Rethink of marriage laws ordered by ministers

Couples may be allowed to get married naked under a rethink of marriage law ordered by ministers.

The prospect of brides walking down the aisle of Waitrose rather than one in a church will also be on the cards in a full-scale inquiry into how and where weddings should be staged.

The rethink could mean couples wishing to get married in open air spaces, or even in their own gardens, could soon be allowed to do so.

As well as examining location, the wedding law review will also look at whether ceremonies could be performed by non-religious groups, such as humanists or political groups.

A paper published by Chris Grayling, the justice secretary, revealed that among the groups to have shown an interest in an expanded set of marital laws is British Naturism.

Current marriage legislation dictates that couples must either be married in a religious building or an approved registry building of their choice, presided over by their religious governing or council body.

Only Quakers and Jews are allowed to be married in their own homes.

A response to the review from the Ministry of Justice found that humanist groups would prefer to be married in “meaningful” places, but acknowledged that broader marriage opportunities could be taken advantage of by criminal gangs pursuing forced or sham marriages.

There was a risk that any group, including those with a cult following, could potentially qualify if they could show their purpose as the advancement of beliefs and the ethics associated with those beliefs, or could successfully have it determined that they were being discriminated against if excluded from conducting legal ceremonies,” the paper said.

The Law Commission will be asked to “begin as soon as possible a broader review of the law concerning marriage ceremonies,” the paper added.