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Crimes at UK weddings revealed including mass brawls, dog attacks and sex offences

Written by on 15 May 2021

It’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but police have revealed details of dozens of crimes reported at weddings in the last three years – including mass brawls, thefts and sexual misconduct.

One force was contacted about a wedding photograph that attracted hundreds of negative comments on social media – and after an alleged dog attack on two guests.

It comes as the limit on how many people can attend weddings is set to be relaxed from Monday, when groups of up to 30 will be allowed at ceremonies and receptions in England.

Police have busted illegal gatherings of more than 15 people at weddings during England’s lockdown – including one event in north London in January where 150 guests turned up, at the peak of the UK’s COVID crisis.

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January 2021: Police bust wedding with 150 guests

Following freedom of information requests by Sky News, UK police forces revealed details of reported crimes at weddings between 2018 and April 2021.

Among the alleged offences:

• Avon and Somerset Police said it was called to a fight involving 40 people “using glass as weapons at a travelling community wedding”

• North Wales Police said a drunk wedding guest smashed a window at a hotel venue and when people tried to restrain him, he assaulted the photographer

• The same force was contacted after a male attended a wedding where a family friend led him behind a marquee, knelt in front of him and tried to remove his trousers

• Cleveland Police said the sister of a bride was punched in the face at a wedding and pushed into a table, causing a cut on her back

• Avon and Somerset Police said it was called to a wedding venue as “the father of the bride has become very violent and is trying to cause a fight”

• The force was also contacted after two families at a wedding venue were “having a physical fight, throwing drinks and smashing glasses”

exchange of wedding rings Image: Police have revealed details of dozens of call-outs to weddings

• North Wales Police said a person reported that their wedding photograph had appeared on a social media platform and had attracted 244 negative comments

• The same force revealed a wedding guest reported that a woman set a dog on the complainant and their daughter

• Humberside Police was called after two siblings got into a row at their brother’s wedding when one spilled a drink into the other’s handbag and “this then escalated”

• The force also said a bride reported her wedding veil had been stolen during the reception

• North Wales Police said a man reported being “kicked and strangled” during an assault at a wedding

• Cambridgeshire Police said an informant had alleged that a six-year-old boy had witnessed his mother and her partner “acting sexually whilst at a family wedding”

• The force also received a report of common assault and battery after a woman allegedly assaulted her father on his wedding day by pushing him and slapping him across the face

• Cambridgeshire Police said a person was knocked unconscious after being punched during a fight at a wedding

• Avon and Somerset Police said a wishing well containing money was left in the main room of a hotel overnight after a wedding, before being found with “the lid ripped off” the following morning

• North Wales Police said a steel post-box filled with cards and money was stolen from a marquee at a wedding

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October 2020: Police break up wedding reception in west London

Police forces were unable to reveal the total number of reported crimes at weddings, with many saying that retrieving the data would exceed the time and cost limit set out by the Freedom of Information Act.

Meanwhile, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said it does not record how many fines have been issued for breaches of coronavirus rules at weddings.

The NPCC said it was the responsibility of local authorities and licensing authorities to ensure compliance, with police becoming involved if there is a joint licensing operation or to deal with violence or disorder at a venue.

From Monday, up to 30 people can attend weddings in England, although dancing will still not be allowed.

In Scotland, 50 people can attend weddings and receptions, while in Wales they are limited to 30 people indoors and 50 people outdoors from Monday.

There is no limit on the number of people allowed to attend a wedding in Northern Ireland, but venues must assess how many they can safely accommodate and receptions are not permitted until 24 May.

The NPCC warned last month there was “still a small number of people who blatantly disregard the rules, attending and organising large gatherings”.

Its chair Martin Hewitt said: “Forces up and down the country have shut down a number of these selfish and unsafe events, and officers won’t let up in their efforts over the coming weeks.”

He added: “Our officers will continue to carry out patrols and will engage with the public to keep explaining the restrictions which remain in place at the time.”