What does the Church of England teach about marriage?
The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and life long, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman to the exclusion of all others on either side, for the procreation and nurture of children, for the hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affections, and for the mutual society, help and comfort which the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.
It shall be the duty of the minister…to explain to the two persons who desire to be married, the Church’s doctrine of marriage as herein set forth, and the need of God’s grace in order that they may discharge aright their obligations as married persons. Canon B30
Can we be married at St. Matthew & St Luke?
- You have the legal right to do so if either or both of you live in the parish or are on the church electoral roll, and neither of you has a partner from and previous marriage or civil partnership still living. You may need to ask about parish boundaries, and how “residence” is defined. If neither of you is baptized, this should be also be discussed.
- If either of you has a partner from a previous marriage or civil partnership still living, we are prepared to consider a wedding here, but you will need to discuss your situation in detail first with one of the clergy.
- The electoral roll is a list of all those who claim a real connection with the church and, if non-resident of the parish, have habitually attended worship for at least six months. Until this qualification is fulfilled, any arrangements made can only be provisional. If you are attending regularly as part of your preparation for you marriage you are asked to make yourself known to one of the churchwardens or clergy after service on each occasion. It is then your responsibility to apply for your names to be added to the electoral roll once you have attended for at least six months (ask the wardens for a form).
- If either of you move before the wedding you must let us know – it may affect your legal right to be married in the parish.
When can we get married?
Weddings are normally on a Saturday, but can also be on a Friday, except Good Friday and Easter Eve. Other days are by special arrangement only. Once a date has been fixed, you can then arrange your reception. We try to be as flexible as possible about the time of the service, but once a time as been chosen please contact us first if you want to revise the time as yours may not be the only service that day. If there are other weddings at two hours will be left between the start times of the services.
How much does it cost?
Included in the price of the basic wedding package is: service fees, church fees, verger, publication of banns (at St. Matthew’s only), music, 2 flower arrangements (1 pedestal in church and one arrangement in the porch, using our choice of seasonal flowers – if you have a particular choice and colour of flower there may be a small additional charge) and the marriage certificate. These fees, some of which are fixed nationally, are revised each year; you will be given a list of the current rates and details of the various “extras” that you might wish to include, such as permission to video, choir, etc.
What is the procedure?
Application and information forms are available in church after Sunday services, and someone will be on hand to answer any initial questions. Then you can either return the banns form within two weeks, or by arrangement with the vicar. (If either of you has a partner from a previous marriage or civil partnership still living you must arrange to see one of the clergy.) If there are any questions on the form that you are unsure about leave the box blank and we will help you. You will then be given a confirmation of the booking.
About four months before your wedding, contact one of the clergy to fix another meeting at which the following will be arranged:
- Either banns must be published – in other words, your names will be read at the main service on three successive Sundays to give opportunity for anyone who knows a legal impediment to the wedding to declare it. If either or both of you live outside the parish, you must arrange for banns to be read at you local Anglican church as well (after you have applied to be on the church’s electoral roll), after which you must get a certificate from the minister of that parish. Without this your wedding cannot go ahead.
- Or, in certain situations, marriage may be by licence rather than the above.
A date for the rehearsal
We will fix a mutually convenient date for the rehearsal – this is usually some time during the week before the wedding. We will also discuss who should be there.
Details of the service, including:
- Traditional or modern language service, we will help you to choose
- Wedding marches, there are numerous ones to choose from, a selection can be heard.
- Hymns: normally 3, although you may want fewer or another.
- Vows: using all your Christian names or just one; does the bride promise to obey?
- Readings and prayers: you may invite a friend or family member to be involved. We have a selection of Bible readings for you to choose from.
- Printed service cards? if so, you should not order them until the service details have been agreed with the clergy.
- Additional extras: Do you want to request the choir? they may be available. Do you want additional flowers? various options are available. Do you want the service videoed? there is a form to be filled out declaring no commercial use will be made of the recording, and the videographer must abide by the guidance notes provided; an addition fee to cover performing rights legislation is also payable. Copyright is the responsibility of the videographer.
- Photography: permission is normally given for photographs outside the church before and after the service (inside if wet). For a small fee some photographs may be taken during the service – the guidelines explain what is allowed. If another wedding follows your, we ask you to leave by 1½ hours after the time booked for your wedding to begin.
We offer you our best wishes for you future happiness!