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Can you legally get married outside in the UK?

The short answer is yes, you can get married outside in the UK. The longer answer? Unfortunately you can’t legally marry anywhere you choose. Under current laws, you can only marry at a licensed venue and they need to have a fixed, permanent structure hence the abundance of wedding venues with gazebos. We’re not licensed and so admit that we’ve thought about getting a gazebo ourselves but when we ran this past some of our couples, there was a huge outcry that we should not be going down that path. “There are gazebos everywhere” we were told. “We like Brook Farm because it is different and we are free to style it as we want.” So that was the end of that.

The good news is that the law surrounding weddings is currently being reviewed. It is hard to believe that our current law was made in 1836! Because not a lot has changed since then has it?! As I write this today, the Law Commission are analysing consultees’ responses and a report is due to be published with recommendations towards the end of 2021.  They aim to present a reformed law of weddings that will allow couples greater choice within a simple, fair and consistent legal structure, so that people can have a wedding that’s meaningful to them. Well overdue but at least this is happening.

So what do you do in the meantime if you want an outdoor wedding? The vast majority of our couples invite their guests to their ‘wedding’ at Brook Farm. The guests arrive to see the most beautiful and unique ceremony set up. They sit beside the lake and then watch the bride make her entrance through Pine Tree Aisle.  They then witness a deeply personalised ceremony ~ a ceremony like no other. The couple exude happiness. This is it. This is the real deal. This is exactly as the couple had planned it. Some antiquated wedding law is not going to take their dreams away from them.

But what is actually happening I hear you cry? You’ve already told us you’re not a licensed venue.

The couple are already legally married – they will have done this a few days to a week before in a bog standard registry office with just an intimate few. Now they are having their outdoor wedding just as they want it. Their wedding is taking place where they have chosen it to. They have a unique celebrant led ceremony which has been designed just for them. (I’ve talked about celebrants before but if you’ve not looked into them yet – do it. It’s a game changer.) And that’s it.

Until we have a new law passed that hopefully will recognise what we need from a wedding law today, we have our workaround. And as workarounds go, it’s pretty special.

Photo Credit; Michelle Cordner Photography