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Civil ceremonies are now legally permitted to take place outdoors, within the grounds of Approved Premises, in England and Wales.

The change in legislation came into effect 1st July 2021, following a recent announcement by the Ministry of Justice.

Under the existing law, Approved Premises are required to have an approved room or permanent structure where the ceremony of civil weddings and civil partnerships can take place. These venues are permitted to begin outdoor ceremonies from 1st July 2021, without the need to re-apply for approval. This includes venues such as hotels and country houses.

New applicants for Approved Premises wishing to take advantage of the opportunity to hold outdoor ceremonies must also ensure that they have at least one room within the venue which can be approved for civil weddings and civil partnership registration.

Although this change is only a temporary measure until April 2022, the news will be reassuring for couples who have been conflicted about whether to postpone their weddings. It is likely to put many couples at ease who would feel more comfortable going ahead with their civil wedding or civil partnership in an outdoor setting to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

It is expected that the Government will review the existing law to determine if the change should be made permanent.

You can read the full announcement from the Ministry of Justice here.

Mincoffs are here to help

Our Licensing team can assist venues looking to take advantage of the opportunity to hold outdoor civil ceremonies to submit their applications. To speak to a member of the team call 0191 281 6151 or email Matt Foster, Head of Licensing and Gaming on

Or, if you’re getting married and would like to find out more about pre-nuptial agreements, speak to an expert in our Family Law team by calling call 0191 281 6151 or emailing Emily Cannell, Partner on who will be happy to discuss your options.

With all of the uncertainty surrounding weddings, a pre-nuptial agreement is likely to be the last thing on a couples mind. However, it is a sensible approach and increasingly common for couples to opt to have a pre-nuptial agreement drawn up in the unfortunate event that their marriage or civil partnership breaks down.

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