A new law allowing outdoor weddings for civil ceremonies to take place has come into effect today, and will remain in place until April 2022. The decision to permit the legal proceedings to take place in locations other than the usual approved rooms or permanent structures enables couples to stay abreast of Covid safety boundaries.

While indoor venues have been given the green light to lift the 30-attendee restrictions, they remain limited by social distancing guidelines based on the available space. Outdoor ceremonies, meanwhile, are able to have a larger number of attendees, making this new legislation a welcome change for couples planning to marry this summer, as they won’t have to cap their number of wedding invitations. Outdoor wedding attendees are also not required to wear face coverings, unlike their indoor counterparts.

Although these changes are currently temporary, a review of the new wedding law will take place, with a view to making the option of outdoor weddings permanent. The ceremonies must still take place on the grounds of approved licenced venues, however, in 2020, the Law Commission suggested that a review of beaches, parks and private gardens to ascertain their suitability as potential wedding venues was a future possibility.

Unlike many new laws, this new approval of outdoor venues has been introduced directly by government ministers, rather than being voted on by MPs. It is hoped that the changes will inject a much-needed financial boost to the wedding industry, as couples may opt for outdoor ceremonies with a larger number of attendees, rather than postponing their big day until summer 2022.