Why Licensing Officiants Will Be a Positive Step for Wedding Venues

It has been well documented that the marriage laws are currently under review and a part of that potential change is that weddings will be legally permitted to take place in a location chosen by the couple.

This will mean that couples will be able to marry outdoors, in their own homes or gardens – basically anywhere where they want.

If this goes ahead the legal requirement for venues to be licensed will come to an end. Whilst this may initially sound a little alarming, through this article we hope to dispel any concerns and instead, instil confidence by identifying the many reasons why this is a positive step for venues, and couples alike.

Unnecessary and costly regulations

The act of marriage at the moment is inundated with restrictions and regulations that extend from the initial licensing application process to the wedding day itself. They seem to have no logical or practical purpose anymore and can involve significant costs.

The proposed change in the law, removing the requirement of venues to be licensed, will mean some real economic benefits for those wishing to establish themselves as a civil ceremony wedding venue such as picturesque outdoor locations or marquee / tipi suppliers.

These benefits extend to established venues who will no longer need to renew their licence and will also be able to offer ceremonies in areas inside or outside that are not currently permitted. The change in law will also negate the need for permanent fixed structures in the grounds of licensed venues; the days of squeezing the officiant, the couple and their two witnesses into a small area will thankfully, be behind us.


All wedding suppliers be it photographers, florists or caterers have their differing styles and personalities, and are in competition with one another within their own area of expertise. Licensed venues are the same. Each is unique and special in its own way offering differing levels of service, facilities, accommodation, location and so on.

Let’s be honest couples already have the most amazing choice of licensed premises to be married. Country houses, hotels, vineyards, museums etc. One may suit one couple where another will not so a bit more choice will make little difference. Venues should not be afraid of the prospect of competition – it is healthy. Competition encourages businesses to raise their game, keep ahead of trends, be innovative and maintain a high level of standard and service.

Officiants become just another wedding supplier

No other wedding suppliers are governed by rules and regulations the way venues are. This point is particularly relevant as it involves such a vital and integral, but sadly much overlooked element of a wedding – the ceremony.

A change in the marriage law will mean that venues will no longer be confined to the registration service monopoly. Couples will finally have the option to have a legal ceremony that is entirely bespoke and personal to them, be allowed to choose who they work with to create it, and still enjoy all of the benefits of their chosen wedding venue in the location of their dreams.

A licensed wedding celebrant will become just like every other supplier, hand-picked by the couple and/or recommended by the venue. This will undoubtedly have a positive impact on venues and couples alike and ultimately add value to the whole wedding experience.


All venues are aware personalisation is a trend that is gaining traction. Specifically in regards to the ceremony, many couples find the restraints of a registrar-led legal ceremony too formal and often quite stifling.

Creativity and individuality within a legal civil ceremony can be limiting or not allowed at all. The law does not accommodate couples of different faiths or couples in which one person is religious and the other is not. Spirituality and inclusion of cultural traditions are also not permitted.

Venues and couples alike should be able to benefit from professionals not only trained in the registering of a legal marriage but also in the writing and presenting of bespoke wedding ceremony scripts, without limitation. It is not unreasonable in 2021 for couples to expect niche experts rather than having to settle for an officiant allocated to them who is unable to offer anything personal, creative or meaningful.

A law change will mean that ceremonies will no longer comprise of the same generic scripts, with couples names placed in gaps, over and done in 20 minutes. No more time restraints as the registrar needs to get to their next booking. No more yawning guests, thinking ‘we’ve heard all this before’ and no more venue wedding co-ordinators reciting those over used templates thinking ‘here we go again’.

Marry the modern way

Reacting to change and current trends is vital to stay ahead of the curve. When the law changes personalised ceremonies will be the new norm. This not a trend which will fade away and be unheard of again, this will affect the way wedding venues operate. Some venues are already actively promoting and collaborating with Independent and Humanist celebrants, but more needs to be done.

Year on year it has been reported that couples are seeking highly-personalised bespoke ceremony options yet there is still a massive shortfall of knowledge regarding celebrant-led ceremonies. Too many couples are still unaware that they even have a choice.

So armed with this knowledge venues could be promoting the concept of a personalised ceremony and marrying in a more modern way. After all a wedding celebrant can make the difference between an ordinary ceremony and an extraordinary one.

Innovative venues will take advantage, see this opportunity and get ahead in marketing the concept. Offering different ceremony options currently distinguishes a wedding venue, but when the law is finally changed it will suddenly be a level playing field.

Give Couples Choice

Give Couples Choice is a movement run by Independent Celebrant volunteers and has been formed with the purpose of generating support and enthusiasm to champion fairness and choice for all couples in legal wedding ceremonies.

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