5 Essential Things You Need to Know About the Outdoor Wedding Law Change

Something just hit the news and I am beyond excited!

It has been spoken about for years, and was (almost) promised to happen a couple of years ago…and since then we’ve been waiting.

The pandemic-born #whataboutweddings campaign has put a spotlight on the need for outdoor weddings to be legal, and this month, the government has taken the next step and announced:

Outdoor weddings are going to be legal!

But before you head off to the local woods to take advantage of this outdoor wedding law change, there is a few things you need to know.


When does the outdoor wedding law change come into effect?

This is not a permanent law change. Yet. At least I hope it’s a: yet!

Under the new rules, you will be able to get married outdoors from 1st July 2021 until April 2022. It’s basically a trial.*

The government promises a consultation for this autumn to see what a permanent change should look like.

Hopefully, this means outdoor weddings will still be legal after April 2022, but you might want to hold off planning your outdoor ceremony at your 2022 summer wedding.


Where does the outdoor wedding law change apply?

First of all, this outdoor wedding law change applies to England and Wales only.

The laws for Scotland and Northern Ireland remain unchanged. But then, Scotland has had legal outdoor ceremonies for years.



What ceremonies will be legal outdoors?

This outdoor wedding law change applies to civil ceremonies only, that is civil weddings and civil partnerships.

The rules for church weddings are still inside the church. As cool as it would be to have a goth wedding next to granny’s grave in the churchyard, it’s not going to be legal.

PS: If you are planning to be the first couple to have your goth wedding in a graveyard, give me a call. I want to photograph it!


What locations can you get legally married at?

Don’t we all dream of getting married on our favourite beach?

Apart from the reliably unreliable British weather, this outdoor wedding law change still only allows weddings at approved premises.**

But, you can now get legally married anywhere in the grounds of an approved venue. There is no need for a permanent outdoors structure (gazebos and bandstands) anymore.

For the first time in history, you can get married under the blue sky!

So, you can have a woodland or beach wedding if you find a venue that has its own beach or woodland.


Covid restictions still apply

This new outdoor wedding law change does not overrule covid restrictions. They are a sparate rule, so we’ll just have to roll with it and keep our fingers crossed that they will have ended by the time your wedding comes around.

Anyways, let’s hope this outdoor wedding law change means that in any possible future restrictions, outdoor weddings will be considered separately from indoor weddings and will be tailored to the fact that everyone is outdoors (read: less strict 😊 ).


Get planning!

There you go. That is all you need to know about the law change to get planning your outdoor ceremony.

If you are just at the beginning of your outdoor wedding planning or you even only just started thinking about it because you heard of the outdoor wedding law change, check out my other outdoor wedding related blog posts that you might find helpful:



If you are wondering how to get the best photos at your outdoor wedding, come rain or shine, get in touch. I am happy to help!



* Wondering what day in April 2022? Sorry, the government website currently does not specify. So keep checking for updates if you are getting married in April.

**a venue that the registry office has approved to hold civil ceremonies


All information on day this blog was published in accordance with below government press release of 20th June 2021. Please check with your registry office for any changes.




07505 289 285


Specialist Outdoor Wedding Photographer from Guildford, covering Surrey, Hampshire, Sussex, Berkshire and the rest of the UK and the EU.