New Outdoor Wedding Laws Explained

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Outdoor wedding couple

New Outdoor Wedding Laws Explained

Today the Ministry of Justice released the news that outdoor civil wedding ceremonies will now be permitted in a much wider range of locations! This is welcome news for many couples, but it’s important to be aware that the new rules only apply to a limited number of venues in England and Wales. In this article we explain the recent changes to outdoor wedding laws and provide a searchable list of our licensed outdoor wedding venues across the UK.

How have the outdoor wedding laws changed?

In July 2021, temporary measures were introduced in order to open up a wider range of locations for couples to wed outdoors. This was largely to curtail the spread of COVID-19, but it also tied in with a long-running review into the buildings-based system for civil weddings.

These measures were due to expire in April 2022, but following a public consultation they have now been made permanent. In addition, religious venues will soon be able to open up their outdoor spaces for legally binding weddings.

This law change applies to wedding venues in England and Wales that already have an indoor civil ceremony licence. So as long as the venue has a licence to hold legally binding wedding ceremonies in at least one area, then it will be permitted to hold these ceremonies outdoors as well – anywhere within its boundary. Prior to this change, the outdoor area itself would have needed to hold a civil ceremony licence.

So can we have an outdoor wedding anywhere?

As long as the venue has a civil ceremony licence, then yes, you can have a legally binding outdoor ceremony anywhere within its boundary. However, this law change does not apply to venues that don’t hold a licence, such as private gardens, or fields, woodlands, beaches, etc without a permanent structure in place.

So the options are still a little limited. However, if you choose a celebrant to lead your wedding then you can have an outdoor ceremony literally anywhere. Plus you’d get a much more personalised and bespoke ceremony. But it does mean you would need to complete the legal paperwork separately, e.g. at the register office.

Will these laws be relaxed further?

We hope so! There is a separate Law Commission review in progress that is looking in detail at how the wedding laws of England and Wales can be amended to give couples greater choice. Final recommendations on this are due to be passed to government in July 2022.

So if you’re hoping to wed in your own garden or to have a more personalised, bespoke ceremony with zero restrictions, that’s the one to watch!

How can we find a licensed outdoor wedding venue?

If you’ve got your heart set on having a legally binding outdoor civil ceremony, then we hope we’ll be able to help you find your dream venue! Below is a breakdown of our listed outdoor wedding venues that are approved to hold outdoor wedding ceremonies under these new laws (or under the existing laws for venues in Scotland). You can contact each venue via its profile page to find out more.

Start your search

To get started, simply use the filtering options below to search our listed venues with an outdoor ceremony licence across the UK. Happy hunting!