Outdoor wedding and civil partnership ceremonies to be legalised in England and Wales for first time

Outdoor wedding and civil partnership ceremonies will be legalised in England and Wales for the first time, it has been announced.

Under existing laws, such ceremonies must be held in an “approved room or permanent structure” of an “approved premises”, such as a hotel.

But the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the new rules will give couples more options to decide how they would like to celebrate their big day.

According to the proposals, all aspects of civil ceremonies and weddings will be allowed to take place outdoors – benefiting three in four (75 per cent) weddings and civil partnerships in England and Wales that are non-religious and which take place on approved premises.

A broader review will follow later this year, which will consider options such as allowing couples 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.

Commenting on the changes, Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland 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 MoJ says the new rules – which apply to “approved premises” only and do not enable outdoor weddings to take place on “religious premises” – will come into effect on 01 July 2021.

For help and advice with family and relationship matters, please get in touch with Alison Green, Head of our Family and Relationship Team at Mackrell.Solicitors on +44 (0) 20 7240 0521 or at alison.green@mackrell.com

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Alison Green
Alison joined Mackrell.Solicitors in 1989 and qualified as a solicitor in 1991, becoming a partner in the firm in 2010. Her expertise covers matrimonial work, including divorce and the associated financial and children issues; pre and post-nuptial agreements; co-habitation disputes; civil partnership agreements and the breakdown of civil partnerships.