If you’ve always dreamt of getting married outdoors but thought this was something for overseas beach weddings only, then think again, it is legal to hold an outdoors wedding in the UK, and you’ll find some venues in Essex are now arranging these too.
Although you can’t legally be married in your garden or unlicensed outdoor area, getting wed “al-fresco” in the open air can be organised at venues licensed for civil weddings outdoors. There are some rules that apply, so in this article we look at how you can legally marry outdoors in the stunning grounds of wedding venues in Essex.
The Home Office states that for wedding ceremonies to be conducted outdoors in the UK there must be a suitable roofed structure, which should be licensed by the local county registrar, and also approved by a fire officer. The sort of structures they give as examples are summer houses, dovecotes, gazebos and follies.
Other restrictions that apply are that there absolutely has to be a bad weather contingency plan, with the overall size of the congregation must not exceed the maximum number for which the wedding venue has an indoor ceremony space.
Planning your UK wedding outside
Clearly the British summers are not always predictable enough when you are planning a wedding potentially a year or more in advance, but registrars can be flexible, so if it looks like a downpour will be over in 5 minutes, slightly delaying the start of the ceremony should not be a problem. If however if it’s forecast for rain all day, you will need to be prepared to move inside.
Outdoor Weddings in Essex
Here are some of the wedding venues in Essex that you can organise outdoor weddings with.
Close to Chelmsford, Maidens Barn offers outdoor civil wedding ceremonies in the arbour, set in the beautiful garden with countryside views. Should the weather not be kind on your wedding day, the family run wedding barn has been modernised and provides a stylish change with it’s old beams and high ceilings.
This venue has a licensed, open-sided, barn that holds outdoor ceremonies. With delightful views of the surrounding countryside, Gaynes Park would make an idyllic and romantic setting for you to exchange your vows infront of around 120 of your wedding guests.
Couples have the option for a beautiful ceremony outdoors at Blake Hall’s Old Saddlery. Situated next to their barn, the fully licensed venue allows your guests to look on at the ceremony from the cedar wood benches on the lawn outside. With a limestone pathway forming the aisle.
With its tranquil gardens, Parklands offer outside weddings under their beautiful gazebo. After the ceremony, guests can enjoy being entertained in the grand Banqueting Hall which is a perfect room to seat between 30 to 120 guests for a wedding meal. More details on Parklands Quendon Hall
Prested Hall is stunning 15th century manor house creating the ideal backdrop should you choose your ceremony to be set outside. Their charming gazebo is licensed for an outdoor wedding, with guests seated on the beautiful lawn and surrounding gardens. To complete the great outdoors feeling, they also have a traditional marquee on the lawn for summer wedding receptions.
With more couples seeking outdoor alternatives for their wedding, you can of course beat the system slightly. By having the actual marriage ceremony performed by a registrar either in the morning, or the day before, you could hold your own ceremony or blessing infront of your guests at any outdoor place in the UK. Although the ceremony won’t be a legal civil ceremony, the fact that you can choose your own vows, play any music you like, and hold the ceremony anywhere in the country could make it a truly romantic affair.
Whatever you choose for your special day, there are some stunning options for an outdoor ceremony in Essex.