Blog, Ideas & Inspiration

Outdoor weddings in England and Wales to be permanently legalised

March 16, 2022

Outdoor weddings and civil ceremonies in England and Wales will be permanently legalised from April 6th 2022, in plans set out by the Government; it has been announced.

Due to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, a temporary relaxation of the rules surrounding outdoor weddings in England and Wales was announced in the summer of 2021. The move proved hugely successful, supporting the wedding sector through a challenging period, and allowing couples far more freedom of choice over the type of ceremony, and its location, than ever before.

Justice Minister Tom Pursglove MP said: “A wedding is one of the most important days in a person’s life and it is right that couples should have greater choice in how they celebrate their special occasion.”

Under previous legislation, outdoor ceremonies were only allowed if the service took place in a permanent ‘outdoor’ structure; such as a bandstand.

So, can I hold my outdoor wedding anywhere?

Outdoor weddingsNot quite! For now, the changes apply only to venues that already hold an indoor civil ceremony licence (such as Two Woods Estate in West Sussex, pictured) – which will be extended to cover the entire venue, including its outdoor spaces too. Though the government is set to consider further changes following a law commission report due out in July this year.

So, for the time being the rules for holding outdoor weddings in fields, private homes and settings that don’t have a permanent, licenced premises on site, remain unchanged. It will be interesting to see what further changes come as a result of July’s law commission report!

What does this mean for marquee weddings?

It looks like good news. Previously, because marquees are temporary, rather than permanent structures, they weren’t permissible locations for outdoor wedding ceremonies under previous rules.

Outdoor weddings

Image: Bespoke at Littleton Manor

However, as far as we understand, the new laws mean that, so long as a venue has an indoor civil licence, the ceremony can take place anywhere within its grounds. And this would include taking place within a marquee too!

Marquee wedding receptions have always been hugely popular.  Marquees are regularly erected at hotels and stately homes. Ceremony usually taking place inside the brick-built venue, before attendees move to a purpose-built marquee reception space within the grounds for the wedding breakfast and post ceremony celebrations.

One problem that is often encountered at such venues is limitations on space for attendees during the ceremony itself. However, as every marquee is bespoke designed, the space can be designed to accommodate all of the guests that couples would like to have attend their and witness their vows.

Are marquees suitable for outdoor weddings?

Yes. There are many different types of marquees available. If you’re interested in holding an outdoor wedding in a marquee, there’s bound to be an option to suit you.

Outdoor weddings pagoda marqueeFrame tents and traditional pole tent marquees can offer an entirely enclosed space where both ceremony and reception can take place. There are lots of ways in which the space can be made to work in interesting and innovative ways.

Reveal curtains are a fantastic way to section off the marquee space, introducing an element of surprise to proceedings too. They’re ideal for hiding things like dining spaces and stages, which can later be dramatically revealed to audiences.

If you don’t want the entire event to be based within a marquee, then beautiful pagoda marquees (sometimes referred to as Chinese hats) can provide an attractive space and focal point for the ceremony and then pre reception drinks. Ideal if your chosen venue doesn’t have an existing permanent structure for your ceremony to take place within.

Don’t forget that you can also choose the exact location for your marquee too. Why not take advantage of amazing views and surroundings; whether they be natural surroundings or a view back to a stately home for example?

Discover more and plan your perfect outdoor wedding

Outdoor weddings marquee wedding ceremeonyIf you would like to understand more about outdoor wedding ceremonies, then please give us a call. We’ve been designing and building marquee wedding reception venues for over 40 years. We have the expertise and experience to deliver, beautiful and amazing spaces for receptions – and now ceremonies too.

We also have a vast network of wedding industry suppliers and specialists at our fingertips; we’ll be more than happy to recommend the best and most suitable to you for your occasion.

Call 01372 459485 or email sales@inside-outside.co.uk to find out more.

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