WEDDINGS can now be held in a church but the bride, groom and their guests must follow new health and safety regulations..

St Michael's Church in Middlewich is looking forward to welcoming a couple who are getting married in August.

Another couple have booked a blessing at the town centre church in November.

Rector Rev Simon Drew said: "Couples can now have their wedding in church but there are restrictions on what can happen and who can attend.

"It is a step in the right direction. We have two wedding ceremonies this year."

St Mary's Catholic Church in Middlewich has weddings booked from October. Several ceremonies due to be held earlier this year were postponed due to the pandemic.

Winsford Guardian:

St Michael's Church in Middlewich has two wedding ceremonies booked this year

The Church of England has issued coronavirus guidance following advice from the Government.

A maximum of 30 guests can attend a wedding and this includes the celebrant and photographer.

Smaller churches may not be able to accommodate so many people as guests must sit two metres apart. Families living together can sit closer.

No singing is allowed to minimise risk of droplet spread.

An organist can play for the wedding ceremony or the couple can select tracks from a CD.

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If the bride is to be walked down the aisle she should only be accompanied by a member of her household, while bridesmaids should be careful to observe physical distancing unless they are also from the same household.

Apart from the bride and groom, who join hands as an essential part of the marriage ceremony, a physical distance of two metres should be observed between individuals as far as is possible.

The minister does not have to touch the rings at the giving of rings or touch the couple’s hands as part of a prayer or blessing.

Where rings are touched by anyone other than the bride and groom alone, hands should be washed or sanitized before and after. The rings should be handled by as few people as possible.

All those signing the register should sanitize their hands before signing, complete all the signatures necessary and then sanitize them again. Apart from the bride and groom, all those signing should maintain physical distancing if practicable and, where available, individual pens for each signatory can be used.

Before the wedding, the building must be risk assessed and hygiene practices put in place with hand sanitizers available at the door.

If the church is to be used again within 72 hours it should be cleaned after the service following all the guidelines.

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