Now Brits may say ‘I do’ at the midnight hour

Midnight weddings will now be a possibility for Britons as the authorities have moved to amend a 175-year-old ruling that allowed marriages only between ‘traditional hours’.

Marriages in England and Wales can currently be registered only between 8 am and 6 pm [local time], under a ruling which dates back to 1837, the BBC reported.

The new ruling opens up the possibility of dawn ceremonies or midnight marriages at historic venues that are only open to the public during certain hours of the day.

The new change in marriage hours would ‘allow people to make the day unique to them, Sarah Rapson, Register General for England and Wales said. The ruling will apply to civil partnerships for homosexual couples in the country as well.

However, 15 days' prior notice will still be required and local authorities and religious groups will not be forced to conduct marriages at unusual hours.

‘Obviously certain times of day have a resonance with people and I can understand that that might symbolise some sort of special time, Editorial director of Wedding Ideas magazine Rachel Southwood told BBC.

The changes to the traditional rules were announced in early 2011 after suggestions to a government consultation and are being brought in under the Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012.

There are currently no restrictions on the hours of weddings in Scotland and any change in the timing for Northern Ireland would need to be brought in by the devolved administration.

In 2002, rules in England and Wales were amended to allow ceremonies to take place at sites other than churches, register offices or specially-licensed venues.

Since then the likes of Blackpool Tower, Tower Bridge and race courses have also hosted civil weddings.
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