At the end of October 2018, the Chancellor announced his budget and, in this extensive document, one small detail stands out to us – changes to the way Wedding Ceremonies will be able to be performed.

This will, inevitably, make huge waves in the Wedding Industry, but what does this actually mean?  What impact could we potentially see?  What potential fallout?  We have outlined our thoughts on what impact this can have on the current industry, and what predictions we can make from this.

What has been announced?

In a long-awaited shake up of the Wedding Industry, the Chancellor has announced that a review of wedding venues in England and Wales will be taking place.  Restrictions on Outside Wedding Ceremonies, as well as temporary structures such as Marquees and Tipis, are expected to be lifted.

What does this mean?

No longer will Hotel Venues have the monopoly on licenced venues in England and Wales (41% of the variety of the 7500 licenced venues are hotels).  More choice for couples, leading to a rise in a variety of locations being made available for couples and a number of new trends emerging – from pub wedding ceremonies to beach wedding ceremonies, from garden parties to weddings in parks and grounds.  More opportunity for alternative timings, alternative locations, variety of guest numbers and a reduction in costs for wedding ceremonies leading to more budget to use in other areas.


What Should Wedding Venues Consider?

Scrapping the “Ceremony Fee”

This charge will feel unjustified in light of the restrictions being lifted. Why pay more when they could get married anywhere?

Insurances, Risk, Restrictions and Terms and Conditions

As with any shake-up, this will have major implications for liability, insurances and venues’ terms and conditions. Venues should consider reviewing what they will be offering to couples in light of the changes, and what impact this will on their risk, insurance, and current terms and conditions.  Risk Assessments and a formal review of T’s and C’s is highly recommended.

Offering more flexibility

Wedding ceremonies will be able to take place in any room, location or area of a venue. Use your imagination, create – or open – spaces which you might not have considered before, you might just reach a new audience.

Outside vs. Inside

Outside wedding ceremonies will see a huge increase with this announcement. This means that venues should consider the spaces available for outside ceremonies, but also consider what spaces inside can accommodate – no point in taking a booking for 100 people outside, when you can only accommodate 30 seated inside… it is the UK after all, those rain clouds won’t necessarily disappear.  On the other hand, small venue but large grounds?  You’re quids in – marquees, tipis and stretch tents will open the way to ceremonies and receptions held in fields, grounds and large acreages.

Just because outside ceremonies will be available, doesn’t mean it’s right for you!

Take a look at the space and grounds that your venue has, can it be adapted for wedding ceremonies without a negative impact on the venue, other guests and/or staffing?  If it’s not feasible, you need to think about how this will impact your market.

Informality and Relaxed Vibes

Formal venues will start to see an increase in requests for an informal feel. Outside wedding ceremonies will grow outside receptions, and with that flexibility on menu, style and experience.


Venues who have, typically, remained restrictive in catering abilities may need to start considering how they can flex this now that a more informal experience will become more affordable for couples. The industry will see a reduction in “in house catering only” options and an increase in the requirement to be more flexible with alternative catering, fun options, and requests for family-style options.

Sales, Marketing and Prices

A new pool of wedding venues will become available in a very short amount of time – but the number of weddings isn’t necessarily going to increase. With a larger choice becoming available to couples across the country, venues (and especially traditional hotel venues) may start to see reductions in their sales coming through.  With more choice, comes more power.  Couples now will have the ability to negotiate far more with their shortlisted venues, and this will directly impact the marketing which a venue will need to do to reach their ideal client.  Careful consideration of price point, marketing and target will need to take place and be adjusted in light of this huge shake-up.


What does this mean for Wedding Vendors?


Non-venue Wedding Vendors might not think this will affect them too much, but there are definitely some hefty considerations that other types of vendors may need to think about.  Here are some thoughts below:

Catering and Drinks Vendors

Outside wedding ceremonies will lead to an increase in outside drinks receptions, wedding breakfasts and alternative, or more informal, catering options. Vendors who provide catering or drinks options will now have a larger pool of venues to become recommended at and to work with.  Building relationships within these new opportunities will be key.

Electronic Services

Suppliers who provide electronic services, such as DJs, Magic Mirrors, Photobooths etc., should consider how their services will work in an environment where outside wedding ceremonies and receptions are going to take place.  What do you need to make it work?  Can you/Do you need to market differently?  Do you need to charge a supplement?

Bands and Other Entertainment 

Entertainment options may need to consider alternative styles; such as the “roaming” style, where the band make their way around the guests in an informal and engaging way.

Fashion Trends

Fashion options for couples, wedding parties and guests alike, will change. With a prevalence of outside wedding ceremonies and receptions; new styles and trends will emerge focusing on comfortable and beautiful outside wear.

Insurance, Risk and Health and Safety

New venues such as industrial spaces, museums, parks, farms, zoos and beaches becoming available for wedding ceremonies (therefore receptions and parties), consider that insurance premiums may increase, or insurances may need changing. Risk assessments may also be needed prior to the wedding when faced with non-traditional wedding ceremony/venues.

Photographers and Videographers


With the increase in the variety of venues available to couples now; showcasing your work with a focus on the diverse nature of today’s couple is going to be more important.  Focus on the exciting and engaging alternative options for styling, couple experience and atmosphere.

Conclusion –

Overall, the most important thing is that we meet these new requests with an open mind and a creative process.  Don’t put up barriers simply because you are not sure what to do next!  Be honest if you have never had that request before, and ask for time to address the options. You can always say no or charge a supplement, if required, once you have researched.

Change is good, we want to embrace it!

What are your thoughts on the changes?  What considerations are you making for your business?  Comment below!

If you are looking for advice on how to accommodate for the new changes – why not speak with our team?  Email to speak with an expert now.

Tell us what you think!