Wedding organiser is facing £10,000 fine for breaching Covid rules

Wedding organiser is facing £10,000 fine for breaching Covid rules after police raided reception at country hotel attended by 80 guests

  • The wedding reception took place at Ariana Gardens near Margaretting, Essex
  • A 41-year-old man summonsed to court for holding party of more than 15 people
  • Comes after the Prime Minister set out raft of measures to clampdown on virus 

The organiser of a wedding reception will face a £10,000 fine after police found 80 guests at the event.

Police arrived to the venue yesterday afternoon following several reports of a large group celebrating a wedding at Ariana Gardens near Margaretting, Essex.

The scenes came just weeks after the Prime Minister set out a raft of measures designed to clampdown on the coronavirus, including slashing the number allowed to gather at nuptials to 15.

Upon arrival, officers found guests enjoying a sit-down dinner and flouting coronavirus guidelines.  

Police found 80 guests attending the wedding party at Ariana Gardens near Margaretting, Essex, yesterday afternoon

Police warned guests who refused to comply or who were obstructive that they would be issued with a £200 fixed penalty notice.

Officers also identified a 41-year-old man as the organiser of the wedding party and he was summonsed to court for holding a gathering of more than 15 people in breach of coronavirus legislation. 

At a glance: What are the rules for weddings? 

  • Members of different households must maintain social distancing and fathers cannot walk daughters arm-in-arm down the aisle
  • Couples must wash their hands before and after exchanging rings   
  • Up to 15 people are allowed at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, officiants and guests, and staff not employed by the venue
  • No food or drink is allowed to be consumed ‘unless required for the purposes of solemnisation’ 
  • Venues hosting wedding receptions must be closed between 10pm and 5am and dancing should not be permitted
  • There should be no singing during the service or use of instruments which have to be blown into 
  • Spoken responses should ‘not be in a raised voice’ 
  • If a small child is involved, they should be held a parent, guardian or member of that child’s household 
  • Couples should consider using recordings instead of singing
  • Organs music is allowed but they must be cleaned before and after
  • Books, reusable and communal resources such as service sheets, prayer mats, or devotional material should be removed from use

Essex Assistant Chief Constable Andy Prophet: ‘This wedding party was a blatant breach of the current restrictions which only allows for 15 people to be present at a wedding.

‘The legislation exists for a reason, which is to stop the spread of the virus and to protect our communities as we all work together to drive down the risk of infection.

‘Throughout the last six months many of us have missed weddings, funerals, special events and the opportunity to see our wider family and friends ~ it has been hard for all of us.

‘But while the majority of people in Essex continue to do all they can to support us and help stop the spread of the virus, a selfish few think they can flout the rules with no thought for the health risk posed by their actions.

‘Throughout the last few months we have taken every opportunity to engage with our residents and explain where we have found them not following rules, enforcement has always been a last resort and reserved only for those flagrantly or persistently breaking the law.

‘In situations such as this, a large wedding organised with no regard for the law, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action as we do all we can to keep the people of Essex safe.’

Arian Gardens is a luxury Manor House nestled in the Essex countryside which can accommodate for 650 guests.

The venue is licensed for civil ceremonies and has a bridal room and prayer room.

The latest breach comes just weeks after the events venue Stafford Park in Telford, Shropshire, was fined £10,000 after police found 120 revellers at a wedding party.

Last month police shut down Adelina’s Bar and Kitchen in Swansea after dozens of guests were found crammed inside the venue for a wedding reception. 

A spokesperson for Adelina’s Bar and Kitchen told The Sun they had only taken a booking for 25 people for the wedding reception .

They claimed to be unaware of bookings taken in other parts of the restaurant for the same party. 

In August, police also shut down a wedding reception at Waheed’s Buffet and Banqueting Hall in Blackburn after more than 100 people gathered to celebrate a local lockdown-breaching wedding reception. 

Police identified a 41-year-old man as the organiser of the wedding party and he was summonsed to court. (Stock image)

Under the current wedding guidelines, members of different households must maintain social distancing and tables must be kept two metres apart at receptions.

The new guidelines also state that up to 15 people are allowed at the ceremony, including the couple, witnesses, officiants and guests, and staff not employed by the venue

No food or drink is allowed to be consumed ‘unless required for the purposes of solemnisation’ and spoken responses should ‘not be in a raised voice’. 

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