Article from Tyne Valley Express

I was therefore interested to read that the timing of weddings is something of a hot
topic at the moment (and probably not what you were expecting me to write about!) after
government plans have been unveiled that will make changes to the rules on the times
weddings can take place.

Currently couples can only marry between 8 am and 6 pm according to the 1836
Marriage Act. It is said that the wedding timings date back to the days before
artificial light to allow vicars to make sure they could confirm the identity of the bride
and groom!

How times, literally, have changed. The changes are part of the Protection of
Freedoms Bill which will allow weddings in England and Wales to take place 24
hours a day. The changes will apply to Civil Partnerships too.

There has been much talk in the red-tops that this change in the law paves the
way for “round-the-clock Vegas –style ceremonies”– quick, cheap and easy with
Elvis Impersonators optional. This is unlikely, however, as people must still give 15 days
notice to get married and fulfil all the normal legal obligations of a present-day wedding.
People rarely get married on a whim.

The wedding industry has welcomed the new ruling because very popular venues
will be able to be used several times a day. Evening ceremonies will prove very
popular as the wedding breakfast becomes a wedding supper. Getting married at midnight
on New Year’s Eve could be the most popular night-time slot and it is anticipated
that there will be an increase in the number of evening civil weddings, particularly in the
summer months.

The rule changes will not see an increase in religious evening services as the Church
of England would require a change to Canon Law from the General Synod and the
Catholic Church has said it will not conduct late night ceremonies.
Dr Giles Fraser, Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, said: “It’s a gimmick.
This won’t encourage people into lasting partnerships”

In 2002, rules were relaxed allowing people to get married away from churches, registry
offices and specially licensed venues, prompting a flurry of weddings in crazy
locations such as underwater whilst scubadiving or at a Star Trek conference.
But mostly people continued to take their marriage vows in a respectful ceremony to
show they were not entering into marriage lightly. I do not think that that the new rules
on timing will undermine marriage per se.

What do you think?