Ceremony timings to be lifted


Couples who wish to marry under the stars in the moonlight maybe just maybe are about  to have their wish granted with the ban on night time weddings being lifted.
Current laws in the UK (The Marriage Act 1836) state that a wedding ceremony  has to take place between the hours of 8am and 6pm. The Church of England rules are not intended to be changed but it appears that civil ceremony restrictions are possibly set to be removed under the new proposals which are part of Protection of Freedoms Bill.  These changes will allow marriages to take place 24 hours a day in England and Wales and will also apply to civil partnerships. 
There are currently not the same time restrictions in Scotland.  The changes are expected to boost the demand for evening civil weddings especially during the summer months
Although England has a long way to go before they match up to the 24 hour weddings of Las Vegas – the new proposals will not allow last minute weddings as you get at the chapels in Las Vegas as at least 15 days notice will will be required.  
(Image courtesy of bbc.co.uk)
What do you think about these proposed changes.  Do you fellow planners think they will be popular?  In reality we wonder how keen Registars will be to perform ceremonies at midnight and how much it will actually cost people to have a Registar come out to perform a ceremony at that time?  There are all kinds of practical implications involved with having ceremonies at unusual times but as planners we would welcome the opportunity to work with couples who want a wedding which is out of the ordinary – it could make for more creative and unique weddings.  
Perhaps the general public don’t understand that you CAN  have a ceremony event now at any time of the day or night and at whatever venue you wish by having your legal ceremony perhaps with just the bride and groom with two witnesses in your jeans the day before your “wedding” – here you say the legal vows but you don’t event  need to exchange rings.  You can there hire a bespoke ceremony company/celebrant who will write a personal ceremony for you (with or without your involvement) and you can have that ceremony in front of your family and friends, exchange rings, say whatever you like and you are not bound by the restrictions of the laws we have in this country.  Maybe generally its not well known enough yet that this kind of service exists  and perhaps a change in the law is not really needed – just better promotion of ceremony companies and more promotion from local Councils of that service rather than a change in the law.  Will a change in the law put ceremony companies out of business?

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6 thoughts on “Ceremony timings to be lifted

  1. It’s an interesting one as there are implications both good and bad. Evening weddings are planned after 5:00 p.m so these weddings are usually quite formal. They are easier for people who have to work to get to and they take advantage of cooler evening temperatures and lighter evenings in the summer. These weddings also make planning your wedding reception activities easier to do because people will be expecting dinner and dancing after an evening wedding. The drawbacks of these weddings are that you have to deal with darkness, you may have to deal with evening storms and you may need to arrange for special transportation for your guests to ensure that they get to and from your reception safely, especially if you are planning on serving alcohol.

    In respect to brides themselves, at least they would have plenty of time to get ready!

    Wedding Sparrow x

  2. How refreshing to read Melanie’s reference to Civil Celebrants in this article!
    Celebrants have been conducting wedding ceremonies at any time of the day or evening for years! In my case, I charge no more for a sunrise or evening ceremony under a moonlit, starry sky than I do for a daytime one.
    I do believe the extension to the Registrars hours should be treated with caution at the moment for practical reasons. I’m finding that a number of my bookings and enquiries are from couples who cannot secure a registrar on the day or time of their choice and so are looking elsewhere, and understandably so. If they are able to have the venue, dress, date, flowers and menu of their choice, why shouldn’t they also have the time of their choice too especially when they invariably have other factors to consider such as guests travel arrangements? Unfortunately, registrars are now so stretched because of cut backs and redundancies that I’m hearing reports from venues of registrars arriving late for weddings because they have so many to conduct in one day, or they are bad tempered because of over work. One bride has asked me to conduct a renewal of vows, less than a year after her actual wedding, because she feels she cannot show the video of her ceremony because it is ruined by an irritable registrar shouting at guests! An extension of hours may not necessarily be for the couples benefit, and could be to enable registrars to better handle the bookings. Couples should beware that the only slots available to them may be at less than sociable hours of the day.
    As a Civil Celebrant, my role is to conduct a ceremony which is entirely in the style of the couples choosing and at the time and location of their choice. There is also a saving in costs too, because venues do not have to provide a licensed room for a celebrant conducted ceremony. Celebrants encourage freedom of choice for couples who are forward-thinking and have vision and imagination thus making memories which will last a life-time – for all the right reasons!
    Diana Saxby
    Grace The Day
    Independent Civil Celebrant

  3. In the summer months most civil ceremonies/partnerships I cover are timed to take place between 3:30-4:30pm and I don’t think this is just coincidence.

    From my conversations with couples (hundreds over the last ten years) I believe that they are trying to get a good balance between making the most of the daylight hours and timing the wedding breakfast so it finishes by 7-7:30pm. This is so the meal is over just before evening guests start to arrive and there is still plenty time for dancing.
    Of course not all weddings are the same and some won’t have the timeline I’ve just described but I personally welcome the flexibility the new rules will give those planning a wedding.

  4. I think there should definitely be evening ceremonies, as well. It’s much more romantic and feels way more celebratory imo. The Royal Wedding will be during the day, but oh well, am still hyped up about it :D! 22 days to go…

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