Anyone involved in the wedding industry knows that you are restricted in the number of places you can tie the knot.
But it could soon be possible for couples to wed on beaches, in their own gardens, or even on a cruise ship with calls to throw out the restrictions on wedding venues currently in place.
Law Commission changes to wedding venues
The Law Commission is proposing that these old-fashioned regulations are stopping couples from being able to have a ceremony in a place that is personally significant or expresses their individual beliefs.
This is limiting the number of domestic weddings taking place, as it has become common for couples to marry abroad or even pay for two ceremonies – one that’s recognised under UK Law and one that fits in with their principles.
In the new proposal, the Law Commission says that a wedding ceremony should be able to happen in “any safe and dignified location” including family homes, forests, and village halls with the focus being on the officiant being licensed and not the venue.
This would mean that more people can have the opportunity to get married, especially useful with the wedding backlog from the Covid lockdown.
Why is this good news for brides?
This revitalisation of wedding rules is excellent news for anyone who wishes to get married but can’t afford a big ceremony. This is especially welcome news at the moment, since the cost of living has increased dramatically.
According to the websites Hitched.co.uk and BrideMagazine.co.uk, the average cost of a wedding in 2021 was over £17,000, with venue hire contributing around £7,000 to that total.
If wedding locations did not need to be specifically licensed, military sites would also be able to host same-sex marriages. The greater freedom provided by this change would be noticeable, with the complexity currently surrounding ceremonies being scrapped would allow room for a more universal set of rules to be applied across both religious and civil weddings.
Religious freedom for weddings
This relaxation of regulations for marriage services would also allow for a ceremony to be led by an interfaith minister. That would allow integration of features from both of the couple’s beliefs into the marriage ceremony.
Offering a greater choice of wedding location is also helpful for less conventional religions and beliefs as at the moment couples are subject to a myriad of seemingly unfair rules and regulations before they tie the knot.
Lessons from the pandemic
After the chaos in venue availability caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Law Commission recommended that special measures should be taken if another national emergency arises, specifically to deal with marriage proceedings. This includes measures such as allowing guests and witnesses to view a ceremony online.
Couples have often wanted to be able to tailor their celebrations to their own requirements, including choosing the registration district for their wedding. Having the ability to create your own appropriate ceremony has been met with positive feedback from many different communities.
Crackdown on forced marriages
Another big plus to the new reforms would be the increase in safeguarding measures to prevent forced and sham marriages.
When will these changes be made?
This new proposal will not happen immediately, and could even take several years to come into effect, as it needs to be enacted by parliament. However, it is possible that secondary legislation is enacted to grant recognition of humanist weddings immediately.