Church of England weddings during the coronavirus outbreak should be limited to a maximum of five people, including the bride and groom, new guidance says.
And apart from the couple themselves, everyone else should observe a social distance as far as possible, the guidance says.
The Church said important life events can go ahead but must be “very significantly scaled back” so people can follow the Government’s social distancing advice.
Couples are being advised to “stream” their ceremony to absent friends and family, and the Church will work with those who wish to rearrange in light of Covid-19.
The Church said weddings should be limited to the legal minimum of five people – the priest, bride, groom and two witnesses.
The Bishop of Manchester, Dr David Walker, said: “Couples and parents, friends and families will have been planning for months, even years for their special moment, whether a wedding or a christening.
“Now it can go ahead – but with only the minimum required in attendance. You may need to cancel or postpone.
“Whatever decision is made, God’s love and blessing will still surround all those who would have been there that day.”
Apart from the couple themselves, everyone else should observe a social distance as far as possible, the guidance says.
The advice recommends similar measures for baptisms, with numbers restricted to the child, their parents, guardians or carers, godparents and the minister.
The priest should not hold the child and water should be administered with an “appropriate implement” such as a shell.
Only clergy and parents should join the candidate at the font, with godparents maintaining a social distance, it adds.