Hurrah! Outdoor weddings in Wales and England will soon be a whole lot easier

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Anna Brech
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Want to get wed outdoors? Good news - the government is set to relax outdated laws this week

Couples who want to get married outdoors in England and Wales don’t only have the weather to worry about.

Complex laws dating back to 1837 currently mean that al fresco ceremonies can only take place in licensed structures with a solid, permanent roof.

 This often rules out picturesque settings such as beaches and gardens. Marquees are also a no-go. 

But all this is set to change under a legal shake-up to be announced by the chancellor in tomorrow’s Budget.

Want to get wed in your own back garden? It could soon be a thing

The government wants to make it easier for couples to tie the knot legally wherever they want in England and Wales, bringing both countries into line with Scotland - where wedding venue laws are already far  more relaxed. 

It’s hoped that the move will bring down the average cost of booking a venue, while also giving the hospitality sector a much-needed boost.

“Relaxing restrictions would make it cheaper and simpler for couples to get married, potentially supporting more people to get married,” The Treasury said, in a statement quoted by the BBC.

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

Currently, if you want to get married outdoors in England or Wales, you will likely have to arrange a “proper” civil ceremony first in a registry office.

As well as being a logistical headache, this also creates the additional cost of organising two events (with all the associated fees including hiring a celebrant, sorting music, arranging transport and so on).

Even in outdoor venues that are licensed for weddings, further rules that prevent food and drink being served before or after the ceremony can again ratchet up the final bill.

The proposal will open up a whole new scope for  al fresco weddings

With the average cost of a wedding in Britain standing at just over £30,000, anything to bring down the staggering financial hit is to be welcomed. 

Not only that, the reform will also open up our beautiful landscapes to further use. In Scotland, popular ceremony venues include glens, mountaintops, beaches and loch banks.

From the golden coast of Pembrokeshire to serene Lake District tarns, there is so much potential south of the border, too. Bring on the whimsy, we say - #weddinginspo just got huge. 

Images: Getty


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.