Dodmoor Micro Weddings
Update further to the covid announcements 14.05.21
The headline news is that there is no set social distancing requirement for guests at weddings any longer (yay!), but it would still be helpful to have seating plans as food and drink can only be served and consumed when you are seated, and dancefloors sadly remain closed.
Numbers: The limit of 30 people at a wedding remains unchanged; it doesn’t include anyone working at the wedding but it does still include all children and babies. We are still required to keep everyone’s contact details for Test & Trace purposes.
Face coverings: These must be worn during indoor wedding ceremonies (but not by the couple getting married or those officiating at the ceremony). This is not the case either outdoors, or indoors when you are eating/drinking (but would apply when you enter/move around in the room and get up to go to the toilet like in a pub/restaurant).
Social Distancing and Seating Plans: This is no longer a legal requirement at wedding ceremonies and receptions (although there needs to be a 2m gap to the registrars in the ceremony). It is entirely your choice whether you keep your existing ceremony seating plans or discuss a new version with your wedding coordinator, while acknowledging that seating guests in their existing households and being aware of more vulnerable guests is obviously safer.
This is the relevant section: “At Step 3, the guidance on meeting friends and family will change, with a greater emphasis on personal responsibility. Instead of instructing people to stay 2 metres apart away from anyone they do not live with, people will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions to take to help keep friends and family safe. You should always make space for other people to keep their distance if they want to.”
So there is no need to socially distance your guests from each other at your ceremony (or, importantly, during an aisle walk), although you will still have to consider if there are any guests attending who would be more comfortable at being seated at a slight distance from other guests.
Equally, there is no social distancing requirement for guests seated for your wedding breakfast. So, for example, there could be 8 guests from different households on the same round table, or even all 30 guests seated at the same banqueting table with no 1m+ gaps required. Please just be aware that you will be seated in the room together for up to two hours for your meal and keeping guests in household groups is again safer.
Food and Drink: As in a pub or restaurant, all Food and Drink must be ordered and consumed while seated: This is the relevant section: “If the event is taking place at a COVID-secure venue where alcohol is served, all food and drink (including non-alcoholic drink) must be ordered, served and consumed by the customer while seated at a table.”
This means you still aren’t allowed to have a buffet, either for a wedding breakfast or for tea/coffee, as all food and drink must be served to you.
However, you must be seated while consuming any food/drinks in that same reception. So rather oddly, you would have to put your glass down to get up and chat to someone else while you are outdoors, whereas indoors you could only do this if you put on a mask on (as you aren’t eating/drinking)!
Photos: The personal responsibility rules would seem to indicate that you are allowed to mingle with other guests (such as during photos) with no social distancing, so group photos are fine as long as guests feel comfortable.
Musical Entertainment: Group singing is still not allowed (such as songs in civil ceremonies or hymns in church).
Indoor professional performances can take place (or amateur performances with less than six people in the group/choir), but those performing should still socially distance from those watching and each other. There is still realistically a requirement on us as a venue to ensure that volume levels are restricted so that guests can talk without shouting.
This is the relevant section: “All venues should ensure that steps are taken to mitigate the increased risk of virus transmission associated with aerosol production from raised voices, such as when speaking loudly or singing loudly, particularly in confined and poorly ventilated spaces. This includes, but is not limited to, lowering the volume of background music, and refraining from playing music or broadcasts that may encourage shouting, particularly if played at a volume that makes normal conversation difficult.”
Dancing: This is ‘advised against’ and, above all, dancefloors must legally remain closed for all but your First Dance.
This is the relevant section: “Dancing is advised against due to the increased risk of transmission, except the couple’s ‘first dance’. Dancefloors and other spaces for dancing must remain closed but can be repurposed for additional customer seating or other relevant purposes, ensuring this is in line with the social distancing guidelines.”
Speeches: As before these should ideally take place either outside or in well ventilated spaces due to raised voices (and ideally with a microphone being used). There should be 2m social distancing between the speaker and other guests.
Honeymoon Suite: A total of 6 people from different households can get ready together in the Dodford Room, any suppliers would still need to follow their own health and safety guidelines, please discuss this separately with them.
Other: Guests can now make their own choice with regards to risk and therefore confetti can be thrown, while guest books, garden games and photobooths are allowed, although caution is advised.
It says: “Other objects in the reception venue being touched by several people (such as guest books, polaroid camera stations or games) should be minimised and hand sanitisation encouraged both before and after contact.”
Health and Safety: We have a duty of care to ensure there is adequate natural ventilation for you and your guests while seated inside (keeping doors open as much as possible), as well as providing hand sanitiser. Those with covid symptoms or who need to self-isolate should obviously not attend weddings. We ask that you send a revised 'Code of Conduct' to your guests ahead of the wedding so all guests are fully aware of the steps we are taking to keep them safe.
To read everything in detail, please follow this link – https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-wedding-and-civil-partnership-ceremonies-receptions-and-celebrations
Please just be aware that there is a difference between what is the law, what is there as guidance and the requirements made on us as a covid-secure venue as part of our risk assessment (enforced by the local authority and Health & Safety Executive).
Update further to the covid announcements 22.02.21
The restrictions regarding the early end time (before midnight) and the need to have ‘substantial food’ with any drinks have been lifted.
We understand Covid was not a part of your original wedding plan, however Dodmoor are keen to reassure you it will still be the day of your dreams.
Although there are a few rules and regulations to navigate, we are here to help find the best solution for you and to ensure that it is a wonderful day.
Ceremony attendees - The Registry Office will require a list of ceremony attendees, including their addresses and contact numbers on a form for track and trace purposes. We will use the same list for our health and safety records and to establish the household groupings for seating plans.
Labelling chairs - We would still recommend that seating plans are provided in advance and all chairs have a named labelled on them. Ideally this could be tied to the chair to ensure guests keep the same chair when seated in this room later in the day.
Social media - Why not invite more guests to be a part of your big day via zoom or facebook live? You will just need access to a device with mobile data as there is no wifi in the barns. We suggest you nominate a guest to set this up on a laptop at the front of the ceremony or film from their seat with a phone.
Aisle walk - You will be able to walk side by side up the aisle with your father. He and any bridesmaids should not need to wear a mask until seated because the aisle walk is mostly outside.
Masks - While seated during the ceremony all guests must wear a mask, although the Happy Couple are exempt.
Confetti - We suggest you supply this in ready made cones, guests can then throw this safely as you walk back down the aisle without the need to touch it.
Outdoor ceremonies - Legally the couple still need to get married inside the barns, but the guests can sit outside on the patio, while the couple is married in the doorway to the Courtyard Barn, with the registrars inside the room. As guests are outside they will not need to wear masks for the ceremony, with the reduced number of guests we are happy to make this decision on the day depending on the weather!
Micro Ceremony Layouts -
You may consider spreading your guests out more and having two chairs either side of the aisle but you are welcome to use any seating plan
You will need to stand in the doorway to be legally married inside but guests can sit out on the patio without masks. We will need to be confident of the weather for this set up!
Drinks - The same options pre-covid are available to you, bring your own drinks or use our drink packages. The only difference is that all drinks will be provided to guests in their seats by waitress service.
Canapés - Your caterer is still able to provide canapés, usually these would be served on platters to household groups at their seats.
Photos - Group photos can take place in the courtyard or at the lawn area
The wedding breakfast will be held in the opposite barn to the ceremony. With smaller numbers you are able to include all the guests on one large banquet table, as guests can be seated close together again we can accommodate 30 in both barns. Our round tables seat up to 10 guests, we would still recommend keeping household groups together where possible and possibly labelling the chairs so that the same chair can be used in the evening.
All food and drink must be served to the guests in their seats
Round Tables -
For the wedding day to flow, we recommend that guests move between barns and areas in order to mix up more with different seating plans for different parts of the day . Therefore for speeches, it would be a fun idea to move to the opposite barn or an outside area after the meal. We have a microphone that can be used in all areas, including the lawn, this would of course be sanitised between uses.
Although dance floors are not permitted at the moment, this does not stop you having a fun evening with your friends and family.
First dance - You are still able to have your first dance as a married couple. You could cut the cake in the early evening and then take to the floor, in the summer months why not consider doing it outside!
Games - Games and quizzes are a wonderful way to get the whole wedding party interacting with each other. There is no need for handwritten pub quizzes, if that is not you, but think outside the box to get people joining in by Kahoot quizzes, music quizzes or Would I Lie To You, just to name a few. Dodmoor House also have a traditional 'Mr & Mrs' Quiz kit, just ask your best man or bridesmaid to come up with some fun questions!
Acoustic music - Although your band may not be able to play to a packed dance floor, there is no reason why the guests cannot be entertained by live music, we just need to make sure there is a safe 2m gap around them. We ask that all live music is inside from 9pm onwards please and at a volume whereby guests can still chat to each other.
Seating - we can rearrange the seating in the courtyard to fit any combination of groups and can even change a large banquet table into smaller tables for a more 'pub style' evening. We would recommend labelling the chairs from the meal so that they can be used by the same person in the evening.
Evening Food - You do not have to have evening food, however you could consider service of the cake or simpler snacks if you do not think another meal is appropriate. Don't worry if you have already booked a Dodmoor House evening food option such as a burger bar, we can work with our supplier to reduce the minimum numbers.
Finish time - There is no set curfew, we are happy to continue your celebration through until midnight when the bar and music will close.
Health and Safety
Covid cleaning - staff will carry out regular hand sanitising, the venue is rigorously cleaned between each function and high touch areas such as door handles, surfaces and the toilets will be regularly disinfected throughout the day. We have also invested in a hi-tech disinfecting atomiser which we will use whenever you and your guests leave a room to ensure that is safe for your return later in the day.
Masks - waiting staff will always be wearing a mask to ensure the safety of you and your guests, as well as themselves.
Suppliers - we will contact your suppliers to inform them of our own risk assessments and acknowledge any advisements from their own.
Guests - we ask for you to email all guests in advance with a 'Code of Conduct', this will answer all their questions and reassure any nervous guests that their safety is paramount. This will be tailored specially to your wedding after the planning meeting.