New laws could let couples tie the knot in a pub or McDonald's

I’m lovin’ you! New laws could give engaged couples the chance to tie the knot in a pub or McDonald’s as outdated rules on wedding venues are set to be scrapped

  • New laws could open up chance for couples to get married in different locations 
  • The Law Commission has suggested people should be given more options
  • It means people could say ‘I do’ in pubs, castles and McDonald’s restaurants 

Most people don’t dream of getting married in a pub or a McDonald’s. But new laws could give you the option anyway.

Today is the last day for people to respond to plans to reform the law on weddings in a consultation launched last September. 

The Law Commission is suggesting couples should be given greater choice on venues, ditching outdated laws developed in 1836 which restrict weddings to certain places.

New laws could give couples the option of getting married in places such as McDonald’s restaurants, fields or castles

The Marriage Foundation think-tank has claimed couples are being deterred from getting married because the cost of weddings is getting too high.

Founder Sir Paul Coleridge said the reforms will ‘open up the process so that couples can design their own wedding and tie the knot wherever they choose – whether in their local church or local pub, a castle, a field or even in McDonald’s’.

He said: ‘We hope and believe that this will re-democratise marriage and weddings and usher in a new era of simpler, pared back ceremonies so that marriage will once again be for all.’

In 1988, 68 per cent of new parents from lower income groups in England and Wales were married. In higher income groups, 91 per cent of new parents were married.

But now just 35 per cent of poorer new parents have tied the knot, while the drop in marriage between wealthier couples has been less dramatic, with 76 per cent still going ahead with a wedding.

This means the ‘marriage gap’ between rich and poor has doubled in the last three decades, the Marriage Foundation points out.

Marriage Foundation founder Sir Paul Coleridge says the reforms will give couples more options

It thinks the gap could be closed if couples were able to opt for simpler ‘naked’ weddings, without the frivolities of expensive venues.

Sir Paul, former High Court judge and founder of the Marriage Foundation, said: ‘For far too long the perception has been growing that marriage is an out-of-date social arrangement reserved for the better off who can afford a lavish wedding and reception.

‘Historically this was never so. As recently as only fifty years ago everyone wanted to get married, and they normally did, whatever their financial position.

‘This was hugely to the advantage of society who reaped the benefit in far lower rates of family breakdown.’

Now, according to wedding app Bridebook, the cost of the average wedding is £20,000 – a sum which Sir Paul blames on ‘unrealistic expectations created by glossy magazines and far-fetched social media postings’.

At the moment, all couples must have their wedding either in a place of worship of a licenced secular venue, and cannot get married outdoors.

Many venues can be expensive, and some couples who flout the rules do not realise that their marriage may not be legally recognised.

The Law Commission wants to allow weddings to take place outdoors, such as on beaches and in parks, in private homes, and on cruise ships, and offer couples a greater choice of religious and non-religious ceremonies.

It also wants to simplify the process, allowing couples to give notice of their wedding online or by post rather than in person.

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