So you’re thinking of getting married in church?
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”
He was speaking of divine love revealed in the person of Jesus. Perfect love. Humans are not perfect but if we aspire to love well, God honours the trying! A Christian wedding speaks to and of the best in human love, as it seeks to reflect in some small way the love of God for the world. It is a very special event.
CAN WE GET MARRIED IN CHURCH?
The simple answer is, almost certainly yes. There are rules as there are in any legally binding ceremony but we’re here to help you with those. You or your partner will need to display a ‘qualifying connection’ to the church – that usually means that you or they live in the parish or you have family who do; if you don’t you will need to worship with us for six months.
Banns need to be read by the priest in the church where you marry, and in the parishes where you live. This too is a legal requirement and would be explained further on enquiry.
IS THAT A PROBLEM?
Historically the reason divorced people could not marry in church is because you make vows to God promising to stay married until death, and how can those vows be made to a second person when the first still lives? That remains problematic but it is considered now that a pastoral and individual response is much more appropriate than a blanket ban. If you are divorced and want to marry in church, we will need to chat about how and why the first marriage ended but we will seek to support you if every way we can and we may very well be able to marry you. Just ask!
ISN'T IT HUGELY EXPENSIVE?
No. This is a myth. You hear of weddings costing thousands and thousands of pounds but they are the extras – the reception, honeymoon, dresses etc etc. A church wedding comes with statutory fees which we cannot alter because they are legally set – but they comprise a very small part of the overall cost – about £500.00.
On top of that our church can be adapted to provide a space for the reception too, helping you to cut costs further.
WHY DO PEOPLE CHOOSE CHURCH?
There are so many reasons but perhaps the most important is the sense of a deeply spiritual dimension to such a special day. The prayers, the vows, the blessing, the hymns (and you can choose your own, as well as other favourite songs) all offer food for the journey of married life together.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO NEXT?
There is a Church of England website to help you reflect on and plan your wedding.
It gives lots of good advice on every aspect of a wedding. And speak to the priest or another minister of this church. We would be delighted to help and it’s ok to just explore and ask.