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Outdoor civil wedding and partnership registrations to be legalised

Outdoor civil wedding and partnership ceremonies in England and Wales are set to be legalised for the first time.

Under current laws for approved premises such as a hotel, the legal wedding or civil partnership ceremony must take place in an approved room or permanent structure. It will now be possible for a couple to have the whole ceremony outside at such a venue.

On 30 June, a statutory instrument will be laid to amend the regulations with the change taking effect on 1 July. This follows a commitment made in 2019 to legalise outdoor ceremonies.

The change will benefit almost 75 per cent of all weddings in England and Wales that are non-religious and which take place on approved premises, along with civil partnerships.

A Law Commission report later this year will present options for further reforms which will then be considered carefully by the Government. Options they are considering include offering couples greater flexibility to form their own ceremonies, allowing the ceremony to take place in a much broader range of locations, and powers to hold weddings remotely in a national emergency.

These changes are being introduced via amendments to the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005 to allow legal outdoor civil weddings and civil partnership registrations to take place within the grounds of Approved Premises.

The Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 will come into force on 1st July 2021.

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