As the law stands currently, couples can only get married in a registered building of worship and civil weddings in a register office or on approved premises. During the Covid-19 pandemic, some rules for civil partnerships were relaxed to legal outdoor ceremonies but they also came with restrictions.
Thankfully, couples will soon be able to get married on beaches and other locations under the new wedding law changes.
The biggest overhaul of wedding law in England and Wales since the 19th century will offer couples more choice on where and how to get married by giving them more control and greater options for all beliefs and religions.
According to the Law Commission, all the rules and restrictions in the current law drove many couples to celebrate their marriage abroad and in a way that the law does not recognise -something that could result in many legal difficulties in their future. For example, only legally married couples or civil partners can inherit under the rules of intestacy.
The Law Commission is recommending that weddings should be able to take place anywhere, as long as it’s a safe and dignified location. If the proposal passes, it will allow couples to get married on a beach, in their family homes, in forests, parks, gardens and even on cruise ships.
The officiant must be regulated but the proposed reforms could also widen the group of people who could act as officiants as well as independent officiants.
Professor Nick Hopkins, the family law commissioner at the Law Commission, said: “The current law on weddings is not working for many couples. Needless restrictions and outdated regulations mean that thousands each year are denied having a wedding that is meaningful to them.
Our reforms for Government are designed to protect the established practices and dignity of weddings, while offering couples more choice on where and how they marry. “
We are excited to welcome the new proposals and see couples plan more personal and affordable weddings, which will ultimately also make all the management of the legal affairs that come with marriage easier too.