Want marry in England or Wales and hold a legal ceremony anywhere you choose, including the ‘open air’? You might soon be able to!
On the 1st November 2018, the Law Commission announced that they will be reviewing the laws around weddings in England and Wales. We think it’s about time! Amazingly, we are all still getting married under the Marriage Act passed way back in 1836! That’s before Queen Victoria was crowned!
A change in such an out-dated law will make weddings less restrictive for today’s modern couples, as well as potentially lowering the cost of getting married.
The review will focus on the legal requirement that ceremonies need to be ‘building-based’, dating back to a time when almost everyone was a regular visitor to a place of worship. Today, over 70% of the population in England and Wales choose a civil ceremony as opposed to one that’s faith based, making the ‘building’ rule unfairly restrictive to the majority of modern couples. Wedding venues have been trying to create more options for couples by building legally recognised structures, such as garden arbors. However, most couples would prefer the freedom to choose the particular location for their ceremony, rather than being forced to use the one that’s considered legal!
As anyone planning a wedding will know, there are currently three options for your ceremony – a faith based venue, Registration office, or a licensed wedding venue. The latter is most popular yet is generally expensive, with an average spend of £6000 on wedding venues in England and Wales. By allowing couples to legally marry elsewhere, such as beaches, woodlands, gardens and cheaper unlicensed venues such as village halls and restaurants, you can slash the overall cost of your wedding. It’s exciting to think that those seeking perfect locations to host a wedding, may soon be able to legally marry at all Space & Rock venues, not just those who currently hold a civil wedding licence.
We don’t yet know what decisions the Government and Law Commission will make regarding the content of the actual marriage ceremony, but they have said they hope move away from having two systems, one based on faith and one on law. This will create a simpler system with greater choice. Some couples feel so restricted by the current options they hold two ceremonies – the ceremony they want and the legal ceremony they have to have. They do this for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they may be a couple of more than one faith, or they simply don’t want the restrictions of the unromantic, scripted, legally worded civil marriage ceremony. No matter what the reason, the cost of holding two ceremonies adds up and a simpler, reformed ceremony will save these couples money.
We’ve been in touch with the Law Commission to ask if there’s a deadline for the review and they’re yet to comment. We for one will welcome the changes! Until then, don’t forget, you can use a celebrant to have the wedding you want in the location of your dreams. Read more about celebrants HERE.
To take a look at Space & Rock’s venues, both licensed and unlicensed, check out our Spaces pages.
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Main Image – Photography from Enchanted Brides