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London - Couples in England will be able to get married at any time of the day or night from October, officials announced on Sunday.
Marriages in England and Wales are currently banned outside the hours of 8am and 6pm, under rules dating back to 1837.
The change opens up the possibility of dawn ceremonies or midnight marriages at historic venues that are only open to the public during the day.
The new rules will also apply to civil partnerships for homosexual couples.
However, 15 days' notice will still be required and local authorities and religious groups will not be forced to conduct marriages at unusual hours.
“Marriage and civil partnerships are something very personal to every couple that chooses to undertake them,” said Sarah Rapson, the Registrar General for England and Wales.
“This change will allow people to make their day unique to them.”
There are no restrictions on wedding times in Scotland, while Northern Ireland retains the traditional hours. - Sapa-AFP