Cornish wedding planners have welcomed recommendations that would allow couples in England to marry anywhere, saying they could benefit the county by drawing couples from across the UK to get married in Cornwall, when Covid-19 restrictions are eased.
The Law Commission has proposed changes which would overhaul England’s archaic wedding laws, which currently only allow legal wedding ceremonies to take place in a place of worship or licensed venue with an officiant and certain wording.
Under the proposed changes, couples would be allowed to legally marry anywhere, including outdoors. And in any future national lockdowns, the Law Commissions recommends that the law is changed so that weddings can legally take place online.
Hazel Parsons, co-founder of Out of the Ordinary Weddings, said: “The coronavirus pandemic has shown that couples would like more flexibility about how they can get married. Our clients tell us they want more choice over where they can marry and the kind of ceremony they can have.”
Out of the Ordinary Weddings is a partnership of two of Cornwall’s leading wedding planners Hazel Parsons and Rebecca Edwards, who added: “During the coronavirus pandemic we have been helping couples celebrate outdoors, in smaller venues and even online, however, these are just celebrations and the couples are still required to have a legal ceremony in a place of worship or licensed venue.”
England has lagged behind Scotland and Northern Ireland where non-religious humanist weddings are already legally binding.
Edwards said: “Scotland has allowed legally binding humanist weddings to take place anywhere since 2005. It has proved popular with couples and hospitality businesses alike, allowing Scotland to capitalise in the ‘wedding tourism’ trend. The law in England as it stands is out of step with what couples are looking for.”
Hazel Parsons believes the proposed change could benefit Cornwall’s tourism businesses and wider economy. “There is predicted to be a boom in weddings when coronavirus restrictions are eased. If the Government accepts the Law Commission’s proposals later this year and changes the law to allow legally-biding weddings to take place anywhere, Cornish businesses will definitely benefit. Many couples are looking for the beautiful coastal scenery we have in Cornwall as a backdrop to their wedding and anything which makes that more accessible is a very good thing.”
The Law Commission has carried out a consultation on its proposals to reform the law governing how and where couples can get married in England. The final report and recommendations for the Government is expected to be published later in the year.