Now that you have decided who you want to marry the next question is where! If either of you live in the parish you are entitled to be married in the parish church.
If you don't live in the parish and want to be married here, then you need to do one of two things:
Firstly, you can worship in your chosen church regularly for 6 months, and then, if you are Baptised, join the church’s electoral roll (this makes you a member of the church) it is then your right to be married there.
Secondly, you are invited to prove a ‘qualifying connection’ with the parish church which you have chosen. This can be if you were:
¨ Baptised in the parish
¨ Confirmed in the parish
¨ Lived in the parish for 6 months, or if your parents (during your own lifetime) lived (or worshipped) in the parish for 6 months
¨ Or if your Parents or Grandparents were married in the Parish Church.
You may be asked to prove this connection. Banns still have to be read in both the Church where your wedding is to take place and in the parishes where you both live. If you still think that you don't qualify, do speak to me as it may be that we can apply for a special license. This may sound complicated but these are new rules which will allow more people to begin their marriage in church with the blessing of God and the prayers of the community.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (in no particular order) to help you on your way with the rest of the preparations:
¨ What if one of us is divorced?
It is possible to be married in church if you have been divorced, but you will need to speak to the vicar for more information.
¨ How long will the service be?
About 45 minutes.
¨ How many Hymns?
Most weddings have 2 or 3 hymns - for help in choosing them please speak to a priest or one of our organists.
¨ What readings can I have?
It is requested that you have one Bible reading, but many couples also include poetry and other readings.
¨ Can we take photos/videos?
Yes - but please no flash photos during the ceremony. Most couples and vicars find it very distracting.
¨ Can we use confetti?
Yes - but not inside the church and only the biodegradable sort. Foil and rice are not acceptable.
¨ Can we have Bells? Choir? Organist?
Yes - do speak to us to book and there is a cost implication, see below.
¨ How much will it cost?
The fees for a wedding are set by the Church of England centrally and are about £380. (this will vary slightly depending on whether or not you need Banns and it may go up slightly each year.) The Church also ask for voluntary £80 donation to cover heating, lighting, and other running costs. Other costs may include: Bells - £75, Organist - £60 and verger £20.
¨ What about flowers?
We can provide the names of the flower arrangers at each of the churches - or you can use your own florist.
¨ Will we have a rehearsal?
Yes - all couples need to have a rehearsal, usually on the Thursday or Friday before their wedding day. This is very important as you will practice your vows and it will help you be more relaxed on the day itself. It is also a chance for reflection and prayer in the place where you will marry without the pressures of the wedding day itself.
¨ Is marriage hard work?
Many couples are excited about their wedding day, but remember it is only one day whereas a marriage lasts a lifetime. We try to offer support to all our wedding couples, not just for the wedding but for the marriage itself. Every couple will be invited to meet with me a few times in the run up to the wedding when we talk in more depth about marriage and the basis for a good relationship, you will also be given information on places which offer help and sources of support if things do become difficult.
¨ We are not regular church goers...?
You will always be welcome, and you may find that this is a time in your life when you start to think more deeply about God and your relationship with him. To discuss this further do be in touch.
¨ We already have children…?
You have been blessed with the gift of Children and now the gift of marriage - time to give thanks to God! Marriage will change your family, and we pray give deeper commitment and joy to you all.
A Prayer for your Marriage
Lord God, we thank you for the gift of love, and we thank you for each other. We pray for our wedding day, that it may be filled with joy and touched by your presence. And we pray for our marriage, that it may be life giving and life long, and that as we journey together you will be with us always, in the joys and the sorrows, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.