New marriage laws will finally allow Brits to get married outside

Couples will also be able to get hitched at sea

Updated on 01 July 2019 • Written By Caroline Hendry

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New marriage laws will finally allow Brits to get married outside

The government plans to scrap outdated wedding laws which currently ban couples from marrying outdoors.

Prime Minister Theresa May has launched a two-year Law Commission review of wedding laws for England and Wales. The current rules date back to almost 200 years ago and feel increasingly outdated as religious wedding ceremonies fall out of favour.   

If the proposed changes go ahead, loved-up couples will soon be able to tie the knot at sea, on the grounds of a family property or even at a military base. Currently, wedding ceremonies in England and Wales must take place on a “permanently immovable structure” or “permanently moored boat” and handed a licence by local authorities.

The change in law would also apply to civil partnerships, with venues and outdoor spaces granted permission to host wedding ceremonies if they meet the existing standards of what is framed as “solemnity and dignity”.

The major shake-up of Britain’s marital laws is being spearheaded by the government in an attempt to lower the rising cost of weddings. On average, a wedding in the UK can cost £20,000 to £30,000, while the average cost of a venue is now around £4,500.

Speaking about the planned changes, The Prime Minister commented: “The vital institution of marriage is a strong symbol of wider society’s desire to celebrate commitment between partners, but we can do more to bring the laws on marriage ceremonies up to date and to support couples in celebrating their commitment. This review will look at how we can ensure marriage keeps pace with modern Britain.”

The move is also about helping to cut down on the red tape surrounding nuptials. Justice Secretary David Gauke comments: “Getting married is a deeply personal decision, so we want couples to have greater choice in how and where they celebrate their commitment. Whilst we will always preserve the dignity of marriage, people from all walks of life should be able to express their vows in a way that is meaningful to them. This review will look at the red tape and outdated rules around weddings – making sure our laws are fit for modern life.”

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