Outdoor ceremonies

The Marriages and Civil Partnerships (Approved Premises) (Amendment) Regulations 2022 allows for linked outdoor areas of a licensed premises to be used for legally recognised civil weddings and civil partnerships from 6 April 2022.

Use of an outdoor linked area must be agreed in advance by the Superintendent Registrar of the district who must satisfy themselves that the area fulfils the obligations below and that it is seemly and dignified for the purpose of the proceedings. We must also carry out a risk assessment of the area as we do with the licensed rooms in buildings.

Agreement is subject to the following conditions:

  1. The location of ceremonies within the linked outdoor areas at which the proceedings take place must be identifiable by description, and named in the approval.
  2. No food or alcoholic drink may be sold to or permitted to be consumed by persons attending the proceedings when gathering in the named and identifiable location for the purposes of the proceedings or during the proceedings.
  3. Venues must display the licence notice (supplied when agreement for use is granted) which states that the premises and linked outdoor areas named have been approved for the proceedings
  4. Venues must also display separate suitable notices giving a clear description of and directions to the location within the linked outdoor areas at which the proceedings are to take place.
  5. Such notices named in 3 and 4 above must be displayed at each public entrance to the linked outdoor area and the built premises for one hour prior to and throughout the proceedings. Linked outdoor locations must be capable of description so that couples, their guests, registration officers and the public can easily find their way to the location.

Contingency plans

Venues should have a suitable alternative available in the event of inclement weather.

  1. This could be an unlicensed temporary outdoor covered structure within the linked outdoor areas, a previously approved permanent licensed structure in the grounds of the built premises or a previously approved room in the licensed premises itself.
  2. Ceremonies cannot take place with the legally required parties being split between a licensed room/structure and a linked outdoor area. The couple, two registrars and two witnesses must all be wholly inside a licensed room/structure, or wholly outside in a linked outdoor area.
  3. You may have to limit the number of guests at proceedings due to take place in an approved linked outdoor area to the number that you can safely accommodate in your alternative for inclement weather.
  4. The Superintendent Registrar (or their deputy) will make the final decision on whether a ceremony must move inside.

Apply to hold legally recognised outdoor ceremonies

Those venues that want to proceed with this offer should email VenueLicensing@eastsussex.gov.uk

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