a ceremony somewhere else

In this situation, the number of people there should be no more than 6. This means:

  • the couple
  • the person doing the ceremony
  • the 2 witnesses
  • any interpreter you need

These numbers only apply to the ceremony. You cannot have people inside your home right now who are not part of your household. There’s no exception for a gathering related to a marriage or civil partnership.

Face coverings

You must wear a face covering indoors unless eating or drinking (or you're exempt from wearing a face covering). This includes areas of a hotel or venue such as the hotel reception, toilets and corridors.

This does not apply to the couple during the ceremony if:

  • physical distancing is in place
  • there's a partition between the couple and everyone else

Check the full face covering guidance for marriage and civil partnership on gov.scot.

How to get married

Check how to get married in Scotland.

How to register a civil parternship

Check how to register a civil partnership in Scotland.

Further information

On gov.scot you can also check:

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