Outdoor weddings are made permanently legal thanks to ‘overwhelming support’ from the public and religious groups after rules were relaxed during the pandemic
- The Justice Department said there was ‘overwhelming support’ from the public
- Reforms of religious ceremonies are supported and will follow at a later date
- Weddings had to take place indoors or in a permanent outdoor structure
Outdoor weddings are to be made legal permanently after rules on permitted venues were relaxed during the pandemic.
The Department of Justice will announce today that there has been ‘overwhelming support’ for the move from the public, religious groups and the wedding industry.
Strict rules governing where weddings and civil partnership ceremonies could take place were eased last summer to make it easier for couples to get married when lockdown restrictions were still in place.
Now, in a rare example of popular Covid-era law, the change must be made permanent, a step backed by 96 per cent of respondents to a consultation on the issue.
Reforms to religious ceremonies will follow at a later date, but also received strong support.
Outdoor weddings must be made legal permanently after rules on permitted venues eased during pandemic
Justice Secretary Tom Pursglove said: “A wedding is one of the most important days in a person’s life and it’s right that couples have more choice in how they celebrate their special occasion.”
“These reforms will allow couples to have more personalized ceremonies and provide a welcome boost to the wedding industry.”
Before the rules were relaxed last July, wedding ceremonies had to take place indoors or under a permanent outdoor structure like a bandstand.
Under the new rules, which come into effect in April across England and Wales when temporary legislation is due to expire, ceremonies can take place entirely outdoors or under temporary structures.
However, venues still need to register to become approved venues to host weddings.
In addition, the Department of Justice said “the location of the ceremony in outdoor spaces must be deemed suitable and dignified” while “other public access and signage requirements must also be met.”
Before the rules were relaxed last July, wedding ceremonies had to take place indoors or under a permanent outdoor structure like a bandstand
A couple who married last September in the rose garden of a stately home told the government consultation: ‘We need to have our dream ceremony in our dream location, without feeling like we have to organize a ‘mock’ ceremony outside before going to do the ‘real’ piece inside.
Jessie Westwood, wedding planner for Studio Sorores and co-founder of campaign group What About Weddings, told the Mail last night: ‘I think this is a hugely positive step which will give people more flexibility. It will also be ideal for sites.
She predicted a bumper summer for weddings as so many couples have had to postpone ceremonies over the past two years.
“We are extremely busy with many last minute inquiries now that things are open again,” she said.
She said many couples are getting “bigger and bolder” this year, wanting more guests, more entertainment and even multi-day events.