Outdoor civil weddings and civil partnerships made permanent

couple in wedding dress standing in the woods with a registrar

One positive that came from Covid affecting the wedding industry, and trust us there are not many, was that it highlighted how archaic our weddings laws are in the UK and how badly they needed modernising to reflect couples' desires.
Temporary legislation allowing outdoor civil weddings and partnerships to take place outside of a permanent structure, such as a pagoda, has been in place since last summer. At the time it allowed Covid-secure weddings to go ahead when so many were being cancelled or post-poned, however, the move was so widely received that from April it will be a permanent change - giving a much-needed boost to the wedding industry and flexibility to couples who were also affected by the last two years.

couple in wedding attire standing outside

Under the new rules, which come into force in April across England and Wales when the temporary legislation is due to expire, ceremonies can take place entirely outdoors or under a temporary structures. However, venues must still register to become approved premises in order to host weddings. 

A government consultation found that 96% of respondents were in favour of the changes being made permanent, with 93% supporting it being extended to religious ceremonies.

Justice minister Tom Pursglove said: "A wedding is one of the most important days in a person's life and it is right that couples should have greater choice in how they celebrate their special occasion. These reforms will allow couples to hold more personalised ceremonies and provide a welcome boost for the wedding sector."

The government is to also consider recommendations from a Law Commission review into marriage laws, which is due to be published in July. The report is looking at how to modernise marriage law, including widening the locations where people can get married and whether more types of weddings should be legalised.

For more information visit www.gov.uk

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