Hosting smaller wedding ceremonies at the Bodleian
Welcome back to the Bodleian Wedding Blog. We’re keen to share some very exciting news: Weddings are back on at the Bodleian!
As many of you will know, 2020 has resulted in thousands of wedding cancellations and postponements nationwide. Couples have had it hard. Deciding to reschedule the day that they have been planning for such a long time, is not a decision many have taken lightly.
A lot has changed for us as a venue too. Typically, at this time of year, we would be approaching the peak of the wedding season, but instead we have been meticulously working away (still from our homes) to find ways that will allow weddings, of some form, to still take place.
Wedding updates: What are they?
Firstly, this blog post is designed to specifically address the Bodleian’s re-opening plans for wedding ceremonies. We are aware that the UK Government have announced that wedding receptions will also have the go-ahead from 1 August 2020, but this post solely focuses on smaller wedding ceremonies at the Bodleian Libraries.
Now, more than ever, couples need to know that their loved ones feel safe and comfortable during the wedding ceremony. Therefore, we’ve considered the following topics:
– Wedding safety
– Arriving at the Bodleian
-The ‘I do’s’
-Leaving the Bodleian
-The maximum amount of people that we can accommodate in the wedding ceremony will be 15. This includes the couple and the guests. Officiants, suppliers and venue staff do not count.
-In line with our seating plans, we suggest that a safe distance of 2 metres is always kept between everyone. Signage will remind guests to maintain these distances
-Using the seating plan, we will safely direct your guests to their seats when they arrive
-Sanitiser we be available for everyone’s use before guests are directed to their seats.
-We kindly ask that any sneezes and coughs are directed into elbows or tissues.
-We encourage everyone to avoid touching surfaces unless necessary
-Food and drink is not permitted
It is a legal requirement for all people arriving at the Bodleian to wear a face covering.
Arriving at the Bodleian
–We encourage all guests to make their way to the Bodleian via the wicket gate. The entrance of this is on Broad Street. A friendly member of the weddings team will be there to meet, greet and direct all guests to Chancellor’s Court
-All decorations (e.g. small floral arrangements) must be set up before the guest arrive
– Unfortunately, any late comers will not be allowed into the venue
-Everyone must keep 2 metres distance from each other upon their arrival
– There will be limited access to the toilet facilities
-We will be onsite to answer any questions
-We will direct all guests to their seats. Seating arrangements will be based on households/social bubbles
-Keep you face covering on at all times.
The ‘I do’s’
-You will meet the registrars and have a joint interview with them in Convocation House.
-Guests will be invited make their way to their reserved seats after you have had your interview
-The ceremony will last approximately 20 minutes
-In line with government guidance, singing, chanting, shouting, and/or playing of instruments that are blown into are not permitted
-When signing the register, hand sanitiser will be available.
Leaving the Bodleian
-When the ‘I do’s’ have been spoken and the room breaks into applause, at the end of the ceremony you will have the option to make an exit down the aisle and make your way outside. However, to avoid being blocked in, the registrars may wish to leave the venue first, so it might be worth having a conversation with them first
-After you have left the building, guests on front rows will leave the room first and guests on the back rows will follow. 2 metres distance should still be kept between guests
-Wedding photos can be taken in outdoor spaces including the Science museum steps, Clarendon steps and outside the Wren door.
-Everyone (including any suppliers) leaves the Bodleian through the wicket gate
–Can I have live music?
No, unfortunately live singing or the use of wind instruments increases the likelihood of transmission. However, recorded music can be played in the ceremony and can be played to fill a silent moment. E.g. when the register is being signed
-Can I have photos taken indoors?
Unfortunately, due the time frame of the ceremony, there will not be the opportunity for photos to be taken during the signing of the register. The ceremony will involve minimum legal requirements, the exchange of rings and the ‘I do’s’
–Will I be able walk down the aisle with my relative?
This is your responsibility. Consider: Does this person live in my household or are they part of my social bubble? If the answer is no, consider keeping 2 metres distance from them, or 1 metre (plus) with mitigation. E.g. use of face coverings. Although we understand that this is difficult, please avoid touching, kissing, and embracing this person.
Please note, if you did wish to make an entrance, this would need to take place after your interview with the registrar. It should be a quick entrance and social distancing rules will still apply
–How many people can I have in my bridal party?
We are currently saying no to bridal parties as social distancing will become tricky and it might overlap with the ceremony timings
–I get nervous easily, can I bring bottled water? – Yes, this is fine. You can either take the bottle away from the venue or use the bin in Chancellor’s Court.
–What if somebody feels ill when they arrive at the venue?
If this person displays COVID-19 symptoms, they will not be able to come onsite and there is a high possibility of your wedding not being able to go ahead. However, if they are not displaying COVID-19 symptoms, we are likely to check their temperature before they are seated in the venue
–I have a relative who uses a wheelchair – where will they sit?
We will ensure that a space near the back of Convocation House is designated to this guest. The doors will always remain open in case of an emergency.
–Can we have more than 15 people?
No. At the moment the UK Government guidance advises that only 15 people are allowed at a wedding. This includes the couple. If this guidance changes, we will let you know
-If one guest must drop out, can I replace them with another?
Yes. But please advise us of this reason and make sure you provide the relevant details of the replacement. E.g. name/phone number and email address. This must be provided 3-5 working days before the wedding. If they drop out due to COVID-19 and they are in the same household as another guest who is attending the wedding, they also will not be able to attend.
-My florist won’t be collecting the flowers; can we take these away?
We are happy to talk to your florist directly about the removal of your floristry. However, you can allocate one member of your wedding party to take these off-site.
-If our wedding is postponed, when is the soonest we would be able to return?
A gap of at least 14 days will be required between the cancelled date and a new date to minimise the risk of cross infection.
-If it’s raining on the day, where will we store umbrellas and coats?
We will provide coat rails for your personal belongings. Please note, this will only be used in the event of bad weather
–I’m allergic to certain types of hand sanitiser, can I bring my own?
Yes. If you apply this sanitiser before you are seated, this will be fine
–What decorations can I have?
Your time at the Bodleian will go by in an excitable flash, therefore we recommend keeping decorations to an absolute minimum. Flowers look beautiful in Convocation House, but we do not permit any naked flames, confetti, or flower arrangements over 2.5 metres.
-I still have questions about the ceremony, what should I do?
If there is anything that we have not covered in this guidance, please head to the Oxfordshire County Council website:
Until next time!
We hope that this post can provide you with a few more answers and show you how small wedding ceremonies can now go ahead at the Bodleian! It will be a short but sweet experience and many of your loved ones will be there to share and experience the beautiful moment with you.
Is there anything else you’d like to know about smaller wedding ceremonies at the Bodleian? Contact us or comment below!