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The government has announced that outdoor civil wedding and partnership ceremonies in England and Wales are to be legalised from next month.
Under current laws, a ceremony must take place in an approved room or permanent structure in an approved premises (such as a hotel).
Ministers say the change to allow all aspects of a wedding to take place outdoors will help boost the struggling wedding sector and are in line with current public health considerations. A statutory instrument (SI) is due to be laid on 30 June to amend the regulations with the change taking effect on 1 July.
Almost 75 per cent of weddings in England and Wales are non-religious and take place on approved premises, as do civil partnerships.
A Law Commission report later this year will present options for further reforms. Options for inclusion include: offering couples greater flexibility in devising their own ceremonies, allowing ceremonies to take place in a much broader range of locations, and powers to hold weddings remotely in a national emergency.
With the exception of Jewish and Quaker weddings, which for historical reasons can already take place outdoors, legal religious weddings will continue to take place in certified places of worship which are also registered for marriage, or churches and chapels of the Church of England or Church in Wales.