Under current laws for approved premises such as a hotel, the legal wedding or civil partnership ceremony must take place in an approved room or permanent structure. It will now be possible for a couple to have the whole ceremony outside at such a venue.
This change will give more options to couples and the sector in terms of how they celebrate and host the big day by allowing all aspects of weddings to take place outdoors – providing greater flexibility especially during the pandemic when there are important public health considerations to take into account.
On 30 June, a statutory instrument (SI) will be laid to amend the regulations with the change taking effect on 1 July. This follows a commitment made in 2019 to legalise outdoor ceremonies.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP said:
A couple’s wedding day is one of the most special times in their lives and this change will allow them to celebrate it the way that they want.
At the same time, this step will support the marriage sector by providing greater choice and helping venues to meet demand for larger ceremonies.
The change will benefit almost 75% of all weddings in England and Wales that are non-religious and which take place on approved premises, along with civil partnerships.
A Law Commission report later this year will present options for further reforms which will then be considered carefully by the Government. Options they are considering include offering couples greater flexibility to form their own ceremonies, allowing the ceremony to take place in a much broader range of locations, and powers to hold weddings remotely in a national emergency.