Outdoor civil weddings will become legal in England and Wales for the first time from next month.
Approved venues such as hotels will be allowed to host ceremonies from July 1 through April in a bid to allow more guests to attend events impacted by social distancing rules.
The change will also apply to civil partnerships and the government will launch a consultation to see if it should extend beyond April 2022 and become permanent.
Currently, legal marriage or civil partnership ceremonies must take place in an approved hall or permanent structure.
The government says the change will benefit nearly 75% of all marriages in England and Wales that are not religious and take place at approved premises.
Justice Secretary Robert Buckland said the move would allow couples to celebrate their partnership “however they want” despite the pandemic.
“The reforms I announced today relate to flexibility in the existing approved premises to hold the wedding ceremony outdoors,” he told Sky’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday.
“This creates more flexibility for the premises to have more guests in a safe manner.
âOrganizing a wedding outside would be a civil wedding – it cannot be a religious wedding or a Church of England marriage – but a civil wedding or a civil partnership ceremony that can be taking place outdoors rather than indoors allows for this greater flexibility.
âObviously each venue will have their own guidelines and rules, but that just allows couples to be more imaginative about how they can accommodate their friends and loved ones on what is the most special day of their lives. “
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson postponed the easing of the lockdown for another four weeks beyond the original target date of June 21, an easing of some coronavirus restrictions will lead to an increase in the number of people allowed to attend weddings .
The current limit of 30 guests for ceremonies in England will be lifted starting tomorrow with places invited instead to limit the number based on social distancing requirements.
As part of the rules for weddings starting Monday and before all restrictions are lifted on July 19, guests will be invited to sit at tables that can seat up to six people and receptions will only be served at table.
The dancing is “not recommended due to the increased risk of transmission,” but the couple’s first dance is allowed and dance floors must remain closed, the government said.
Singing in congregation and in community is also “strongly discouraged”.
For weddings taking place inside private homes, the limit of six people will remain, with the exception of 30 guests in place for deathbed ceremonies – where one partner is seriously ill and should not. not recover.