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Farah Khalid

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As a result of the pandemic, temporary measures were introduced legalising outdoor weddings at licensed venues in England and Wales.

However, given the overwhelming support from the public, various faith groups and the wedding industry, this temporary measure will now continue indefinitely. This means that couples can now have the whole wedding ceremony outside in the venue’s grounds – providing them with greater flexibility and choice.

This is a pioneering change given that prior to last summer, civil ceremonies at a licensed wedding venue had to take place inside approved rooms or permanent structures.

Marrying couples will now have greater choice in how they celebrate their big day given that outdoor weddings at licensed venues in England and Wales will be legalised permanently.

The term “outdoor” is defined as ‘any areas within the boundary of the land of which the built premises form part, which are not built premises and which may be used in common with the built premises’. The term “built premises” is defined as ‘permanently immovable structure comprising at least a room, or any boat or other vessel which is permanently moored’’.

It is important to note that the venue itself must still be registered and licensed to host weddings be it indoors or outdoors.

Therefore, those wishing to celebrate their special day outdoors, do make sure that the venue itself is registered and licensed to host weddings. 

This is also critical for those entering into a religious wedding in that while you can enter into, for example, an Islamic wedding known as a Nikah outdoors, you will not be able to marry legally outdoors if the venue itself is not registered or licensed to host weddings. You will then find yourself in a situation where you and your partner are cohabitees in the eyes of the law and not a legally married couple, which was the actual intention.

Whether it is indoors or outdoors, a couple’s wedding day is one of the most special times in their lives and they should be able to celebrate it how they want. However, it is important they ensure any wedding ceremony results in a legal marriage. We also encourage both parties to ensure they understand the legal consequences of entering into a marriage and to consider pre-nuptial agreements to avoid acrimony and misunderstanding if things do not go as they hope.

Consistent with our policy when giving comment and advice on a non-specific basis, we cannot assume legal responsibility for the accuracy of any particular statement. In the case of specific problems we recommend that professional advice be sought.


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If you have any questions relating to this article or have any legal matters you would like to discuss, please contact the family team.

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