Latest Review of Marriage Law Act 1949

What Could The Law Commission's Recommendation to the Government Mean for Weddings?

The review of the Marriage Law Act 1949 has now been published by the Law Commission of England and Wales and presented to Government for consideration this week.

For all those years the Marriage Act has excluded various faiths, beliefs and non faiths, and dictated what a wedding ceremony should look and feel like. For those couples who wanted to have a personal wedding ceremony, have had to have two ceremonies - one to obtain the functional legal marriage certificate and the other to have a personal wedding ceremony that reflects their personalities and their beliefs.

With the recommendations now being posed, it would give couples more freedom to choose how they want to be married, and where they want to be married. It is suggesting that the law is changed to an Officiant to be registered and not a venue, meaning that regardless of faith or beliefs or non religion it would be recognised as a legal wedding, should the Government agree to their recommendations.

This is definitely good news for independent celebrants which could bring celebrants and humanists in line with other parts of the country and in other countries, as they too could be recognised as a legal officiant.

It would be a positive step forward for couples too. Without having to pay for licensed wedding venues, couples could choose from lower cost venues making their wedding more affordable. So if the couple wanted to have a legal wedding ceremony on a beach, park or even their own back garden, this could be achievable.

This doesnt mean bad news for religious weddings. It means that couples who want a legal religious wedding, could have it outside of the Church. Currently now to have a religious wedding outside of a Church building, then a couple would opt to have a celebrant wedding ceremony, as celebrant can include any religion, beliefs or no-religion but it cant include the legal paperwork.

In brief, the review is guided by five principles for reform:

  • Certainty and simplicity
  • Fairness and equality
  • Protecting the state’s interest
  • Respecting individuals’ wishes and beliefs
  • Removing any unnecessary regulation, so as to increase the choice and lower the cost of wedding venues for couples

Before we start to fully celebrate the news, its now with the Government to decide and any changes would take a few years to be established. But for now, its cheery news that England and Wales are one step forward to being inclusive for everyone who want to be married.

Listen to Amanda-Louise Knight on Sunday 24th July 2022 at 7am and 9.10am on BBC Radio Somerset with Broadcaster Vicki Clark's morning show for live discussion as to the launch of the review this week.

Didnt get a chance to listen to the radio programme? Then contact Amanda-Louise direct for her expertise on how to have a personal wedding ceremony now, and what are the hopes for the future.
Written by
Amanda-Louise Knight

Amanda-Louise Knight is an experienced Celebrant and Toastmaster associated with ICPC and Celebrant Circle. BBC trained and public speaker for over 30 years. She is an Independent Marriage Proposals, Weddings & Events Planner and creates unique personal days for those who want to celebrate special moments in life. Her business also includes Somerset Wedding Day Dog Chaperoning so the dog comes too. Her mission is to encourage everyone to make the most special occasion in life better than imaginable. She is based in Somerset and covers the UK. Amanda-Louise can be contacted on or 07879 220046.

‍Blog Disclaimer - the article is opinion based by the author only, the content is for information purposes only, and as such is not guaranteed. Whilst is intended to be accurate there may be some unintentional errors, mistakes or omissions and therefore may be subject of updating. In accordance with advice articles should the reader wish to rely on this information, they do so at their own risk. Any prices quoted are accurate at time of writing content.

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