Here in the UK we are fortunate enough to be able to get married 24/7. Meaning we can legally marry any day, any time, including getting married at night. Although it wasn’t always this way.
Up until 1 October 2012 wedding ceremonies, ‘may be solemnized at any time between the hours of eight in the forenoon and six in the afternoon.’ AKA, you could only legally marry between 8am and 6pm.
Now, although this didn’t drastically restrict you – as the average time to hold a wedding ceremony is midday – it did cut down on your liberties. It meant a late evening or night time ceremony was out of the question.
Fortunately the new law passed in 2012 and the archaic restrictions were thrown out. As a result, we now have the freedom to host a beach ceremony at sunrise or an atmospheric night time celebration.
Why were there laws in the first place?
Many ministers and the old law-writers of 1836 believed that allowing people to marry at any time of day or in any place meant that couples might get married for the wrong reasons.
They believed that the wedding may become more about the event than the affirmation and consolidation of a lasting monogamous relationship. As a result, getting married at night was not an option.
There were other, more practical reasons for this law being introduced way back in the 19th century. Thick wedding veils and lighting issues were a genuine problem, so the law was also introduced to help the brides of the day.
The issue was raised in Parliament’s Protection of Freedoms Bill of 2010-11, thanks to pressure from the wedding industry and an increasing awareness that these rules are no longer observed in most other parts of the world.
How does this influence me?
The number one benefit from being able to get married at my time is freedom. This is ultimately a significant step towards being able to arrange a totally bespoke wedding.
No longer will couples have to rush to have their wedding ceremony completed before 6pm. Alternatively, those who don’t like the idea of having a marriage celebration that lasts all day – as most currently do – can now concentrate their celebrations and incorporate the ceremony itself into an evening party.
Planning a night time ceremony
So, thankfully you’re now able to host your dream wedding in the early hours if you please. Whether you’ve always dreamt of a romantic candlelit celebration or if night time nuptials are simply more practical, you have the freedom to host your perfect wedding.
There are a number of factors to consider. The main factor being the kind of celebration would you like. Whether you’re planning a manor house wedding or alfresco celebration, you’ll need to check with the venues you’re searching to ensure they are happy to host a night time wedding. Remember, they’ll have to organise the staffing to ensure your special day runs without a glitch.
Depending on the type of marriage you’re planning on having, you’ll have to find a registrar who’s happy to perform your ceremony. Whether you’re planning a service at dusk or dawn might have an effect on whether or not they’re happy to marry you.
If you know you’d love a unique night time wedding but you’re just not quite sure what avenue to go down, we’re here to help!
Imagine a wedding on New Year’s Eve. You can be officially wed as the clock strikes midnight. As a result, you and your guests can celebrate the coming of a new marriage and a New Year!
Perhaps you’d like a celebration that simply doesn’t drag on all day. An evening ceremony as the sun is setting would make for a truly romantic backdrop. Whether that is outdoors in beautiful gardens or in an Orangery where you can appreciate the views, the ambience would be magical. Following that you could dine before moving straight onto the dance floor!
How about a whimsical ceremony truly under the stars? Alfresco wedding ceremonies are effortlessly ethereal. Consequently, hosting the service at night under a canopy of stars just emphasises the romance. This is the perfect option for the free spirited couple.
Not only that, but an outdoor ceremony would complement a festival themed wedding beautifully.
How about a beautiful beach wedding as the sun rises? Okay, it’s not technically night time but this would definitely count as an out of hour’s service. You and your guests can enjoy an actual wedding breakfast before having an entire day of celebrations. Not only would you be able to enjoy spectacular views but it would also be unique.
Lights, lights, lights! If you’re planning a night time wedding, a décor item that is really going to elevate your celebration is fabulous lighting.
Whether that’s lanterns strung from the ceiling, fairy lights wrapped around banisters and beautiful bulbs as centrepieces, warm tone lighting is going to give a cosy and romantic atmosphere.
Ensure you put sufficient lighting near any steps or slopes. You don’t want any accidents on your wedding day! If you’re planning an outdoor celebration you could wrap fairy lights around tree trunks or string them between branches.
Candles are also an absolute must – if your venue permits it! Not only are they effortlessly romantic, candles will also provide a certain amount of light and a warm orange hue to the space.
You could line your aisle with tea lights – which are also cost effective. Try popping an assortment of pillar candles of various heights in any dark corners to brighten up the space.
If you’re thinking of a night time wedding outdoors, fire pits are a great source of light and warmth. Also, giving your guests sparklers is a fun and inventive way to add some brightness!
Although it may become legal to be married at any time of day, it may be difficult to find a registrar or clergyman that will perform marriages at anti-social hours. Even if you do, they may and probably will charge more than the average daytime equivalent.
You’ll also need to think about the wedding photographs. Having spent all that time getting ready and decking out the space, it would be a shame not to capture it on camera.
With this in mind, be sure to make some time to take some wedding photos whilst you have some daylight. Another consideration might be to find a photographer who is experienced in taking night time images.
Take into account the weather. Even in the height of summer in the UK temperatures can plummet at night. This may not be such an issue if you’re planning for your big day to be indoors. However, providing blankets for an outdoor wedding would be an excellent idea.
Noise restrictions and late night licences. Some wedding venues, particularly manor houses or venues in residential areas will have limitations. Meaning they may only be allowed to play music or serve alcohol until 11pm.
As a result, you’ll be restricted to venues that have late licences. After all, you don’t want to plan a night time wedding to only find out that it will have to be a ridiculously short celebration!
Getting married at night is a fantastic way to host a unique wedding. Now that there are no restrictions from archaic laws, brides and grooms are able to take advantage and host a romantic nigh time wedding from dawn till dusk. We hope you’ve found some excellent tips to inspire you to begin planning you night time wedding.