Getting Married in Church – Notes for Couples
Congratulations on your engagement! And thank you for your enquiry about getting married in one of our churches.
This pack gives details of how to proceed with booking and planning your marriage in church. There are a number of legal preliminaries which we are required to go through to establish your eligibility to be married in a particular church, and it is essential that we follow the law carefully before moving onto the more exciting elements of the planning.
You are legally eligible to be married in your parish church if you reside in the parish, attend worship at the church, or have some other qualifying connection (e.g. you were baptised in the church, your parents or grandparents were married in the church, you or your parents resided in the parish for a period of six months at some time during your lifetime. For full details, see FORM D which should be completed and returned with your application.)
People who have been divorced are usually allowed to be married in church, but the priest is required to speak with you before we can confirm this.
Special conditions apply to foreign nationals. Please refer to the Rector to discuss the details.
You will also be required of provide proof of identity.
Please complete the application form (Contact Us for this) and the statement of eligibility and return it to the churchwarden of the church in which you want to be married. A £100 deposit is required at the time of booking.
If you need help in completing these forms, please do ask.
PLEASE NOTE: your wedding is not booked until you have completed and returned the forms together with your identity documents, paid the deposit and your eligibility has been checked, and you have received written confirmation of the details. You are advised not to make other arrangements for the day until you have received confirmation of eligibility and the availability of your proposed date.
Please be aware that most of those involved with the arrangement and conduct of your wedding in church give their services voluntarily and without payment. However, there are statutory fees for the marriage and local fees for particular which we try to keep to a minimum.
Statutory fees are set nationally and revised annually. A copy of the present fees is enclosed with this pack, but these are revised with effect from 1 January each year. The present fees may be checked at Church of England Service Fees
In addition local fees cover optional items (where available) such as heating, organist, choir, flowers, bells, orders of service, etc. A copy of the fees for these items is also included in the pack, or may be downloaded. The local fees list also gives details of who to make cheques payable to.
The balance of fees is payable at least one month in advance of the marriage. The deposit is refundable if you change your plans, less any deductions for any expenses already incurred by the church.
Banns of marriage are normally published at public worship in your parish church on three consecutive Sundays up to three months in advance of your wedding. This is the ancient custom which is the legal equivalent of the requirement to publish a notice in advance of a civil ceremony at the registry office.
Banns of marriage are read in the church in which you are to be married. The dates for the reading of the banns will be agreed with you, and you are invited to attend church to hear them read. If you are not familiar with the church this is a good opportunity to see how thing work and to meet key members (e.g. churchwardens, verger, organist, priest, etc.)
If you do not live in the parish in which you are to be married, banns must also be read in the ecclesiastical parish in which each of you resides. It is your responsibility to approach your local church and arrange for the banns to be read there. After the banns have been read, that parish will give you a certificate which you must present to the officiating minister in advance of you marriage.
A fee is payable in each church where the banns are to be read, please see note concerning statutory fees above.
You are advised to make arrangements for the reading of banns as soon as possible so that everyone is confident that this legal preliminary is completed. If you need assistance to find your home parish church, you might find the website www.achurchnearyou.com helpful. If you need further help, please do ask.
1. Please meet with the churchwarden to discuss and finalise your choice of optional items (organist, choir, bells, printed orders of service, flowers, etc. – although please be aware that not all these are available in all our churches) as soon as possible.
2. You will be invited to a preparation meeting with the officiating minister. This is normally arranged about 6 months in advance of the marriage. This will give an opportunity to meet and get to know each other, talk about marriage and you hopes for the ceremony, plan the order of service and resolve any further questions.
3. More information about Christian marriage and planning the service is available in the pack.
4. There will be a rehearsal, usually during the week before the wedding, at a time to suit you both and the officiating minister.
The service contains some material which is legally required (for example: the declarations, the vows and the exchange of rings), but there are plenty of alternatives and options to explore which will personalise the occasion.
The priest who will be conducting your service will discuss the options available, but you may wish to check out some of the material available on the websites: Your Church Wedding or Church of England
Readings. When you have agreed the Bible reading and any other readings with the priest, you are welcome to choose friends or family to read them.
Hymns and music. If you would like to meet the organist as you choose your music, or if you need help to choose your hymns, please ask. These will be finalised between yourselves and the officiating priest when you meet.
We do not advise the use of recorded music for the bridal entry or for the wedding march because the sound quality tends not to do justice to the occasion, whereas the organ is designed to fill the space. You may wish to use recorded music during the signing of the registers, or the organist will play suitable music.
We want to do everything to ensure that you have a wonderful day. The following notes cover some of the questions you may have, but please do not hesitate to ask anything you wish to know. If you have any special ideas, please let us know in advance so that we can take these into account in planning of the service, and give advice on how to achieve what you have in mind to best effect as part of the whole.
Bridal Entry. The normal custom in English Church weddings is for the Bride and her father, or other escort, to enter the church before the bridesmaids and other attendants. If you prefer to adopt the American custom of the bride entering after the bridesmaids, please discuss this in advance. This gives a very different dramatic shape to the ceremony, and care needs to be taken in choice of appropriate musical accompaniment (the traditional ‘here comes the bride’ doesn’t really work in this style of entry.)
Certificates. Please indicate in advance if you would like two copies of the marriage certificate. The statutory fee is higher for a copy after the event.
Children. Children are always welcome in church, and especially at weddings. Please do not feel that children have to be taken out if they make a noise. They are part of the family. Some of the churches have a carpeted area which may be more comfortable for children, but normally we find that if their parents are actively engaged with the service, children will be captivated by the occasion.
Confetti. We are happy for confetti to be used, but please encourage guests to use organic matter rather than plastic. Metallic confetti is not permitted. [Confetti may not be used inside the churchyard at Riby Church due to the gravel path]
Flowers. There will usually be some flowers in church, except during lent. If you wish to have additional flowers you may organise this by requesting additional flowers from those responsible for the flowers in church, by commissioning a florist, or by arranging your own flowers. Please speak to the churchwarden about options.
Weddings and Baptisms Contacts
Healing St Peter & St Paul
Christina Coleman – 01472 280210
To contact via email use the Contact Form on the Healing Parish’s page
Laceby St Margaret
Jane Gamon – 01472 280210
To contact via email use the Contact Form on the Laceby Parish’s page
Weddings, Baptism and Funerals at all other Churches
Rev. Philip Stevens – 01472 753602
To contact via email use the Main Contact Form