Outdoor marriages and civil partnerships

Closes 24 Jan 2022

Opened 20 Dec 2021

Overview

This consultation seeks views on the government’s proposals to continue to permit outdoor civil marriages and civil partnerships on approved premises, and to permit outdoor religious marriages in the grounds of places of worship.

Since July 2021, couples have been able to have their civil marriage and civil partnership proceedings outside, in the grounds of buildings such as stately homes and hotels which are approved or become approved for civil ceremonies. This was made possible because the Government laid a statutory instrument (‘SI’) amidst the Covid-19 pandemic to give couples more choice of setting and to support the wedding and civil partnership sector. However, that SI only has effect until 5 April 2022. 

The government proposes to lay a further SI to enable outdoor civil marriage and civil partnership proceedings to continue indefinitely by bringing this further SI into force as soon as possible.

The government also proposes to extend the policy of permitting outdoor ceremonies to religious marriages using a separate legislative reform order. Together, these proposals would ensure that the provision for outdoor marriages and civil partnerships on approved premises continues indefinitely and would extend similar arrangements to religious weddings in the grounds of places of worship. The proposals would enable couples to have a greater choice in relation to the location of their ceremonies, and for approved premises and religious bodies to have more flexibility in the locations for ceremonies, should they choose to offer it. This reform will act as a stepping-stone towards later and more comprehensive and durable reform following the Law Commission’s recommendations, should the government decide to undertake such reform.  The Law Commission will separately present options for reforms to modernise marriage law.

The proposals would enable couples to have a greater choice in relation to the location of their ceremonies, and for approved premises and religious bodies to have more flexibility in the locations for ceremonies should they choose to offer it.

The government welcomes views or experiences on how the civil ceremony changes made in July 2021 have been working, as well as any other views on how the proposal to continue the provision for outdoor civil marriages and civil partnerships on approved premises, and to separately permit outdoor religious weddings in the grounds of places of worship, would work or the effects it might have. 

Give us your views

Audiences

  • Businesses
  • Citizens

Interests

  • Law