Law Commission proposes more freedom for couples to choose where they marry


The Law Commission has launched a consultation on marriage reform, including a proposal that couples should be given more freedom to choose where they marry.

The law governing weddings can be seen as outdated and restrictive. The Law Commission is consulting on proposals to modernise those laws, giving couples greater freedom over where they hold their weddings and the form the ceremony will take. To modernise and improve wedding law, some of the proposed changes would:

• Allow weddings to be conducted outdoors, such as on a beach or in a private garden.
• Allow weddings to take place in a wider variety of buildings. For example, in private homes.
• Offer couples greater flexibility over the form their wedding ceremony would take. For example, they could use a variety of ceremonies (religious and non-religious) to mark their wedding.
• Simplify the process of getting married, making it easier for couples to follow.
• Provide a framework allowing non-religious belief organisations to conduct legally binding weddings.
• Provide a power to allow weddings to take place remotely during any future national emergency, such as another pandemic.

The Law Commission will be consulting on the proposals until 3 December 2020. It is expected that they will produce a report with their conclusions and recommendations in 2021.

Katherine Parker is an associate solicitor in the Family Department at Barker Gotelee Solicitors in Ipswich.

Suffolk Family Solicitors – for more information on our range of legal services, please call the team on 01473 611211 or email bg@barkergotelee.co.uk