This New Change To Wedding Laws Could Save Brides-To-Be A Lot Of Money

Calling all 2019 brides...

outdoor wedding

by Katie Rosseinsky |

If you’ve ever watched an American rom-com (or just had the misfortune to catch a ‘what happened next’ special of The Batchelor) culminate in an al fresco wedding and wondered why outdoor ceremonies aren’t a thing this side of the Atlantic, the answer (surprisingly) has nothing to do with the notoriously erratic British weather: it’s simply the result of a law that has been in place for over 180 years, which prohibits couples from getting married on beaches, in gardens or beneath marquees in England and Wales. However, under new measures expected to be introduced as part of today’s Budget, this could all change, finally allowing weddings to take place outside.

The existing regulations, which were introduced in 1836, decreed that a couple could only legally marry in a solid structure with a permanent roof. It’s thought that the change in rules could help curtail the rising cost of weddings, as it may allow more couples to opt for lower-key ceremonies in cheaper locations; it is also expected to give the hospitality industry a boost by allowing more small businesses to apply for a wedding license.

‘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.’

The government is reportedly keen to investigate ways of making the legislation around wedding venues more relaxed, while still maintaining the dignity of the marriage ceremony. The move would bring laws in line with Scotland, where couples have enjoyed a greater choice of venue (including outdoor locations) for many years.

The changes could also allow couples to get married in a restaurant or bar: current legislations state that the venue’s licence holders must ensure that no food or drink is sold, bought or consumed in the specific wedding area an hour before or after the ceremony takes place.

With recent reports finding that the average British wedding costs around £30,000 (with £4,500 on average being spent on venue hire), these new measures will doubtless be welcomed by brides and grooms-to-be.

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