Church of England Diocese of Ely Feltwell

Weddings

If you are engaged or thinking about the possibility of marriage we wish you every blessing. A service of Marriage within the context of your Church is both about entering in to a legal and public contract with your partner before family and friends, as you would in a civil wedding ceremony, and about giving thanks and making your vows before God and asking God's blessing on your future life together. Read on to find out more.

 Nine out of ten people say marriage has made them personally happier. 

 Marriage helps to keep you together. 

There is something about making vows in public that makes it more likely you will stay together.

It gives you stability which is especially good if you already have a family, or plan to bring up children together. 

Marriage is good for your health. Independent studies say the health benefit of marriage is almost the same as giving up smoking.

 Marriage protects you legally and financially. Married people have legal privileges that don't apply to those who are living together.

 Marriage provides more and better sex. Various authors and studies agree that marriage can increase the frequency and quality of sex.

Why Marry in Church?

A church wedding will add a spiritual dimension to your marriage. God's blessing is the main attraction for many couples. Your gathered family and friends and the Church as a whole also vow to support you in your marriage now and in the years to come as part of a Church service. You can make amazing vows in church. These vows, made in public, will help you to grow together. Church buildings offer outstanding beauty. Old or new, intimate or grand, our 16,000 churches are some of the most stunning wedding venues. A church wedding can be as lavish or as simple as you want it to be. You can choose your own readings and hymns and music.
If you need help planning your Church wedding the Church of England provides a very good online resource at "http://www.yourshurchwedding.orw/" 

It is not currently possible for same-sex couples to get married through the rites of the Church of England due to restriction in law. It is now possible for someone who is divorced to get married in Church at the discretion of the local minister. If you are divorced and would like to get married in your local Church, please a member of our clergy team to discuss the details. Aside from those provisos, anyone who wishes to is entitled to get married in their local parish church. If you are not sure about which church is your local one, if you want to check your entitlement to get married in a church other than your local one, please see about qualifying connections. If you are a foreign national, or are planning to marry a foreign national you may still be entitled to get married in your local church, but you will need to apply for a special license. For more information or to discuss getting married in your Church please contact a member of our clergy ministry team.

Already Married? What about a Blessing?

If you are already married either through a civil ceremony, a service in another church or overseas, you may like to have a service of blessing for your marriage in your local Church. Such a service is relatively simple to organize and flexible as it is not constrained by the legal requirements for a service of Marriage in the Church. A blessing service does not constitute a legal marriage.

Couples often also choose to have a blessing or a renewal of their wedding vows to mark significant anniversaries or events within their marriage.

What is the process?

The first thing is to contact the Benefice administrator Christine Parker to check that the date and time that you want is free. A wedding can take place on any day of the week between 8.00am and 6.00pm. If you have been divorced that doesn't mean that you cannot be married in church, but please let us know when you phone as there is an extra form to fill in.

Having done that the priest will arrange to see you both to take all the details, explain the legal arrangements that have to be made, to talk about the choices you have over music, hymns and readings, and explain the statutory fees. There will later be a second meeting to go through the service with you, and to include your choices.

A rehearsal takes place in the church, usually within a week before the 'day'. As well as the bride and groom it is helpful to have the best man, bride's father (if he is giving her away) and bridesmaids at the rehearsal. The fees are settled at this rehearsal.

Then it's the 'day' itself, centered completely on you and what you want for this important day.

It is also important to note that the bride and bridegroom cannot be drunk at the time the wedding takes place. This does not mean that the couple may not have a drink before the service, but moderation should be used. The presiding minister is not legally allowed to marry anyone who is intoxicated because they are not considered to be in sound state of mind. If either of the couple are visibly drunk the wedding will have to be postponed to another occasion.