The major reform that will change future weddings for good

A major change is coming soon that will transform the wedding industry in England and Wales forever.

Currently, all non-religious weddings and civil partnerships must be held indoors or under a permanent outdoor structure, such as a bandstand, in order to be legally binding. However, this is soon about to change, as outdoor civil weddings and partnerships are to be legalised permanently in England and Wales.

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Until now, those who wished to wed in the open air have also been required to have a separate ceremony (such as at a registry office), in order for the wedding to be officially recognised in the eyes of the law.

However, during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, these rules were relaxed to allow for social distancing, and after a government consultation found that 96 per cent of respondents were in favour of outdoor ceremonies being legalised, the change is here to stay, giving couples greater flexibility in how and where they choose to celebrate their big day.

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The change will no doubt help relieve the wedding industry somewhat, which, after two years of heavy restrictions and cancelled ceremonies, is now under crippling pressure to catch up with the bottleneck of weddings.

But before betrothed couple dash off to their nearest field of wheat, they should note that outdoor ceremonies will still need to be held in the grounds of licensed venues.

The Ministry of Justice reported that the proposal had received ‘overwhelming support’ from the public and the wedding industry, and that ‘every major faith group supported the move.’

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Indeed, a recent study from the University of Warwick and Exeter found that existing wedding laws in England and Wales are ‘outdated and restricted’, and that they do not reflect the diversity of faiths and beliefs in contemporary society.

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.’