The outdoor wedding ceremony

How to get married outdoors in the UK

Read all the need-to-know info about the laws on getting married outside in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

The laws on getting married outside in the UK can be complicated. In England and Wales, laws are quite tight when it comes to taking your vows al fresco. However, things are rather more lenient in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Laws may be changing when it comes to getting married outside, but for now, this is everything you need to know about planning an outdoor wedding in the UK.


Getting married outside in England

At the moment, you can get married outdoors in England as long as it takes place under a fixed structure. What’s more, this structure needs to be licensed. This means that you can take your vows under garden gazebos, pavilions and arbours.

Getting married outside in Wales

The law in Wales is the same as in England. If you want to get married outside, it needs to be under a fixed, permanent structure that’s accessible to the public.

But – and this is a big but – the law could be set to change. Outdoor weddings in England and Wales could become legalised as part of a new ‘belief’ plan, so you could hold a humanist ceremony (which is neither civil nor religious) in the open air.

Getting married outside in Scotland

If you’re dreaming of an outdoor ‘I do’ in Scotland, you’re in luck: you can get married pretty much wherever you like.

As of 1 September 2014, venues don’t need to be approved – as long as a minister or celebrant is present, you can choose the spot.

Unlike in England and Wales, al fresco humanist ceremonies are already legal in Scotland. And with all that dramatic coastline, those rugged mountains and of course, the famous Highlands, it would be rude not to make the most of the great Scottish outdoors.

For a religious wedding a minister, clergyman, pastor, priest or other person approved to do so under the Marriage (Scotland) Act 1977 must perform the wedding.

For a civil ceremony it must be performed by a registrar or an assistant registrar who has been authorised by the Registrar General for that purpose


Getting married outside in Northern Ireland

With the agreement of the officiant, a religious wedding ceremony may take place anywhere in Northern Ireland. So, like in Scotland, you can take your vows in the open air!