Getting Married in Church?
A marriage service, wherever it is held, is a public declaration of love and commitment to your partner. If you choose to get married in church, there is an added dimension – the assurance that God cares about you relationship and that God’s resources and strength are available to help you. Including God in your marriage doesn’t mean that you will avoid all the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that God’s love will sustain you. You will also have the support and encouragement of the Christian Church family.
Preparing for the service: frequently asked questions
There is more information on the national church website at:
Q - Where can I get married?
A - You are entitled to be married in the church of the Church of England parish where one or other or you lives. If you are an active, worshipping member of another church congregation, it is usually possible to be married there. You can also get married in a church where you have a "qualifying connection", this can be where you were baptised, where your parents (or grandparents) got married, where you used to live etc. Contact us.
Q - How do I book the church?
A - Contact the clergy. Details are in each church section of this website.
Q - What are the legal requirements?
A - You must have your banns read out in church for three consecutive Sundays during the three months before the wedding. Banns are an announcement of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as at the church in which you are to be married if that is another parish. (In some
cases there may be an alternative to banns – see the Church of England web site.)
If you are under the age of eighteen, you might have your parents’ consent to marry.
There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced: see the separate question on this issue.
Q - How much will it cost?
A - The legal fees for a marriage cover the publication of the banns, certificate of banns (if necessary), the marriage service and certificate of marriage. These fees are fixed centrally and will cost between £385 and £420.
These fees do not cover any extras you may wish to have for the service, such as a choir, organist, bell-ringers, special lighting, fees for video recording and so on. Check with your parish priest.
Q - Can I choose what kind of service I want?
A - You can choose to have a modern language service or one in more traditional language. Talk over the options with your parish priest. There are usually one or more readings from the bible in the service – your parish priest can help you select the most appropriate. There will also be some prayers, which you may help to choose, or you may write your own. You may also decide to have someone other then the minister leading the prayers.
The minister will probably give a brief talk or sermon.
If you have friends or family members you would like to involve in the service, for example by doing a reading or playing a musical instrument, discuss this with your parish priest at an early stage of your planning.
Q - Which hymns and songs can I have?
A - Your parish priest or the church organist can advise on suitable hymns and songs, as well as music for coming in, going out and during the signing of the register. If you want to set out the words and/or music on a printed service sheet, you will need to comply with the copyright laws – you should consult your parish priest about this.
Q - Should we have one or two rings?
A - A wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of and commitment you are making to each other. It is entirely up to you whether you have one ring or two.
Q - Can we have a video recording of the service?
A - You will need to ask permission from the parish priest and from any organist/worship leader. There may be a small fee to pay: ask your parish priest about this.
Q - What if one of us is divorced?
A - The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognizes that, sadly, some marriages do fail and, if this should happen, it seeks to be available for al involved. The church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in Church during the lifetime of a former spouse.
What do Christians believe about marriage?
Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God. In the marriage ceremony, a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love each other, come what may.
The Bible compares married love with the love Jesus has for his followers. He expressed his love by being prepared to sacrifice himself, even to die for the people he loved. This is amazing, unconditional love. Jesus never said ‘I love you, but …’. In our marriages we can try to follow his model by loving our partners in a self-sacrificial way, putting their needs before our own.
The marriage ceremony gives you a new legal status as husband and wife and a new stability within which your relationship can flourish and grow. Christians believe that marriage offers the right place for the fulfillment of our sexuality and that it provides a stable and secure environment for bringing up children.