Night-time weddings to be allowed

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Las Vegas wedding chapels
Image caption,
Las Vegas is known for its midnight weddings

Night-time weddings will be able to take place in future under plans outlined by the government.

The changes allowing marriages to take place 24 hours a day in England and Wales are part of the Protection Of Freedoms Bill. They will also apply to civil partnerships.

Currently couples can only wed between 0800 and 1800 under rules dating back to the Marriage Act 1836.

The move comes after suggestions to a government consultation.

There are no restriction on the hours of weddings in Scotland and any change in the 0800-1800 timing for Northern Ireland would need to be brought in by the devolved administration.

The Church of England says a relaxation in the times of church weddings would require a change to Canon Law from the General Synod, which meets twice a year. And the Catholic Church has reportedly said it would not conduct late night ceremonies.

But the changes are expected to boost the demand for evening civil wedding ceremonies, especially in the summer months.

In 2002, rules were amended to allow ceremonies to take place at sites other than churches, registry offices or specially-licensed venues.

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

However, there will be no prospect of spur of the moment marriages at Las Vegas-style chapels where in the past some couples have wed after a night of heavy drinking - at least 15 days advance notice will still be required.