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Article date - 23 July 2020
From Saturday 1st August, the Registration Service will be able to conduct ceremonies in local venues, including St Helens Town Hall, which will open for weddings only, and is encouraging couples to get in touch.
The announcement follows Government guidance issued on 29th June that from 4th July couples would be allowed to marry or form a civil partnership in small ceremonies with a maximum of 30 people.
The maximum capacity may differ for each for venue and must include officiants, ministers, registrars and photographers as well as the couple and their guests. This is so that each venue can operate in a Covid-19 safe way, allowing for social distancing.
Face masks can be used by guests but are not mandatory as the venues will allow for two metre social distancing.
At St Helens Town Hall, the largest ceremonies available will be in the Ceremony Room, which can safely accommodate up to 19 people – including the couple, two registrars, a photographer and up to 14 seated guests.
Councillor Kate Groucutt, St Helens Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services, Estates and Communication, said:
“We’re glad to be able to offer wedding and civil partnership ceremonies once again, and are looking forward to welcoming couples back safely. We’ve taken the time to properly plan a Covid-19 safe way forward that will still give each couple the special day they’ve been waiting for.
“Many have seen their ceremony unavoidably postponed because of the necessary lockdown, and more have been waiting for a time when they can make their own commitments to one another.
“Safety for couples, their guests and our staff has to be our main concern as we resume these ceremonies, so we hope that people can understand the need to apply certain restrictions following national advice.”
Couples should think carefully about who will be attending their ceremony as a full list of all guests will be required at venues. Admittance to the ceremony will be only to those on the list which will be kept for 21 days for track and trace purposes in case anyone falls ill.
The national guidance advises that ceremonies must be kept short with fewer enhancements permitted, such a singing, readings or poems. Exchanging of rings will still be encouraged. Guidance to each couple will be given prior to their ceremony.
St Helens Town Hall will remain closed except for wedding ceremonies.
For more information, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/marriage or call the council’s Contact Centre on 01744 676789.