Law on outdoor weddings

Sooo... we've booked our wedding venue after we fell in love with the idea of getting married on the lawn (see picture below)

I knew there were certain laws in place about outdoor venues but we mentioned to the planner that we intended to get married on the lawn and nothing was said so we assumed it was okay.

Fast forward a month and I go to visit the venue dresser (who supplies chair covers as part of our venue's package so clearly does a lot of weddings there!). When I told her we'd be getting married on the lawn she was surprised and said that currently, we can't legally have a ceremony there, only blessings. 

Obviously, we're shocked and a little upset that this wasn't mentioned by the venue. It's possible that they're in the process of applying for a license to hold weddings there but I still feel we should've been told this. It's also possible that they're hoping the new law announced ahead of the budget about relaxing regulations on wedding venues will come into force but again, we should've been told this.

I'm partly just here to vent my frustration at the situation but also wondered if anyone knew about when the new law is supposed to come into place? I've tried a Google search but no luck. We're due to get married next August and I'm going to email the venue tomorrow in any case.



  • MrsCToBeeMrsCToBee Posts: 2,760 New bride
    edited November 2018
    The new law hasn't even been passed through parliament yet AFAIK.
    It's possible the structure with the columns is licensed, though I thought they had to have at least 1 wall.
    I wouldn't panic until you have spoken to your venue.
  • If it comes to it you can have a humanist ceremony and then do the paperwork at the registry office to make it legal. We've chosen Scotland because you can get legally married outdoors, it's just England that's a bit behind. 
  • Ashley72Ashley72 Posts: 1,137 New bride
    Assuming they’re licensed somewhere inside, could you do the Ceremony outdoors and then go inside and do the legal bit with witnesses whilst guests mingle?
    Try to remember as well that the weather in this country is unpredictable anyway so there may have been a slim chance you wouldn’t be able to use the outdoor space anyway - try to not let the worry over this spoil your day! Even if you have to get married inside, you could still have gorgeous pictures here. Speak to your venue as you definitely should have been told about any restrictions. Hopefully you can sort something you’re happy with. I think the change in law is a fair way off so I wouldn’t count on that but address this with the venue as your dresser might not have it correct & you’re worrying for nothing!
  • I wouldn't worry too much as @Sophy1988 said, you can always do the legal bit with two witnesses beforehand and then go ahead with your wedding (using a celebrant instead) as planned. No one else has to know it isn't a legally binding wedding if you don't want them to.
  • I think the sensible thing to do would be to contact your local registry office for advise.  They will be up to date with the current guidelines.  I’m using Oxfordshire Registrars and this is the wording within their booklet, “More and more people are now choosing to be married outdoors in a garden structure.  Many of our venues I. Oxfordshire now have outdoor structures where a ceremony can be held.  Ceremonies need to be held under a fixed roof, in a structure that has been licensed for marriage, so they cannot just take place anywhere!”  Hope this helps.
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