Congratulations on your engagement! An exciting and happy time lies ahead and there will be so much to think about. If you’re wondering how to make a start on all the planning and preparations for the service, this section will guide you through the first steps.
More than a Venue!
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 centuries of history. Imagine all the couples who have married in your local church, some of whom may well be your family. You can feel 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.
- 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.
Can I get married in Church?
It is both a privilege and a duty for your vicar to join a man and a woman in marriage. The good news is that you can marry in church regardless of your beliefs, whether or not you are christened and whether or not you have been a regular churchgoer.
Because getting married gives you a whole new legal status with many benefits, there are considerations for the vicar to make in both UK civil and church law. The requirements are simple and outlined below, but there could be complications if:-
- One or both of you is not a British or Irish Citizen.
- If one or both of you has been married before. There may well be a way forward for you to be re-married in church but the vicar has certain considerations in these circumstances.
Although same-sex marriage legislation has changed, it remains the case that it is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in the Church of England.
You also must be old enough to get married! If you are under 18 years old, you will need your parents’ consent to marry and by law you cannot be married in the UK until you are 16.
It is usual that the marriage takes place after the ‘Publishing of Banns of marriage’. In the 3 main Sunday Services in the month before your wedding your details are ‘published’ with the words ‘if any know of any legal reasons why these people should not be joined in marriage you are to declare it’. To be married by Banns in a church a qualifying connection is required. You will qualify if either of you: · were baptised in the parish. (This does not apply where the baptism formed part of a combined service of baptism or confirmation); or · had your confirmation entered in a church register book of a church or chapel in the parish; or · has at any time had your usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or · has at any time have habitually (once a fortnight) attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months; or one of your Parents has at any time during your lifetime: · had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months; or a Parent or Grandparent of that person was married in the parish.
How much does it cost?
Unlike a venue there is no charge to ‘hire’ the church. However, every year Statutory Fees are set nationally for the service, the publishing of the Banns. In 2024 this would cost £567. For church bells, or the provision of an organist, there is an extra cost set by the ringers and the organist and we can give details if required. If the wedding was to take place between October and April there is a minimal charge to cover heating the building for 24 hours before the service; in 2024 that would be £100
At the service you and your witnesses will sign the Marriage Document. The Minister will then return this to the local registrar’s office who will register the wedding. After a period of 10 to 14 days from the wedding you will need to apply to the registrar’s office, this should be possible on-line and apply for the number of wedding certificates you require. The office will charge a fee and it may take another 10 days to receive the certificates in the post.
Simply make contact with the Rector, Bruce, either via e-mail at Ilchestervicar@aol.com or by phone 01935849441