In many other countries like America it is the celebrant who is licensed not the venue, so as long as you have one of those he or she may marry you wherever and whenever you wish (I was married in California in a garden for this exact reason). In the UK we don't have this luxury, not that we would want it sometimes with our unpredictable weather and wet summers.
However it is now a totally possible thing thanks to independent celebrants offering freedom of choice and a chance to take our nuptials outside (or in the forest, up a mountain, down by a lake ...). How does this work? There are 3 important factors you must consider before deciding to get married outside in the UK....
1) You MUST do the legal bit! Your ceremony with an independent celebrant will not be legal no matter how authentic. However this is simple, simply pop along to your local registry office (appointments etc are of course needed) and sign the legal paperwork, there is no need to dress up, exchange rings, say vows or anything that would make it feel like a real ceremony, you can wear jeans, take just your witnesses (these can even be the staff at the office!) and as long as you say one particular sentence and sign in the right place you are then legally married!
This lasts around 15 minutes and is very informal, you can do this before or after your ceremony and totally in secret so your family and friends don't feel like the service has already happened - it hasn't, it's just signing of papers.
Alternatively if you find a lovely licensed venue that perhaps isn't big enough or suitable for your wedding ceremony, you can have the legal part carried out within the licensed area inside and take your actual ceremony outside, making the most of the venue!
2) You should have somewhere indoors or under cover should the great British weather play unfair. In other words if you want to get married on the beach, have somewhere nearby indoors or have wet weather gear lined up for you and your guests (and your celebrant) just in case. A row of gorgeous umbrellas look fab in the photos!
Remember also to always gain permission from the person/company/organisation that own the land you wish to marry on.
3) Find a good independent celebrant. These should come recommended by someone you know well (we happily recommend the following two) and meet with them to chat through your day. The freedom of choice is wonderful, they will talk you through your options (of which there are loads!) help to design a service that looks and feels just like the real thing. You will still be pronounced husband and wife and you can have readings, songs, traditions etc anything that you wish to include is usually no trouble.
We love Orchid ceremonies and have worked with them in one of our venues in Alresford, Hampshire. They are so accommodating and experienced registrars so they know exactly how a ceremony can be performed to ensure you have the day of your dreams.
Also Tailor Made ceremonies are excellent at understanding a couples needs and helping them to achieve a truly wonderful ceremony for themselves and their guests.
These guys (and there are more and more now) will also be able to offer baby naming ceremonies, funeral services and renewal of vows plus much more.
So if you are struggling to find a venue, a fan of the outdoors and secretly wish you could be a little different, why not have an independent celebrant and get married at a place of your choosing! That stunning house, castle, gallery, mountain ... That you wish were licensed can now be a reality for your dream wedding.
At Isabella Weddings we have lots of experience of organising unique and unusual weddings using independent celebrants so why not meet us for a coffee soon to find your perfect location.
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