(Closed) Can we have our wedding outdoors in England?

posted 6 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 3
2587 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - UK

@frostbites:  It’s not I’m afraid! Your ceremony will need to be held in a licensed, permanent structure. Sorry!

Post # 5
2587 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - UK

@frostbites:  I don’t think so – because a gazebo isn’t really a building.

The UK Marriage Act says marriages can only take place on ‘approved premises’. You can apply to have a venue licensed for ceremonies legally, but it has to be based on these criteria which are in section 46A of the Marriage Act:

Requirements for the Grant of Approval

    1.Having regard to their primary use, situation, construction and state of repair, the premises must, in the opinion of the authority, be a seemly and dignified venue for the proceedings.

    2.The premises must be regularly available to the public for use for—

    (a) the solemnization of marriages; or

    (b) the formation of civil partnerships.

    3.The premises must have the benefit of such fire precautions as may reasonably be required by the authority, having consulted with the fire authority [or, in England, fire and rescue authority], and such other reasonable provision for the health and safety of persons employed in or visiting the premises as the authority considers appropriate.

    4.The premises must not be—

    (a) religious premises as defined by section 6(2) of the 2004 Act;

    (b) a register office [11], but this paragraph does not apply to premises in which a register office is situated, provided that the room which is subject to approval is not the same room as the room which is the register office.

    5.The room or rooms in which the proceedings are to take place if approval is granted must be identifiable by description as a distinct part of the premises.”


Number 5 would be the kicker for your gazebo, even if the others weren’t – it couldn’t even if you were being generous be described as a distinct room.


If you look at your local council website though, the Registry section usually has a list of approved venues in their jurisdiction.

Post # 7
2587 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - UK

@frostbites:  That’s okay! Found this on the Citizen’s Advice website, which is a bit clearer:


Local authorities in England and Wales may approve premises other than Register Offices where civil marriages may take place. Applications for approval must be made by the owner or trustee of the building, not the couple.

The premises must be regularly open to members of the public, so private homes are unlikely to be approved, since they are not normally open to the public. Stately homes, hotels and civic buildings are likely to be thought suitable. Approval will not be given for open air venues, such as moonlit beaches or golf courses. Generally, the premises will need to be permanent built structures, although it may be possible for approval to be given to a permanently moored, publicly open boat. Hot air balloons or aeroplanes will not be approved.

If you want to get married in local authority approved premises you should obtain a list of premises from the local town hall. Or you can search for approved premises on the General Register Office’s website at: http://www.gro.gov.uk.



You CAN get married outside in Scotland though, so I don’t know if that might be a consideration?

Post # 9
8041 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@frostbites:  Wow I had no idea that it was illegal to get married outside in England. How odd!

Could you do a destination wedding maybe? I’d be scared to get married outdoors in England since it rains so much lol.

Maybe you could do an outdoor garden reception type thing?

Post # 10
2587 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - UK

@frostbites:  Do they have a conservatory, greenhouse or barn that you could decorate and get licensed, maybe? Although the downside of that would be that in theory it would have to be available for other people to get married in if they so wished.

OR, you could maybe do what my parents did – get legally married at the registry office earlier in the week (costs approx £80, I think?) and then have a non-legal ceremony at the farm which is your actual wedding. My parents had to do it in the 80s because the Registrars were on strike, so were refusing to go to the churches – they married on the one day in the Registry office, then again the next day in church.

Post # 14
55 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

My OH and I are getting married outside next easter at Tunnels Beaches in Devon (under a the gazebo but surrounded by cliffs and ocean- obv weather dependent but they have a gorgeous indoor back up too!) http://www.tunnelsbeaches.co.uk/venue.html  

The guys there are amazing and have been super helpful as we are trying to organise everything from Australia at the mo! 

Couple of other venues in the southwest we looked at for ‘outside’ weddings were

polhawn fort  www.polhawnfort.com/ 

Milbrook estate http://www.millbrookestate.co.uk/

Trevanna http://www.trevenna.co.uk/

we even played with the idea of a tipi for a while 🙂 http://www.cornishtipiweddings.co.uk/

Getting married outside is possible and legal in approved venues but we found some of the places get booked really quick! Hope you manage to find somewhere perfect.

Post # 15
2587 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2014 - UK

@frostbites:  It might be worth contacting the local vicar to the farm – I know a Catholic priest wouldn’t do one not in a church, but I don’t know whether an Anglican minister might be more flexible?

Are you religious? Or could you have perhaps one of your friends act as an officiant, like I’ve seen some Bees in the states do? Like a Master of Ceremonies to conduct it?

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