Civil weddings and partnership ceremonies will be able to take place outdoors for the first time in England and Wales from 1st July.
Under current laws for approved premises such as a hotel, the legal wedding or civil partnership ceremony must take place in an approved room or permanent structure.
It will now be possible for a couple to have the whole ceremony outside at such a venue.
The government says the change will give more options to couples and the sector in terms of how they celebrate and host the big day by allowing all aspects of weddings to take place outdoors – providing greater flexibility especially during the pandemic when there are public health considerations to consider.
With the exception of Jewish and Quaker weddings, which for historical reasons can already take place outdoors, legal religious weddings must still 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.
The Government will legislate to allow religious marriages to take place outdoors when parliamentary time allows.
Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP said:
“A couple’s wedding day is one of the most special times in their lives and this change will allow them to celebrate it the way that they want.
"At the same time, this step will support the marriage sector by providing greater choice and helping venues to meet demand for larger ceremonies.
"The change will benefit almost 75% of all weddings in England and Wales that are non-religious and which take place on approved premises, along with civil partnerships."
A Law Commission report later this year will present options for further reforms which will then be considered by the Government. Options they are considering include offering couples greater flexibility to form their own ceremonies, allowing the ceremony to take place in a much broader range of locations, and powers to hold weddings remotely in a national emergency.