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A new place for your wedding ceremony

21 June 2021 | Louise Kiely

The current law on weddings state that ceremonies can take place in an approved premise such as a hotel or registry office and need to be performed in a room or permanent structure.

From 1 July 2021 couples in England and Wales will be able to have their entire civil ceremony outside at such venues. The ceremony must take place within the grounds of an approved premises, so you can’t yet get married at your local park. However, a Law Commission report later this year will present further reforms around the flexibility of a ceremony.

The changes are being implemented via amendments to the Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) Regulations 2005. The change will give couples more flexibility when planning their ceremony and allows those who are conscious of being indoors with a large number of people during the Covid-19 pandemic to still hold a ceremony.

Although the Covid-19 rules are being relaxed and the cap on guests will be lifted, indoor venues are being asked to limit the number of guests based on the space available and social distancing measures.

Currently the change only applies to civil ceremonies and is temporary in nature. The changes apply from 1 July 2021 to April 2022 and will allow more guests to attend whilst still adhering to social distancing rules. A further consultation will take place prior to April 2022 to decide whether the changes should become permanent.

The government says that it plans to introduce the same measures for religious ceremonies however this will be when parliamentary time allows. We shall see when this transpires.

Below are some of the new rules that will be implemented from June 21st:

  • More than 30 guests may attend a wedding (both indoor or outdoor) provided all social distancing measures and rules are followed.
  • Civil ceremonies can take place outside at approved venues from 1st July.
  • If outside, marquees or tents should be at least 50% open.
  • Indoor performances can take place; choirs, bands, and musicians may perform in a group up to six indoors. Outdoors they may perform in groups of up to 30.
  • Dancing is “advised against” except for a couples first dance. All dancefloors must remain closed.
  • Food and drink must be ordered, served and consumed whilst seated at a table.
  • Attendees and venue staff must wear face coverings indoors with the exception of eating or drinking.

Specialist Advice

If you require any advice prior to your ceremony, please contact Louise Kiely by calling 0117 906 9437 or email l.kiely@gl.law

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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