Let’s get hitched Al Fresco!

More couples could be able to get married outdoors or at home as part of a shake-up of the law designed to cut the cost of weddings announced in the recent budget.

A review of wedding venues in England and Wales will look at lifting restrictions on outdoor locations, such as gardens and beaches, and temporary structures.

The move could bring England and Wales into line with Scotland, where couples have for years enjoyed much more freedom in where they can tie the knot. In Scotland, religious marriages can take place anywhere, while venues for civil marriages are agreed by couples and the appropriate registration bodies and humanist marriages can be staged at a venue agreed with the celebrant.

At the moment, couples have a limited choice on where they get hitched, whether they are having a church wedding or a civil ceremony.

Civil ceremonies must take place in register offices or approved premises, like East Dene, that have been licensed for the purpose by local authorities.

‘Cheaper and simpler’

Weddings can only legally take place outside if they are ‘solemnised’ in a structure (there’s a phrase you don’t use every day) with a solid, permanent roof such as a gazebo. Ceremonies in temporary structures, such as marquees, are not permitted.

Requirements that couples specify the building in which the ceremony is to take place – and restrictions on the consumption of food and drink in the area before and during the event – date from 1837.

The Treasury said “Relaxing restrictions would make it cheaper and simpler for couples to get married, potentially supporting more people to get married.”

“This review will help the law keep pace with modern Britain while helping people keep the cost down.”


Check This! How much do we spend on weddings in the UK? £30,355

The average cost of a wedding in Britain, as of July 2018

  • £6,152 Venue

  • £5,862 Food and drink

  • £1,039 Music and entertainment

  • £323 Cake

Bridebook National Wedding Survey

The review, to be carried out by the Law Commission, will examine how and where marriages can take place and how to meet the “growing demand” for legally-binding outdoor weddings.

The Law Commission said its work on the subject had shown there was a strong demand for weddings to be “cheap and personal, while retaining the dignity of marriage ceremonies”.

Fascinating Fact: Anglican, Catholic, Methodist and Muslim weddings are required to take place in buildings certified as a place of worship and registered for the purpose of religious marriage, Jewish and Quaker weddings are not subject to similar restrictions.