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From July 1st, couples will be able to legally be married outdoors. Under current laws, legal weddings or civil partnership ceremonies must take place in an approved premise such as a hotel and an approved room or permanent structure for the couple to say their vows. But from next month, couples will be able to have the whole ceremony outside at the venue.

This new change in the UK legal system is hoped to boost the wedding sector and help it recover from the pandemic and give couples more flexibility when choosing their ceremony venue.  Of course, this change also provides greater flexibility when there are health concerns that need to be taken to account.

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland said: “A couple’s wedding day is one of the most special times in their lives and this change will allow them to celebrate it the way that they want. At the same time, this step will support the marriage sector by providing greater choice and helping venues to meet demand for larger ceremonies.”

According to the government, this change will ultimately benefit 75% of all weddings in England and Wales that are non-religious, which take place at approved venues, as well as civil partnerships. The Marriages and Civil Partnerships Regulations 2021 (Approved Premises amendment) will come into force on 1st July 2021.

Other changes are also under consideration including offering couples more flexibility to create their ceremonies, allowing the ceremony to take place in a much broader range of locations, and powers to hold weddings remotely in a national emergency. Reforms are also proposed so other religious ceremonies can also take place outdoors.

Weddings after 21st of June:

As you have probably already heard, ‘Freedom Day’ – June 21st – has been delayed. Weddings must continue to follow social distancing measures, including wearing face coverings indoors. The 30 people cap on weddings was lifted on June 21st. There will be no maximum number of people but guestlist numbers will depend on how many people can safely be accommodated in the venue.

Read the full guidance on the government website.

If you need help planning the legal aspects of civil partnerships, pre-nuptial and separation agreements please get in touch. Our family law team has over 40 years of experience and we pride ourselves on offering a very personal service to each one of our clients.