Your Wedding Day is one of the most important days of your life! The celebrations of course last for just one day. Marriage lasts for the rest of your life!
Lots of time, money and energy goes into organising a wedding, so these pages are here to help you think about Christian Marriage and what the Wedding Ceremony is all about, along with some guidance on how to get married in Church.
Banns of Marriage
Most people are married after the Publishing of Banns (where your intention to get married is read out on three consecutive Sundays) or, less frequently, by a Common or Special License. If only one of you lives in the parish where you would like to be married you will need to arrange the reading of banns in the parish in which the other lives. If neither of you live in the parish but you are able to get married at St Mary's by fulfilling one of the qualifying connections below then the banns must be read in the parish in which each resides and in the church where the marriage is to be solemnized.
Who can get Married at St Mary's?
To get married at St Mary's one of you is required to be living within the parish or to have some ‘qualifying connection’ with the parish. These are:
that person was baptised in that parish (unless the baptism took place in a combined rite which included baptism and confirmation) or is a person whose confirmation had been entered in the register book of confirmation for any church or chapel in that parish;
that person has at any time had his or her usual place of residence in that parish for a period of not less than six months;
that person has at any time habitually attended public worship in that parish for a period of not less than six months;
a parent of that person has during the lifetime of that person had his or her usual place of residence in that parish for a period of not less than six months or habitually attended public worship in that parish for that period;
a parent or grandparent of that person has been married in that parish.
What if one of us has already been married and divorced?
At present those who have been married and divorced (and whose former spouse is still alive) are unable to be married at St Mary's. However, it may be possible to be married in another parish in which one of you lives or has a qualifying connection. The parish priest can help you to explore this.
What if one of us is a foreign national?
If one of you 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. The marriage should be by Common Licence and not by banns. The priest will want to see a form of valid identification, such as passport, visa, or other reliable form of ID. with name and photograph.
If there is no evidence of permission to reside in this country and there is suspicion that one of the parties to the marriage is here illegally the Bishops would not wish the marriage to proceed by Common Licence. This is because a common licence is issued in the exercise of the Bishop’s discretion as a dispensation from the requirement of banns and the Bishops would not wish to be seen to condone illegality. In such circumstances the marriage can only proceed by banns and must do so if the couple so desire, provided the necessary residency requirements are satisfied and the cleric, if necessary in consultation with the Diocesan Registrar, is satisfied that the marriage will not be invalid for any other reason.
Marriage is described by the Church as a gift from God. The Bible teaches us that marriage is a life-long, faithful union between a man and a woman, and compares married love with the love that Jesus has for his church – a love expressed in his outstretched arms on the cross. It should only be entered upon after great thought and with great seriousness.
You will, no doubt, have a date in mind. You may even have booked venues and made various other arrangements. However, don't forget that you really need to contact the parish priest first! He will want to talk with you about what it means to get married as well as to make sure that he and the church are available for that particular day! He will also help you to plan the Marriage Service by choosing hymns, prayers and readings. So please get in touch as soon as possible!
May we take Photographs during the Service?
Members of the congregation are discouraged from taking photographs during the ceremony. If you are employing a professional photographer for your special day then they need to liase with the parish priest as to what is possible. If you are intending to record the marriage service, the camera operator is required to have the appropriate copyright license and show this to the priest before the service. They also are required to liase with the priest about where the camera is to be situated.
Can we arrange the Flowers in Church?
Many people ask if they may decorate the church with flowers for their wedding. This, of course, is possible but does need to be discussed and arranged well in advance.
When may we marry?
The day and time of the service is decided in consultation with the parish priest. The Law states that It must be between 8 am and 6 pm. It must also, of course, 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 priest is available. By custom, there are no weddings during Lent, the church season covering the six weeks before Easter.
Will there be a Rehearsal?
Yes, we will arrange a time that is convenient for you and the parish priest. It will set your mind at rest for the big day!
How much does it cost?
There is, of course, a fee for getting married in Church There is often a slight increase from year to year and the fee at the time of the wedding (rather than at the time of arranging the wedding) will need to be paid. You may be asked to provide a deposit when you book the wedding. The full balance is required before the day of the wedding.
What about Hymns and Music?
The priest can help you choose suitable hymns, music and Scripture readings for the Wedding Service.
Most people are married after the Publishing of Banns (where your intention to get married is read out on three consecutive Sundays) or, less frequently, by a Common or Special License.
You are required to arrange the publishing of bann in the parish in which each of you live AND in the parish in which you are getting married
Banns are usually published (read) on three consecutive Sundays. There is no legal obligation for this - however, it is usually arranged this way for practical reasons as it ensures that the banns are published the required number of times.
You do not have to be present at the publishing of your banns but many couples do like to be hear them being read - and you are, of course, most welcome to come along! The banns will be published at the main Sunday morning Service at 11am (depending on which parish you live in).
If banns are published in one church for marriage in another then it is necessary for a certificate to be issued. The officiant at your wedding must see this certificate before the marriage can go ahead. It will be your responsibility to collect this certificate from the parish priest.
A marriage after banns must take place three calendar months from the last date of publication.
The incumbent is not obliged to publish banns unless seven days notice of your full names, place of residence and the length of time you have resided there.
The banns are written in a Register of Banns of Marriage, from which the banns are read and from which the certiciate is issued.