Plan a wedding
We’re planning a church wedding. What do we do now?
Congratulations! We wish you well as you begin your journey into married life.
We believe that marriage is a wonderful gift from God. In the marriage ceremony, a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love each other, come what may.
Can I get married at Holy Trinity or St Leonards’?
From 1st October 2008, a change in church law means that you can get married in a church where one or both of the couple can establish a ‘Qualifying Connection’ with the parish. This connection may be any one of the seven that follow, that either of the couple:
- Was baptised in the parish.
- Has been confirmed and was prepared for confirmation in the parish.
- Has at any time lived in the parish for at least 6 months.
- Has at any time habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months.
- Has or had a parent who lived in the parish for at least 6 months after the applicant was born.
- Has or had a parent who regularly attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months at any time during the applicant’s lifetime.
- Has or had a parent or grandparent who was married in the parish.
None of the above affects the existing rights of residents or those on the Church Electoral Roll. When someone applies to be married, the church will ask the couple to supply proof that one of the qualifying conditions applies before a booking can be made.
How much will it cost?
The legal fees for a marriage cover the publication of the banns, the marriage service and a certificate of marriage. These fees are fixed centrally and will be around £350. These fees do not cover any extras you may wish to have for the service, such as flowers, bell-ringers, fees for video recording and so on. Ask the Vicar for a list of fees for these.
Can we be involved in planning the service?
Yes. You might have firm ideas on your choice of favourite hymns or readings to include in your service. If you need further advice, the Vicar can help.
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?
Can we have a video recording of the service?
You will need to ask permission from the Vicar and there is a fee chargeable and a form to sign. Permission is not required to record the authorised words of the service, but bear in mind there may be copyright issues if you're recording a person's performance (e.g. a professional organist) or using copyright hymns or readings.
Do you have rehearsals?
The priest taking your service will probably want to meet you and the other key people taking part in the service before the wedding, in the church, to talk to you all about what to expect. The key people involved will include the bride, groom, best man, bridesmaids and pageboys and whoever is giving the bride away.
What about flowers in church?
We have a team of skilled flower arrangers who can do this for you at a reasonable charge and they will be very happy to discuss options with you. You can also do your own flower arrangements or engage your own florist. Ask for the telephone number of the Flower Team when making your church booking with the Vicar.
We’ve decided to get married abroad but we would like a church blessing. Is that possible?
There is no reason why you shouldn’t do this, provided the Vicar is happy. There is a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony and this can be adapted. There are no legal requirements or set fees.
I’m divorced. Can I still get married in church?
The Church of England believes that marriage is for life. But it also recognises that, sadly, some marriages do fail. In some circumstances, the Church accepts that a divorced person may marry again. All applications for remarriage are handled with care and sensitivity. The Vicar will want to talk to you frankly about your past experiences and your hopes for the future. A remarriage is conducted at the conclusion of a lengthy process of discussion, enquiry and consultation and only after all legal requirements have been satisfied.
Even if he feels it is not possible to do a full wedding, the Vicar can offer you a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony.
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.