Looking for a unique location to have your wedding ceremony in Cornwall?

You have a vast choice of beautiful, unique and unconventional venues to say your wedding vows in Cornwall and Devon. From fairytale forest glades to open moorland, spectacular rocky headlands, wildflower meadows, stately homes, cliff edges or on a quiet beach with bare feet: these are all examples of destination and location ideas that excited future brides might have for their wedding day. You can literally (within reason) choose anywhere to say your vows.

Here are two examples of wedding ceremonies where we have set up a tent for wedding ceremonies in unusual and unlicenced locations.

But don't I need to have my wedding ceremony in a licenced venue to be valid?

Well yes generally, to be legally valid, a UK marriage ceremony usually needs to be performed by an authorised person (for example, a registrar, a vicar or a priest) and be witnessed by two people. It also needs to be done in an approved venue, under a fixed, permanent structure, ie not under a tent or on the beach. This means couples must choose between an approved religious ceremony, a registry office ceremony, or a registrar who will attend the wedding at a licensed venue.

However, if you'd like to have a wedding ceremony in a unique location that isn’t licenced for ceremonies, you can use a Celebrant to perform a bespoke ceremony anywhere you like.  You just need to complete the legal ceremony in a registration office, town hall or approved venue first.

The ceremony can be tailored to suit you, designed to celebrate your day the way you wish it to be celebrated, written with you and your partner at the very heart of it. It can be entirely up to you how the whole occasion flows and reflects your personal beliefs and lifestyle.

The ceremony can be religious, non-religious or spiritual. It can also incorporate rituals like hand fastening, sand ceremonies, unity candles, chinese tea ceremonies or Jewish ritual of glass smashing. It can also include songs, hymns and religious readings of your choice.

If you are having your wedding in Cornwall or Devon then we'd recommend that you get in touch with the Cornish Celebrant's for a beautiful ceremony. You can find more celebrants by putting 'wedding celebrants' into google for your location or on the Directory of Celebrants. 

Can I really have a wedding ceremony anywhere?

Yes, you can have your celebratory ceremony anywhere, within reason.  You can have it in your garden, on a beach or a boat, in an orchard, up a tree, on a cliff edge ( (provided the celebrant is willing). These are all possible although for some locations you do need to make sure that you have the permission necessary to be able to use the space if it is private land.

Please note, you will still then need to have a 'legal' ceremony at a registry office to legalise the wedding. Most towns have a courtroom to do this, often in the town hall. In our hometown, St Ives, you can have a legal ceremony in the Guildhall in town.

A Fabulous Forest Wedding example

We set up a stretch tent for a couple who organised a wonderful wedding in Ashbourne woods in Devon. They rented out the entire campsite out of season, the ceremony was set up deep in the woods in front of a huge fallen over tree truck, with a homemade tin can chandelier hanging from above. The reception was set up in our stretch tent and the party was in the forest under see-through tarps hung from the trees which reflected the mirror ball lights and they partied deep into the night. An epic party amongst friends where for 3 days they camped together, decorated the forest & ended it with a huge celebration of love.

What exactly is a Celebrant and how does it differ from a Registrar?

A registrar is a government official, responsible for keeping legal records. A wedding ceremony performed by a registrar must take place in a venue licensed for marriage, using specified contractual wording to legalise the union. Religious / spiritual content is not allowed in a registrar wedding ceremony.

A celebrant is an independent individual who is trained in providing you with a custom-made ceremony designed to celebrate any ‘right of passage’ in a way which is personal to you, without legal obligation or government restriction. There are very few limitations as to what can be included in a celebrant wedding ceremony.

What is a Humanist Wedding Ceremony?

A humanist wedding ceremony is a meaningful, non-religious ceremony.  Humanist weddings are perfect for couples who would like a meaningful ceremony that isn't religious. To marry outdoors or at a location that isn't licensed for civil weddings and the flexibility to create a personal ceremony that is unique to them. Any celebrant mentioned above can perform a humanist wedding ceremony.

Can I get married under a tent?

Generally, you will be told that you cannot legally marry in a tent or a marquee or any other temporary structure. However again, as long as you have a 'legal' ceremony at a registry office to legalise the wedding you can get married under a tent if you would like to.

However in many licenced wedding venues, there are small, outdoor structures (for example pagodas) where you can have a legal ceremony outdoors.  It's usually just large enough to fit the couple and the registrar.

The guests need to sit or stand outside to watch so if it rains the registrar will most likely insist that the ceremony is moved indoors so that the guests don't get wet. However, if you provide a tent for your guests it is highly likely that the registrar would be willing for the ceremony to go ahead outside in the rain.

In this image below, the couple is saying their vows at a licenced venue in the walled garden with a registrar, so there was no need for a separate register office. If it rained, even if there is a tent provided, the registrar has the option to tell everyone they must go indoors if she felt it was necessary. Apparently, it is the registrant's decision as to whether everyone is sufficiently dry. You would hope that they would decide that the tent provides sufficient cover so that the wedding could go ahead outside, but in this case the sun was shining so we never found out!

Wedding ceremony at a licenced venue - Kingston Estate

Is my Celebrant Wedding Ceremony legally binding?

No. You will need to register your marriage in a Register Office before or after your celebrant wedding ceremony in order to make your marriage legally binding.  You will need to give notice at your local register office and arrange to have a ‘Statutory Ceremony’ to legally register your marriage . This is the ‘admin’ part of the process, and does not need to be treated as a formal ceremony.

Should I be legally married before I have my Celebrant Wedding Ceremony?

Not necessarily. Most couples do prefer to register their marriage before the Celebrant Wedding Ceremony. However, if you would prefer to register your marriage afterwards, that’s OK too.  You can do this any day before or after your wedding day at any register office in the UK. You do not need to have a registrar attend your Celebrant Ceremony or be present at your venue. Often, it is cheaper to register your marriage at your local register office on a weekday.

Will the Celebrant Wedding Ceremony be considered less ‘real’ if we have already signed the register in a Register Office?

Not at all! Signing the register is simply signing the legal paperwork behind the marriage. The most meaningful part of the wedding is when you stand up in front of your family and friends, say your vows together and declare why you have chosen to commit to each other for life.