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Couples will be able to marry at sea, outdoors or at home under plans to relax wedding venue rules

The bride wore…a lifejacket! Couples will be able to marry at sea, outdoors or even at home under plans to relax ‘outdated’ rules on wedding venues

  • Wedding venue rules may be relaxed meaning couples could even wed at sea
  • A two-year review has been launched on how to open up wedding locations
  • Theresa May said she wanted to ensure the rules ‘kept pace with modern Britain’
  • Officials said new venues will still have to meet a test of ‘solemnity and dignity’ 

Couples will be able to marry at sea, outdoors or even at home under plans to relax ‘outdated’ rules on wedding venues, it emerged last night.

A two-year review launched by Theresa May will examine ways to open up the number of places where nuptials can take place to include ‘dream’ locations currently not allowed.

The Prime Minister said she wanted to ensure the rules ‘kept pace with modern Britain’.

At present, ceremonies must take place in register offices or approved premises which have been licensed by town hall officials. Rules which prevent alcoholic drinks being served one hour before and during the ceremony could also be scrapped

All new venues will still have to meet a test of ‘solemnity and dignity’, officials stressed.

The review of the laws on civil ceremonies in England and Wales, which will be conducted by the Law Commission, could bring them into line with Scotland, where couples have much more freedom over where they can tie the knot.

At present, ceremonies must take place in register offices or approved premises which have been licensed by town hall officials. 

A two-year review launched by Theresa May will examine ways to open up the number of places where nuptials can take place to include ‘dream’ locations currently not allowed. Mrs May is pictured in Japan for the G20 leader summit

A two-year review launched by Theresa May will examine ways to open up the number of places where nuptials can take place to include ‘dream’ locations currently not allowed. Mrs May is pictured in Japan for the G20 leader summit

Hotels account for 40 per cent of these, with country houses, golf clubs and pubs making up most of the remainder.

Unusual venues which can already host weddings include a windmill on the Norfolk coast, a submarine at a Royal Navy museum in Gosport, Hampshire, and the bottom of the pool at an Edwardian bathhouse in Manchester.

Despite this, outdoor weddings – in gardens or on beaches, for example – remain prohibited. 

Officials believe the restrictive rules are pushing up the cost of weddings and putting some off getting married.

Mrs May said last night: ‘As both Home Secretary and Prime Minister I have been proud to sponsor the legislation that created equal marriage, and to extend civil partnerships to ensure all couples are given the same choices in life.

‘The vital institution of marriage is a strong symbol of wider society’s desire to celebrate commitment between partners. But we can do more to bring the laws on marriage ceremonies up to date and to support couples in celebrating their commitment.

‘This review will look at how we can ensure marriage keeps pace with modern Britain.’

Rules which prevent alcoholic drinks being served one hour before and during the ceremony could also be scrapped.

Unusual venues which can already host weddings include a windmill on the Norfolk coast, a submarine at a Royal Navy museum in Gosport, Hampshire, and the bottom of the pool at an Edwardian bathhouse in Manchester [File photo]

Unusual venues which can already host weddings include a windmill on the Norfolk coast, a submarine at a Royal Navy museum in Gosport, Hampshire, and the bottom of the pool at an Edwardian bathhouse in Manchester [File photo]

Justice Secretary David Gauke added: ‘Getting married is a deeply personal decision, so we want couples to have greater choice in how and where they celebrate their commitment.’

The review comes amid controversy over new rules governing the end of marriages. 

Mr Gauke admitted this week that the introduction of no-fault divorces would likely lead to an increase in the number of couples splitting up.

The new Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Bill will remove allegations of adultery or unreasonable behaviour in a no-fault process. It will offer divorce within six months on the demand of just one partner.

Divorces are currently at a historic low. The 101,669 in England and Wales in 2017 – the latest figures published – were the fewest since 1971, when the last set of reforms to liberalise divorces laws went into effect.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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