October 7, 2020

Wedding Restrictions in Australia - What Are the Rules?

If you have plans or are planning to get married this year, you may be wondering what the current wedding restrictions are? Due to COVID-19, many couples have had their wedding plans thrown up in the air. From needing to change venues to completely cancelling their big day, getting married during the current situation is challenging, to say the least.

It might be tempting to fly that white flag and cancel your special day altogether - but don't surrender just yet. With a little bit of knowledge and some alternative options, things can still go ahead as planned.

Weddings are still taking place around the country - albeit with a few strict rules to follow. The COVID-19 wedding restrictions vary from state to state and can change almost overnight. As a general guideline, you will want to find a wedding venue that is as flexible as possible and is able to assist you during your planning, preparation and actual wedding day.

General Wedding Restrictions in Australia

While not all of the following are government restrictions, they are definitely things that you want to consider during the wedding planning phase. Where possible, it's a good idea to get further information from your vendors, as they will likely have specific procedures and precautions in place to keep everyone protected.

Dancing

- in some states, dancing at weddings has been restricted. A wedding without dancing is like a cake without icing, so check with your venue before booking. Restrictions are determined by available space and the number of guests, so a larger venue will likely offer more freedom. If you're serving alcohol, ensure guests don't take it into the dancefloor and choose music carefully (slow dances aren't quite the same when people are 2 metres apart).

Entertainment

- if you are planning on having a live band with singers, then you'll need to ensure they are a minimum of 3 metres away from your guests. Singing and instruments can spread COVID if one or more entertainers are infected. Remember, the majority of people are asymptomatic, meaning they can have the virus without displaying any symptoms.

Buffets/Canapés

- in some states, buffets and canapé services are currently banned. This means that a service-only meal may be possible. While sharing plates and platters are not recommended, it may be possible if guests seated at each table are from the same household. Some states require a sit-down service only, so check with your venue and vendors in advance. It's also a good idea to check whether your venue allows glassware and cutlery to be on the tables, as some are restricting this too.

Seating

- when it comes to arranging your wedding reception seating during COVID-19, try to seat family members, partners and friends by household. While this may not be possible for everyone, you'll need to be aware of distances between guests who don't fall into this category. Some states also limit the number of guests per table, which can vary between six to ten people.

Children

- it's an unfortunate fact that children are likely to be unintentional spreaders of COVID-19 due to the fact that they often don't show symptoms. With many schools being open, depending on the state, they are at an increased risk of infection and transmission. If you're expecting children to attend your wedding, it's a good idea to look for an outdoor venue and request parents/guardians to pay close attention to them.

Wedding Restrictions Overview by State

ACT

  • Weddings may have up to 1 person per 4sqm or 100 guests, whichever is the lesser.
  • A COVID safety plan must be completed and receptions must keep to the ACT public gathering restrictions.
  • Records of all attendees, including names and contact numbers, must be collected and held by the organizers for 28 days.
  • Rules governing the hospitality sector govern weddings and must be adhered to.

Northern Territory

  • For weddings with guests numbering 100 - 500 attendees, a COVID-19 safety checklist must be completed.
  • For weddings with less than 100 guests, no safety plan or checklist is required. However, social distancing should be practised.
  • There are no limits on how many guests you can have at your wedding.

New South Wales

  • The maximum number of guests allowed is capped at 150.
  • Dancing, singing and mingling are not permitted. If you have entertainers who use wind instruments or vocal performances, a distance of 3 metres from your guests must be enforced.
  • Couples need to record and register the names, numbers and contact details of all guests attending, contributing or conducting the wedding. These must be kept for 4 weeks.
  • Table numbers may be capped at 10 people. Aim to seat people from the same household together.
  • Some venues are prohibiting shared tableware, so check in advance.

Victoria

  • Since August 6th, weddings in Melbourne are banned. This is being reviewed and updated regularly and can change day by day. Exemptions may be made for compassionate reasons.
  • Areas outside of metropolitan Melbourne can have a maximum of 5 people.

Queensland

  • In Queensland, the number of wedding guests permitted is capped at 100, with social distancing guidelines being practised.
  • Contact tracing is in force, being guests will be required to give their name, email address, phone number, date and time. This will be held for 56 days before being destroyed.
  • The married couple is permitted to dance with each other and their parents only.
  • Buffets and communal food or beverages are not allowed. Sit down dining is recommended.

South Australia

  • Limits are determined by the one person per two square metre rule, with guests to be at least 1.5m away from each other.
  • Certain businesses need to collect contact data for contact tracing in the event of an infection report.
  • Communal food such as buffets, drinks dispensers and salad bars are not permitted. Shared utensils are also currently restricted.

Western Australia

  • Limits are determined by the 1 person per 2 sqm rule. This excludes staff for gatherings of 500 people or less.

Tasmania

  • Tables, staff and guests must be a minimum bid 1.5 metres apart and arrivals must be coordinated to avoid crowds in waiting areas.
  • Indoor mixed-use venues are capped at 250 guests and outdoor venues at 500 guests.
  • No more than 1 guest per 2 sqm at any time during the wedding ceremony or reception.

Wedding Restrictions - Alternative Options

If you're planning on getting married in a state that bans or restricts dancing, here are a few ideas that can add a little sparkle back into your big day.

Personalised Hygiene Stands

Providing customised hand sanitising stations and face masks can go a long way with helping keep everyone safe. Place sanitiser in small bottles and ensure each guest has one to hand. Custom face masks don't need to be expensive and can be made in the fabric, style and colour of your choice, helping add a theme to the restrictions.

Lawn Games

Ring toss, coconut shies, lawn Jenga, polo… the list goes on. Lawn games are a great alternative to dancing and provide endless fun for every age group. While there are elements of touching objects others have touched, gloves and hand sanitiser can minimise risks.

Big Day Bingo

Bingo can be a fantastic way to bring people together while respecting social distancing. Not just the reserve of the older generation, bingo brings out the competitive side in everyone. Prizes could include vouchers, digital downloads or redeemable gifts.

Tarot Readings

Tarot readings are a fantastic way to add some fun to your wedding. As the reader sits away from guests and cards are not touched, it can be a safe yet quirky element that draws in your guests. Who doesn't love knowing what the future holds?

Finding the Perfect Wedding Venue

Located in the heart of the beautiful Hunter Valley, Glenmore Country Estate offers a variety of wedding packages designed to help you make the most of your big day. Celebrate in style surrounded by sprawling vineyards, sweeping vistas and plenty of fresh country air perfect for intimate weddings, receptions and celebrations.

Our experienced wedding planners can help you plan your special day, every step of the way - keeping you up to date and informed with all of the latest recommendations and restrictions.

We know your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, which is why we go that extra mile to help you bring your dreams to life with as few interruptions as possible, adhering to any wedding restrictions while keeping as close to your requirements as possible.

Contact us today to take the next step on your wedding journey and get ready to say 'I do' in style.

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