The Law Commission has begun reviewing the current laws on how and where couples can get married. As many couples have experienced through the COVID-19 pandemic, the laws governing marriage are outdated and unnecessarily restrictive.
The Commission aims to modernise the laws to give couples greater freedom over where they can get married. The proposals will consider how to remove any unnecessary red tape which restricts choice and increases the cost of venues. It will also aim to ensure that the law can work for all couples and all faiths.
The current laws governing weddings, originally formed in 1836 are old fashioned and therefore no longer meet the needs of many couples. For example, couples must currently choose between a civil or religious ceremony and to get married, couples must get married in a registered building, place of worship or licensed venue.
The provisional proposals for reform are:
The Law Commission will be consulting on the proposals until the 3rd December 2020. They will then publish a final report, with recommendations to the government, in the second half of 2021.
The Law Commissioner Nick Hopkins said:
“A couple’s wedding day is one of the most important events in their lives. Our project aims to bring the 19th-century law up to date and make it more flexible, giving couples greater choice so they can marry in a way that is meaningful to them.
“We look forward to continuing our work in this area.”