The information here is designed to help you plan your big day in one of the Aln & Coastland Churches it contains advice on what will happen, what you need to sort out and an idea of cost.
You have probably already spent many hours planning your wedding. There are so many things to think about – the dress, the cake, whom to invite, the honeymoon. All of these are important, but the wedding is just one day, while marriage should last for the rest of your lives.
Alongside the wedding preparations it is also important to spend time as a couple talking through your expectations of marriage. However much you think you have in common, you are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears. We would be delighted to help you with any of these things.
Above all, though, we hope that you have a wonderful wedding day and that it will mark the beginning of a long and very happy marriage.
If you have any questions at any time about your wedding or any of the details, contact Revd Ian MacKarill on 01665 830281.
Useful link: www.yourchurchwedding.org
What happens in the marriage service…
This is an outline of the main parts of the service but not the specific order.
Beginning the service
Traditionally, the bride and groom enter the church separately – the groom first with the best man, and the bride at the time set for the start of the service, on the arm of her father or another relative or friend (it does not need to be a man). However, the bride may enter alone if she wishes, or the couple may enter together.
The minister will welcome the congregation. Your family and friends have an important role to play as witnesses and supporters of your marriage.
The minister will read an introduction explaining what Christians believe about marriage. He or she will also ask, as the law requires, if anyone knows any reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.
You will then be asked to promise before God, your friends and your families, that you will love, comfort, honour and protect your partner and be faithful to them as long as you both shall live.
The minister will also ask the congregation to declare that they will support and uphold your marriage.
Turning to each other, the bride and groom take each other’s right hand and make vows:
The couple then exchange a ring or rings as a ‘sign of their marriage’ and a reminder of the vows:
"With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
The minister will then declare that you are now husband and wife. The minister does not ‘marry you’; you marry each other. The minister just directs you in this and then tells everyone that you have done it properly. The first thing that you do as a married couple is to kneel for a prayer of blessing.
Readings and talk or sermon
It is usual to have one or more readings (one of which should be from the Bible) and the minister may give a talk or sermon.
Finally prayers are said. In the prayers God’s blessing and help is asked for you. You may wish to help choose the prayers or to write your own. The prayers will finish with the Lords Prayer and will be followed by a final blessing to the congregation.
Signing of the register
A marriage ‘solemnised’ in Church is recognised in law. During the Service the bride, groom and two witnesses will sign the register. This is a legal requirement and the minister will give you a copy of the marriage certificate.
Things you may need to think about:
Q: Can anyone get married in Church?
A:You’re welcome to marry in the Church of England whatever your beliefs, whether or not you are christened and regardless of whether you go to church or not. It’s your church, and we welcome you!
Q: But don’t you have to live in the Parish?
A: To some extent this is true, you must have a connection with the church you want to marry in either by having lived there (even if this was years ago) or if your parents of grandparents were married there. The full list of requirements can be found here www.yourchurchwedding.org/youre-welcome/more-churches-to-choose-from.aspx. Please talk with the vicar if you are in doubt.
Q: What are Banns of Marriage?
A:Banns are an announcement in church of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.
Banns are read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding.Banns must be read at all the churches where you live as well as the one where the marriage will take place. You need to arrange for this with the local Vicar.
In addition to the fee for the Banns a certificate must be produced and sent to the church where you are to be married before the wedding can take place.
Q: When can I get married?
A:Providing the church and Vicar are free, you can marry in church on any day of the week. However a Church wedding is legal only if it happens between 8am and 6pm.
Q: One of us is divorced – can we still get married in Church?
A:You must come and talk to us – we would never say ‘no’ without talking with you first. There are guidelines set down by our Bishop and we do apply them quite strictly. There have been weddings here where one or both people have been divorced. We are always keen to talk this through with you and see what options and alternatives might be possible – and there are many. The important thing is that we are here to help you and offer support, information and advice.
Q: We were married in the register office – can we come to Church later and have the wedding blessed?
A:Yes. Once you are legally married, we cannot marry you again, but can arrange for your marriage to be blessed here, so that any family or friends who were not able to be present when you made your vows, can be part of the great event. You don’t need to have any connection with any of our parishes at all to enjoy such a blessing here. Please contact us – we would be delighted to hear from you.
What will it cost?
Approximate costs for 2015 are as follows:
¹Banns read at other churches will require a certificate (£13.00) in addition this charge.
““I read in a book that a man called Christ went about doing good. It distresses me that I am so easily satisfied with just going about.” (Toyohiko Kagawa)