Coronavirus has changed life as we know it and one sector that’s been hit harder than most is the wedding industry. With weddings cancelled – or reduced to smaller numbers – for the majority of lockdown, people were forced to postpone their big day. But that could all be about to change, thanks to a new law.
Legal body the Law Commission have finally acknowledged that marital laws in England and Wales (which date way back to the 1800s) are ‘ancient’ and ‘unnecessarily restrictive’ because they only allow couples to legally marry in registered building, be it a licensed venue or a place of worship.
However, under new potential laws, couples will be allowed to legally marry literally anywhere, meaning nuptials can take place in your lounge, garden, at a castle or even at your favourite fast food joint (hello, Nando’s).
The new laws are designed to help couples get married in future national emergencies, such as a war or pandemics. Obviously weddings are currently banned under the national lockdown but the new law could mean weddings can take place in people’s gardens when restrictions are lifted, making weddings much cheaper and easier to organise.
Speaking about the proposed new law, Family law commissioner at the Law Commission, Professor Nick Hopkins, said: “Our proposals would give couples the freedom to choose the wedding venue they want and a ceremony that is meaningful for them.”
Founder of The Marriage Foundation Sir Paul Coleridge added: “The Law Commission’s exciting, new proposed reforms will relax many of the restrictions and open up the process so that couples can design their own wedding and tie the knot wherever they choose whether in their local church or local pub, a castle, a field or even in McDonald’s.
“We hope and believe that this will re-democratise marriage and weddings and usher in a new era of simpler, pared back ceremonies so that marriage will once again be for all.
“For far too long the perception has been growing that marriage is an out-of-date social arrangement reserved for the better off who can afford a lavish wedding and reception.
“Historically this was never so. As recently as only fifty years ago everyone wanted to get married, and they normally did, whatever their financial position.”
If you’re planning a wedding for this year or next, be sure to read our guide to whether weddings will go ahead, how to plan an epic wedding for a small guestlist and the best wedding dresses under £1,000 to snap up now.