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.
We’ve decided to get married abroad but we would like a church blessing. Is that possible?
Yes. There is a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony and this can be adapted. There are no legal requirements for this.
I’m Church of England and he’s a Catholic. Does that matter?
People of all denominations have a right to be married in their parish church (provided they have not been married before). So it doesn’t matter from the Church of England’s perspective.
Do we need marriage preparation?
During the months before your wedding we will invite you come to an intewrview with the Rector to discuss the arrangements and ask any questions you may have. It is very important that you both attend at the set time. If you cannot come on that day we would ask that you let us know as soon as possible. Please come prepared to talk about the day and to answer any questions the Rector may have for you.
What are the legal requirements?
Unless you are getting married by Common or Special licence the normal way is to have your banns read out in church on the first three Sundays of the month before your wedding. You would be most welcome to join the church community for the 10.00 am service and to hear them read. The banns must be read 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.
If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents’ consent to marry.
There are circumstances where some form of licence, such as a common licence or special licence, is more appropriate. The Rector will discuss with you what you need to do.
How much will it cost?
The cost of a wedding varies enormously depending on whether you have extras added such as choir, bells or video. Please click here to see the costs for this year.
Can we be involved in planning the service?
Yes. You can choose to have a modern language service or one in more traditional language including the Book of Common Prayer service.
Should we have one or two rings?
A wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of the commitment you are making to each other. It is entirely up to you whether you have one ring or two.
Can I marry in any other colour than white?
Is there a rehearsal?
Yes. The time for this will be arranged at your interview. It is usually during the week before your wedding. You will both need to come to this and you may bring your parents, best man and bridesmaids if you wish.
May we marry on a Sunday?
Although you have the right to get married in a church,we do not normally do Sunday weddings as we have other services on that day. If it is possible to be married on a Sunday the time of your ceremony will be restricted. We would not be able to hold a ceremony before 1.00pm and on the first and third Sundays of every month we hold baptism services at 3.00pm.
What happens if one of us lives abroad?
Marriage by Common Licence can take place on the basis of one of the couple living in the parish or regularly attending the church without any action being necessary where the other party lives. The Rector will know how to apply for a Common Licence. However, because we hold a wedding interview, we need to be able to see you both.
What happens if one of us is a foreign national?
If one is a national of a country outside Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the EU or USA the Church has a responsibility to conduct marriages which will be recognised in the country the bride or groom comes from. This is done for the couple’s benefit not just for bureaucracy. Therefore, the Faculty Office strongly recommends that these marriages should be done by Common Licence rather than banns and you may need to obtain from the relevant embassy or consulate a letter saying the marriage will be recognised.
Can we renew our vows?
Yes. We offer a service of Thanksgiving of Marriage, which may be used for a number of different occasions including:
Renewing marriage vows
To celebrate a special anniversary
After a period of separation or difficulty in marriage.
You may also wish to combine the renewing of vows with a service of Holy Communion. There are no legal requirements or set fees.
My partner is divorced. Can we still marry in church?
The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life, but it also recognises that some marriages sadly do fail. We understand that, and in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church.
At St Mary's the Rector is willing to discuss the possibility of such a marriage. We would need to talk to you openly about your the past, your hopes for the future and your understanding of marriage.
You will also need to supply your original Decree Absolute. It is important to realise that no definite arrangements for any kind of service can be made until you have spoken to the Rector. Please click here for his contact details.
We don't live in the Parish. Can we still marry at St Mary's?
The law as it stands states that you may marry outside of your own Parish if you apply to be on the Electoral Roll of the church where you wish to be married. To do this you must have been baptised and must attend worship on a regular basis for a period of six months prior to application. The PCC (Parochial Church Council) will then consider your application. Recently, the Church of England has introduced a new law called the Marriage Measure which aims to provide a wider choice to engaged couples. If you wish to know the details of the Marriage Measure click here.
Click here to find out which parish you currently live in.