Declaring your love in church
We are thrilled that you are engaged and are thinking about the possibility of getting married in church.
This page aims to give you a general picture of getting married in church, how we can assist you with your wedding, how we can support you in the lead up to your wedding (and after) and finally how to start the process of booking a wedding with us.
I hope that you find this section of our website useful. If you need a chat or advice, then please get in touch. I’d be very glad to help in whatever way I can.
With my love and prayers for you as you embark on this exciting adventure.
Rev. Dean Aaron Roberts
Rector & Vicar
What do we believe about marriage?
The introduction to the Marriage Service describes marriage as a gift from God. The Bible teaches that marriage is a life-long, faithful union between a man and a woman, and compares married love with the love Jesus has for his people – a love expressed in his willing sacrifice of himself on the cross.
“Marriage is a gift of God through which husband and wife may grow together in the knowledge, love and service of God. It is given that, united with one another in heart, in mind and in body, they may increase in love and trust. God joins husband and wife in life-long union as the foundation of family life (in which children are born and nurtured) and in which each member of the family, in good times and in bad, may find strength, companionship and comfort, and grow to maturity in love. Marriage enriches society and strengthens community. It is a way of life made holy by God” ~ The Marriage Service
Jesus therefore sets the greatest example of unconditional, self-sacrificial love – a model that husband and wife can seek to follow in the way they love one another, each putting the other’s needs first. At the heart of the marriage ceremony is the exchange of vows, in which a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love each other, whatever the future may bring.
Why get married in church?
Churches are special places and there are some things about a church wedding that you just can’t get anywhere else.
A church is so much more than simply a venue for your wedding. Unique and special things become part of your marriage, on the day itself and beyond:-
- A church wedding will add a spiritual dimension to your marriage. The ceremony includes God and looks to him for help and guidance. God’s blessing is the main attraction for many couples, whatever their beliefs.
- You can make amazing vows, or promises, in a church. You can only make vows this big in a church. These vows, made in public, will help you to stay together and grow together. God and your church are there for you to help you keep your vows.
- The Vicar has a very particular role to play in your wedding. They can blend ancient tradition and modern experience to reflect your story. Because of the relationship with the Vicar, your wedding can be made personal, memorable, meaningful and beautiful.
- Church buildings offer outstanding beauty. Old or new, intimate or grand, our churches are some of the nation’s most stunning wedding venues, with five out of our six churches being listed.
- Church buildings offer centuries of history. Imagine all the couples who have married in one of our churches, some of whom may well be your family. You can feel like you’re becoming part of history itself, the bigger plan, by marrying in the same place as your relatives. We know these sorts of connections can make your day even more special.
- You can be involved in making choices about your ceremony. Your vicar wants to make your wedding service personal and unique to you as a couple.
- For some people, a church simply seems like the proper place to get married. Churches can be described as ‘peaceful’, ‘serene’, or having an atmosphere that makes marrying there a particularly special experience.
- And after your wedding, you’ll realise that a church is more than simply a wedding venue. We will always be here for you.
We believe that when you get married in church, you form a new and life-long relationship with the church you get married in, and the vicar who marries you. We will always be there for you – whether it’s to do with faith and belief, your relationship, or even if you need practical help in tough times. Through prayer, listening, practical support and friendship, we are there for you for the whole ride, not just up until your wedding day.
Your Church Wedding
You have a right to be married in your local parish church.
The law requires that at least one of those to be married should:
- resides in the parish where the wedding is to take place, or
- be a regular worshipper in the parish and to have your name entered on the church electoral roll, or
- have a ‘qualifying connection’. A ‘qualifying connection’ as described in the Marriage (Wales) Act 2010 is that you were baptised or confirmed in the parish, that you or a parent formally lived for at least six months in the parish, that you or a parent formerly habitually attended worship in the parish for at least six months or that a parent or grandparent had been married in the parish.
If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents’ consent to marry.
If you have been divorced, your vicar will need to talk this through with you before agreeing to your marriage.
No doubt you will be already organising your wedding day, customising it to suit your personalities and preferences.
We can tailor your church marriage service so that it is a unique celebration. By including readings, hymns/songs and music of your choice, your marriage service will be unique and personal to you, your family, and your friends. We are always a fan of new ideas and are willing to give most things a go – so please be creative with your vicar when planning the service.
Your vicar will get to know you both quite well in the lead up to your wedding day. There will be various meetings from the initial meet-up to confirm information you submit to us, to marriage preparation, to the wedding rehearsal.
Marriage preparation is an important part of your journey to getting married. So often people are so consumed by the wedding day that they don’t have enough time to think about their marriage, which will hopefully last a lot longer than 24 hours! To that end, we provide helpful, current, and practical marriage preparation from a Christian viewpoint to get you thinking and talking to each other about your relationship. We cover 5 key areas:
- Resolving Conflict
- Keeping your love alive
- Shared goals and values
Not only will the marriage preparation benefit you as a couple, it will also benefit your relationship with your vicar who will be able to spend some quality time with you.
What are banns?
Banns are the usual legal preliminary to a church wedding. They are an announcement of your intention to marry and an opportunity for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns are read out in the main Sunday service in the parish where each of you lives as well as the church in which you are to be married, if that is in another parish. The Banns are called on three (usually but not necessarily consecutive) Sundays during the twelve weeks before the wedding.
Do I have to be married in my Parish Church, or could I choose any church?
If you are a regular worshipper in a church outside the parish in which you live, it is usually possible to be married there. If you are not a regular worshipper, why not start attending? You will normally be expected to attend services for at least six months before becoming eligible to be married in a church other than your parish church.If you want to get married in one of our churches but you don’t have a qualifying connection, please contact us.
Could I be married in church even if I don’t go to church?
Yes! Remember that the wedding ceremony in church has a distinctively Christian character and assumes that you accept the Christian understanding of marriage.
Can a divorced person have a church wedding?
Marriage is for life, but it is a sad fact that some marriages do fail. There are some circumstances in which a divorced person may marry again in church. If you are considering a church wedding and have been divorced, you should discuss this with your parish priest.
How much will it cost?
The legal fees for a marriage cover the publication of the banns, the marriage service and a certificate of marriage. There will be additional fees for other things such as administration costs, organist, bell-ringers, permission to make a video recording etc. These fees change in January each year, so your vicar will give you full details when you’re in touch. We usually say to budget for £1000 (out of which you will get a lot of change!) If money is a worry for you, please mention this when you speak to your vicar. They will try to help you as much as possible.
Why do we need marriage preparation?
Most marriages are entered into confidently, assuming that they will last, but a very high proportion end in the tragedy of separation and divorce. Your marriage may have to last many years until death parts you, so it makes sense, however well you know one another, to think through your future relationship as man and wife. We will therefore invite you to participate in preparation for your life together.
When may we marry?
The day and time of the service is decided in consultation with your vicar. It must be between 8am and 6pm and not clash with other Church services. For example, if you wanted to marry on a Sunday, it would have to be at a time other than the normal Sunday services and when the minister is available.
Is it possible to have a church blessing after being married abroad or by Civil Ceremony?
Yes. Ask your parish priest or minister about this. There are no legal preliminaries necessary.
What if one of us lives abroad?
You will still be able to get married, but the process for getting the necessary legal consent is different. Your vicar will help with sorting this out.
What if one of us is a foreign national?
If one of the parties is a national of a country outside Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the EU or USA, it would be wise to obtain from the relevant embassy or consulate a letter saying that the marriage will be recognised there. You will still be able to get married here, but the process for getting the necessary legal consent is different. Your vicar will help with sorting this out.
If you still have questions about having a wedding in church, you can get in touch with us here.
However, if you want to get the ball rolling and make a wedding enquiry, please fill in the form below: