Does your wedding venue need to be licensed for a celebrant wedding?

For this post, I am handing you over to the capable hands of Amanda from Amanda’s Ceremonies. She is a celebrant based in Essex and knows a thing or two about venues and how to pick the right ones for your chosen ceremony – especially if you would like a celebrant wedding.

Jumping the broom at a celebrant wedding
Photo Credit – https://lottiephotography.com/

I know how confusing it can be when you’re planning your wedding and choosing your venue, yes it’s really exciting but there are so many things for you to consider right?  So, do you wonder why so many venues talk so much about licensed ceremony rooms?  Or do you just want to understand more about the term “licensed wedding venue”. Have you found the perfect venue but think you can’t have a ceremony there because they aren’t licensed, that can be so heart-breaking can’t it?

However is this really the case or is there a solution?  Many couples planning their wedding understandably ask me what a licensed venue is and whether it’s essential for their celebrant wedding ceremony or not? In this article I will discuss this and clarify exactly what a licensed venue is and why and how you can have a wedding ceremony in an unlicensed venue or outdoors.

About the author

 I am Amanda a modern quirky celebrant who believes in helping couples have the ceremony they deserve with real freedom of choice and personalisation. I specialise in working with amazing venues both licensed and unlicensed who offer much more than a traditional wedding.  I have a really positive can do attitude to your ceremony and make sure your wedding is exactly how you want it to be.

What is a licensed venue?

A licensed venue is a venue that is legally allowed to hold a legal wedding ceremony. Currently couples can only legally marry inside a place of worship (with some exceptions) or inside a licensed venue.  The only option to marry outdoors in these venues is under a fixed structure such as a gazebo or pavilion. (Current Law for England and Wales).

So why would I want a wedding ceremony at an unlicensed venue?

You have so much more freedom of choice and there are other reasons.

  • You want to get married on a farm, your garden or in woodlands or on a beach.
  • You want a wedding under the stars at night or at sunrise.
  • You want to marry where you had your proposal and the venue isn’t licensed, so that could be a restaurant, cinema, sporting venue or an outdoor space like a beach, a zoo, theme park or a natural park or forest.
  • You want a really unusual and unique wedding venue, it may be somewhere special to you or where people don’t usually marry.
  • You want to marry on a certain day or date and can’t find a venue.
  • You want to splash out on a really great personalised or themed event exactly as you want it or you want to go DIY. 

Generally most couples contact a celebrant to plan their ceremony and have a registry office wedding either before or after their celebrant ceremony but sometimes on the same day. Celebrants can advise on this aspect, my website has advice on your registry office wedding. (https://www.amandasceremonies.com/legal-aspects/).

Currently celebrant ceremonies are not legal but they offer the most ceremony options and freedom of choice. Basically anything goes; there are no limits on the content of your ceremony or the location. As one of my couples said “the registry office bit is just signing a bit of paper, legalities, our proper wedding ceremony is with you and in front of all our family and friends”.

But if the venue is licensed I can do all that surely?

Basically if you book a registrar for your ceremony at your licensed venue you get the same ceremony you would have in the registry office, just in your venue. All the same legalities and restrictions of ceremony content apply, if you marry outdoors you still have to marry under a structure like a gazebo or pavilion. Also it can be very expensive to have a registrar come to your venue. So which of these pictures do you prefer? The woodland wedding above wouldn’t be possible at a licensed venue, even with a registrar. The picture on the right is a typical normal gazebo type structure necessary for a legal wedding outdoors.

So I can have two celebrant wedding ceremonies then?

Yes, many other couples will have their standard legal ceremony at the registry office on a weekday when it’s least expensive. Then they’ll splash out on their personalised celebrant ceremony when it’s most convenient for them and their guests, at the venue or location of their choice, be it licensed or unlicensed. Then, they will be able to have total freedom of choice in all aspects!

But what about the cost?

Great question! Celebrants charge different rates and often have a range of ceremony prices. (An example from my website  https://www.amandasceremonies.com/wedding-ceremonies/ ). However because we love working with you and supporting your wedding goals most celebrants offer at least one type of ceremony for a similar price as having a registrar ceremony at your venue.

So, if you want to know about celebrant ceremonies head over to my website main page www.amandasceremonies.com . You will find details of all my ceremonies, a bit more about me, advice about legalities, a free download and the option to book a free call with me. Feel free to share this with other friends who are planning their weddings.

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