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Law braves the Outdoors (Wedding): Greater Freedom and Flexibility for Couples

30th June 2021 - Josie Campbell

Outdoor civil weddings and partnership ceremonies are to be legalised for the very first time, coming into force tomorrow on 1st July 2021

This landmark change in the law unpicks some of the archaic regulations which dictate precisely how, and where, marriages ought to be conducted. One such regulation requires that the civil wedding or partnership ceremony take place within a permanently immovable structure, comprising at least a room or any boat or other vessel. The opportunity to wed amidst a temporary structure or, more daringly, the open air was not an eligible option for couples - until now.

The Law Commission has long lead proposals for such reform, the 2020 Consultation Paper clearly requesting that present unfair and restrictive legislation in this area ought to give couples more freedom and flexibility over their wedding.

Covid-19 came as a definite (though undesirable) catalyst for such modernisation, provoking the Government to honour these hotly anticipated changes. In a press release issued by the Ministry of Justice on 20 June 2021, this change shall be introduced via the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 which will come into force on 1st July 2021.

 Its a nice day for an outdoors wedding.. 

It is unsurprising to see this amendment being readily welcomed by many. Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP remarked not only on the freedom-giving nature of this new fortune, but also its seminal role in patching up an already pandemic-beaten wedding industry. Lets just hope the British weather honours this new change too.

But the wedding wars arent over yet

It is important to note that, for the time being, these amendments are time-limited and await reassessment in April 2022.[1] Their implementation for the next coming months, however, will hopefully indicate the positive practical and social impact of such reforms.

In addition to this, the MoJ also made clear in their press release that these reforms are not exhaustive, with further legislative developments to be made into this area where parliamentary time allows.


[1] As according to the Ministry of Justice press release (https://www.gov.uk/government/news/outdoor-civil-wedding-and-partnership-registrations-to-be-legalised)

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