English and Welsh couples could soon be allowed to get married outside

The changes will see nuptials take place in pubs, restaurants and open-air venues


Sarah Young
Tuesday 30 October 2018 13:49 GMT

A major overhaul of wedding laws could allow more pubs, restaurants and open-air venues to host nuptials.

If you’ve ever attended a friend’s al fresco wedding in England or Wales, you might be surprised to learn that the happy couple will have had to follow this with a separate, legal ceremony at a registry office.

This is because, under current law, couples can only tie the knot at approved premises that have been licensed for the purpose by local authorities, while ceremonies in temporary structures, such as marquees, are not permitted at all.

Under new measures introduced as part of the Autumn 2018 Budget, this could all be about to change.

The overhaul of existing wedding law, which has been in place since 1836, will bring England and Wales’s wedding rules in line with Scotland, which already has a more relaxed policy that allows couples to get married at a wide variety of locations.

The move comes after a 2015 report found that marriage laws were “badly in need of reform” and that there was a strong demand for weddings to be cheap and personal.

Similarly, the Treasury said that there current rules were outdated, pushing up the cost weddings and putting some people off getting married.

“While the laws around who can get married have evolved substantially in recent years, the laws on how and where marriages must take place have remained largely unchanged since 1836,” a Treasury spokesperson told The Guardian.

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

Currently, the average cost of hiring a venue to get married stands at £5,221 but it is expected that the increase in locations available to couples will help bring this down.

According to Hitched.co.uk, the UK’s largest wedding website, the average wedding in the UK now costs £32,273, up by £5,112 – or 19 per cent – from £27,161 in 2017.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The data found that the biggest expenditures, after venue hire, were the honeymoon (£4,545), food (£4,151), engagement ring (£2,657) and drinks (£1,769).

Followed by wedding dress (£1,321), photography (£1,166), mini-moon (£1,051), video (£1,027) and entertainment (£1,014).

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in