A shake-up of wedding laws could soon allow couples to marry during a day out at the beach, in a garden or on a cruise ship.
According to the Law Commission, the current laws on weddings in England and Wales are “stuck in time” and do not work for most couples.
Under existing rules, religious weddings have to take place in a registered place of worship and civil weddings in a register office, or on approved premises or their grounds.
Instead, the Law Commission, which advises the Government on law reform, is recommending that weddings should be able to take place anywhere – such as family homes, gardens, beaches, forests, parks, village halls and cruise ships – as long as the presiding official considers it safe and dignified.
The proposed changes mean couples will be able to get married on the beach, in a park or in coastal waters without the location needing a licence.
This would give couples more freedom to personalise their ceremony as the officiant, not the location, would be regulated.
It will also mean military sites can host same-sex marriages for the first time.
The proposal couldn’t come at a better time as the demand for “smaller and cheaper” venues is at an all time high thanks to the rising cost of living and ‘Covid backlog’ of weddings.
Where to tie the knot
Lusty Glaze beach, in Newquay, is a privately owned beach and says it is the only spot in Cornwall where couples can be legally married on the sands. Endless seascapes, fiery sunsets and dramatic cliffs – if the Law Commission’s recommendations are approved, expect to see a lot more weddings on beaches across the UK.
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The East Wing at Wolterton Hall is a privately owned seven-bedroom apartment in an 18th century Palladian manor. The regal property is available for rent via AirBNB, and under suggested changes, the private garden could make for a magnificent wedding.
Bude Sea Pool in Cornwall is a partially man-made tidal swimming pool or lido in the rocks at Summerleaze Beach, Bude that has provided a haven for free and safe bathing since the 1930s. And for water lovers, it’s a great potential wedding venue as people could get married in swimming baths and pools (but probably the shallow end given the requirement for safety).
The National Botanic Gardens of Wales is a lush option for plant lovers. The botanical garden features the world's largest single-span glasshouse and the largest collection of Mediterranean plants in the northern hemisphere.
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