Tel: 0203 319 3643

Fax: 0208 894 5300

Emergency: 0750 625 5550

Law reform could bring in weddings on the beach

By Michael Cross >>

(19 July 2022)

Law Commission proposals to reform the laws governing wedding ceremonies have been widely welcomed, including by the Law Society. As predicted by Gazette columnist Joshua Rozenberg yesterday the commission recommends regulation focusing on the officiant responsible for the ceremony rather than on the building where the wedding can take place. This would allow an authorised officiant, who would have legal responsibility, to conduct weddings on beaches, gardens or onboard ships.

The commission’s report, published today, follows a request by the government to review wedding law, following concerns that it is not working for many couples. It concludes that current rules and regulations governing weddings are ‘confusing, out-of-date and restrictive’. It recommends universal rules for all weddings, meaning the different laws for different religious groups and civil weddings would no longer persist.

Law Society of England and Wales president I. Stephanie Boyce said the report ‘offers a much-needed opportunity to bring our marriage laws into the 21st century’.

‘Many marriage laws have not been updated since the late 1940s and they set specific and often surprising requirements around how, where and when couples can wed. Many couples will be unaware that temporary measures brought in during the height of the pandemic – such as civil ceremonies and civil partnerships taking place outside – have only recently been made permanent.

‘Allowing this change means couples have more flexibility and choice on their wedding day, as well as a greater variety of venues with a wider range of officiants.’

(Courtesy: The Law Society Gazette)