Wedding ceremony facts for the new wedding venue
Business Diversification Into Weddings
Business Diversification Into Weddings
The start of the year has been very exciting here at Kelly Chandler Consulting. I’m working with a diverse range of start-up locations interested in launching as wedding and private events venues; from rural farms and their owners looking to convert barns and outbuildings to East-London warehouse owners looking beyond photo shoots and office space towards unique party and wedding locations. I love working to supercharge these venues’ wedding knowledge & empower them to proceed confidently and appropriately in this new (to them) arena.
Today’s post is a checklist of facts specifically relevant to the wedding ceremony part of a venue’s provision and aimed at new locations; experienced venues you will know this!
At least 66% of all wedding ceremonies in England and Wales are civil and conducted either by a Registrar in a register office or the greatest proportion at a licensed venue such as your venue. If you’re starting out, look very early at obtaining a civil ceremony license for your wedding venue – it can take some time to go through the process, so start early. Contact your local Registrar’s office which is basically where you pay your council or business tax to.
For clarity, a civil ceremony is a legal wedding that is secular and must contain no religious references – in England & Wales couples that are different or same sex can marry with a civil ceremony. Same-sex couples also have the option of a civil partnership instead – the differences are more legal than symbolic in terms of the content of the ceremony in your location.
Further information can be found here.
Cover all bases
When licensing, look to license as many parts of your venue as possible to give yourself the greatest flexibility for venue clients wanting to host wedding ceremonies of different sizes. The Registrar’s office will license each room or location for a certain number of guests – it is much less costly to register all spaces once than go back and redo it. The ‘grant of approval’ is usually given for 3 years.
A roof over your head
The law in England & Wales only allows legal wedding ceremonies to take place under a permanent roof structure, so locations such as marquees, lawn areas and any temporary structure would not be licensed. This is a really key factor and one that many couples do not realise (and is different in most other parts of the world including Scotland). Venues are able however to license areas such as stone gazebos, porticos and other outdoor features that are more permanent and with overhead cover; if in doubt and you are converting or building spaces, do consult early with the Registrar’s office to look at suitability in the planning phase as the license is key. A point to note also is that the law only requires the bride and groom to be under a roof structure so you will see for example a couple complying with this and their guests sitting in the open air and that is allowed!
Be aware that even if obtaining a license is not possible for you, either because of the roof element or another factor, there’s an increasing trend for ceremonies led by independent celebrants amongst modern couples wanting to make their ceremonies very personal, meaningful and symbolic. Make the most of this trend. Just a note that these ceremonies do need to be preceded by a legal signing and fuller details can be obtained here in our post on this trend.
Editors note Dec 2020: The Law Commission are currently undertaking a full review into weddings, with some proposed very large changes to marriage law to come. We are following this closely and advise that you do too if you are looking into licensing a venue for future weddings.
There is of course much much more to tell on launching as a wedding ceremony location and wedding venue in general. I offer a range of consulting services from group one day training on the wedding market to one to one consulting days to really power up and focus your offering. Do get in touch to schedule a discovery call here.
free guide: 5 WAYS TO MORE WEDDING BOOKINGS FOR YOUR VENUE
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