Thinking of Getting Married? Congratulations!
If you would like to get married in one of our churches, please come to one of our Sunday services and speak to the priest after the service. We will do all we can to ensure your wedding day is a very happy one and that your marriage begins on the firmest of foundations. You will be invited to make your solemn promises to each other, not only in front of your family and friends but in the sight of God and with God's blessing.
We will help you to prepare carefully for your marriage, both with the logistics as well as emotionally and spiritually. You will be invited to marriage preparation sessions where we will discuss some of the dynamics of getting married. Each couple is also seen on a number of occasions prior to the wedding by the clergy person taking the service.
You can get married at any of our churches if you fulfil one of the following legal requirements:
If at least one of you lives within the parish
If at least one of you are regular worshippers at the church and are on the church's electoral roll
If at least one of you have some other connection to the parish such as your parents were married here or you were baptised here.
If you want to discuss the above eligibility criteria, please contact us for further information.
Banns of Marriage
Before anyone can be married in our churches, your banns of marriage will also need to be read out. This is done over three Sundays in a service within the benefice prior to your wedding. You must be present for all three readings. If either of you does not live within the benefice, you are also required to have the banns of marriage read in your local parish church. We can talk you through this process and give you more information should you be unsure.
Being divorced does not necessarily prevent you from being married in a church. If either of you have been divorced then the clergy will want to discuss with you how the previous marriage went wrong. We will also ask about the the needs and concerns of any children from previous marriages or relationships. If the clergy are happy to marry you then you can be married under the same qualifying conditions as above. If one of you belongs to another faith, which is not Christian, then it may still be possible for you to get married but you must have the normal Christian service.
If you are a foreign national, having a Church of England wedding will involve some extra paperwork to make sure your marriage is recognised in the country you come from. In many cases, it is straightforward and we are here to help you through the process. It is usually necessary for such marriages to be arranged through a licence procedure. We can advise whether you need this and can help you with the application.
British Citizens but not living in England
The priest will need to see the bride and groom's passports to confirm their nationalities. If they are both British nationals they will need to apply for a Common Licence as banns cannot be published in Scotland for a wedding in England. They will need to make an appointment with a Surrogate in our archdeaconry (the diocesan surrogates are in Wisbech or Huntingdon) to make the application and swear the appropriate affidavit (it can't be done in Scotland) – or alternatively make an appointment with the Ely Registry in London. They will need to provide, as part of the supporting documentation, confirmation that they have a qualifying connection with the parish church – a bill/bank statement and the original Decrees Absolute if divorced. The Surrogate will cover with you what you need to produce when you make an appointment to see them.
The cost of a Common Licence is £200.00.
If one, or both, of the couple is not a British or EEA citizen then they will need to apply for a Superintendent Registrar's Certificate.
About the Wedding Service
All readings must be short and suitable for worship in church, and at least one reading must be from the Bible. The following are commonly used and suitable for a wedding:
The Canons of the Church of England impose a legal duty on the Minister to ensure that 'chants, hymns, anthems, and other settings are chosen as are appropriate, both the words and the music, to the solemn act of worship and prayer in the church as well as to the congregation assembled for that purpose; and to banish all irreverence in the practice and in the performance of the same'. For this reason, we are only able to permit sacred music in our churches and these must be suitable for the organist. You may find the following list helpful in selecting processional and recessional music:
Organist, Choir and Bells
We are happy to try and arrange all of these for you, but it would be helpful to discuss your requirements fairly early. Talk to our church administrator, and she will advise you on these arrangements.
Photography and Videography
It is great to have good photos or video of your wedding, and we want to help you achieve that. But a word of warning: we have had a number of photographers and videographers who have no idea how to behave in a church service and who spoil the wedding for everyone else present.
So, we are very glad for you to have a photographer and/or videographer at the wedding, but do discuss it with the priest conducting your wedding in good time so that we can decide together what is appropriate and practicable. It can be really helpful if they can come to the rehearsal too, so they can work out with you and the priest what positions are good for everyone.
Our basic rules: they must not wander about during the wedding, but pick their spots in the church and stick to them; cameras must not have audible shutter sounds; no flash photography at all should not be used during the service. All of these can spoil things. You need to provide these rules to your photographer and videographer and make sure they understand them and will keep them. If they don’t, they will be told to leave. Sorry to be strict, but we have a lot of experience about how to make wedding services work well - and how photographers can spoil them for others present.
One more thing, it is really best if your guests don’t start taking pictures during the service, so do let them know they shouldn’t.
Please note that due to copyright regulations, taking videos of the wedding will increase the organist’s fee by 100%, and audio recording will increase this by 50%.
There may be some flowers in the church, except during Advent and Lent. You might want to pay for more, and we are happy for you to bring in your own flower arrangers. Please contact our weddings administrator to discuss. We very occasionally have more than one wedding on a Saturday, so you might have to liaise with another couple. We will let you know if that is the case.
You will need to fix a rehearsal for the service with the priest conducting your wedding. This is usually during the afternoon or evening on the day before the wedding. Apart from the bride and groom it is helpful if the best man and chief bridesmaid can come. Parents and ushers and other bridesmaids can come too.
We are happy for you to use confetti in the churchyard - but it has to be biodegradable. Flower petals are best. You can dry your own if you start early enough.
It is helpful to have someone from each family in the church at least half an hour before the wedding to look after guests, and also to help with clearing up afterwards.
Our verger will be present at the rehearsal and on the day to prepare the church and to help with any last minute queries.
After the wedding
Married life can be tougher than you expected. If you are worried about how things are going after the wedding, get in touch with the priest who conducted the wedding. We would love to help.
Timeline to the Big Day!
Once again, we would love you be get married in one of your churches. We are here to help you every step of the way. The sooner you contact us, the sooner we will be able to help you make your day a memorable day. Here is a brief checklist for the next steps
Visit the church where you want to get married and introduce yourself to the priest.
Complete a Wedding Application Form.
Make an appointment to meet the priest. Clergy are engaged with services on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, and are therefore unavailable to meet couples over weekends.
Meet the priest for a few marriage preparation sessions.
Ensure that all legal documentation have been completed.
Plan and prepare draft Order of Service in accordance with the Church’s Liturgy
Want to Know More?
You can contact the church administrator on 07596 707469 who will be delighted to answer any questions you may have.