All those years ago most working people only had a few days off a year. Some of these holidays were for religious holidays so they couldn’t have a wedding then. A wedding and, if possible a brief break from work for a honeymoon, was a major occasion requiring years of planning.
As leisure time increased, but days off were still precious, Saturdays became the day of choice for tying the knot so family and friends could travel to the ceremony. These days any day except Sunday is acceptable for a wedding.
Hotels and other wedding venues often offer cheaper deals for midweek weddings so they can attract the business, which was once restricted to Saturdays, throughout the week.
Recent years have also seen a move away from a simple choice of church or registry office weddings to a host of historic halls, modern hotels and even hot air balloons. You can get married under the sea, as you parachute to earth from a plane or on a roundabout at a fairground.
Despite all these changes one thing has remained constant for English weddings; you have to get married between 8am and 6pm.
From October that is about to change with the Protection Of Freedom Act which will allow couples to get married at any time of day.
The Act ends a 175-year-old ruling that marriages had to be registered during the day. So if you want to get married at dawn in a stately home or midnight in a corn field you will be able to.
The legal change will be good news for people looking for marriage and wedding reception venues in Essex, Eastborne or Ely and will open up a host of new opportunities.
Anyone wanting to get married at National Trust property, for example, is currently restricted by the fact that many of them are open to the public between 9am and 5pm. Now, once the paying public has gone home, these historic buildings can become romantic wedding venues.
Some people may select times which are significant to them, perhaps coinciding with the time they met their beloved. Others will prefer romantic sunset ceremonies or even midnight weddings.
In some cultures certain numbers, including 8 and 6, are considered lucky so registrars all over England are expecting these to be popular times for weddings.
The change in the law won’t bring a rush to the altars of Scotland though; the law north of the border has always allowed weddings around the clock.