Marrying in church, before family and friends in the presence of God is a wonderful way to begin the rest of your life together. Why not come along to St John's and view our Celebration of marriage and weddings display and chat with Revd Jacqueline.
Some information to help you as you plan your Wedding:
More than a wedding venue
Wherever you go in the years ahead, a local church will always be there for you with friendship and prayer. Churches can offer so much more than simply a venue for your wedding ceremony.
Whether you are familiar with church or whether it is new to you, after your wedding, you can go along to the church where you were married, or the church wherever you live, or even visit a church when you are travelling away from home.
How can your church support you?
• In prayer. In the church we believe that God is alive, loves us and answers our prayers. So at any time you are welcome to come and pray by yourself or with us, or ask us to pray for you. Prayer, and space to pray, is our greatest gift to you. Your church wishes you a lifetime of love that grows within God’s protection.
• By offering sacred space. Churches are special places where you can find space in a busy life to connect with God. You can also join others in learning about and celebrating the amazing journey of the Christian faith.
• In the good times. You are always welcome to church for special times like Christmas, Easter, Valentines, or personal anniversaries. We could even offer to pray with you on special occasions, such as your first wedding anniversary. If you have children we would be delighted to discuss their christening with you, if you feel this is something you would like to explore for your children.
• In the tough times. Life inevitably has its ups and downs, whether in your relationship, or in the events that life brings along. Churches can offer a space to reflect, a confidential listening ear and prayer support if you need it.
• By blessing your marriage. A husband and wife can have their civil marriage dedicated to God in church, whether they married in the UK or abroad.
• By renewing your marriage vows. Many couples like the idea of renewing their marriage vows to celebrate a special anniversary, or to mark the end of a difficult time. The church offers a special service for a husband and wife to do just that.
The cost of a church wedding
If you choose to marry in church, it will be a day that is personal and special for you, but that need not mean you spend a fortune.
There is no doubt that the choices you make about your wedding day can make a huge impact on the total cost. Part of the cost will be for the legal fees, and everyone pays this. There are also optional extras which you can choose or decline, according to your budget.
There is a required legal fee for marrying in a church. In 2018*, it costs £517 if you marry away from where you live and £474 if you marry in your home parish. This is set by the Church of England nationally and is the same for every church.
This basic legal fee includes the cost of the vicar, the church, calling your banns, a banns certificate, the marriage certificate, lighting and all administration.
This required fee has ancient origins and ensures your church can maintain essential services like weddings, christenings, funerals and all kinds of other ministries for you and your community.
The statutory wedding fee doesn’t include extras you may choose or decline, such as:-
• The support of a verger, who ensures the church is warm, clean and tidy for your wedding and can help with handing out Orders of Service and hymn books and guide people to find their seats, freeing up the vicar to give their full attention to you and the wedding service.
• Additional heating in the church. The vicar will let you know if this applies to your wedding.
• Having an organist, choir or bell-ringers – these extra staff will all need to be booked in advance.
• Bear in mind that if your wedding is filmed, musicians like the organist can request an increase in their fee to take into account professional performing rights. Check with the church what the local arrangements are.
• Church flowers.
• Extra copies of the marriage certificate.
You do not have to have any of these extras, but many couples are keen to have at least some. If you choose them, they will cost extra. The costs for each will be at your church’s local rate.
* The figure for marrying in 2018 breaks down as follows for couples marrying in their own parish:-
• the fee set by law payable to the church: £441
• your marriage certificate: £4
• having your banns read at the home church: £29
Total for marrying in your home parish (providing you both live there) in 2018: £474
If a couple marry in 2018 away from where they live the cost breaks down like this:-
• the fee set by law payable to the marrying church: £441
• your marriage certificate: £4
• having your banns read in the marrying church £29
• having your banns read at your home church: £29
• the banns certificate from your home church: £14
Total for marrying outside your parish in 2018: £517
Many couples who have had a civil wedding decide they would like to dedicate their marriage to God in church soon afterwards.
A husband and wife can have their marriage blessed in church, whether they got married in the UK or abroad. For couples who marry abroad, it can be a way of ensuring more family and friends can celebrate the marriage if they were unable to travel to another country for the legal marriage.
The Church of England service is called a Service of Prayer and Dedication, which is often known as ‘a blessing’.
• It is a simple service acknowledging the commitment already made between husband and wife during a civil ceremony and asks for God’s blessing and guidance in your new life together.
• Because it is not a marriage service, banns are not required, there is no exchange of rings and there is no signing of the Register.
• It can be designed to have a similar feel to a wedding with hymns, readings, flowers and even bells if you would like that, or it can be an intimate, low key service. The service itself has no statutory fee (because it is not a legal service) but there may be some costs, such as flowers, bells and use of an organist. These would be charged at the church’s local rate.
• You can have a blessing in any church of your choice, so long as the church and the vicar are free on your preferred date.
• Many couples have opted for this service where one or both of them is remarrying after divorce. If this is your situation, talk things through with your vicar who can offer guidance on remarrying in church or having a blessing.
Your children are welcome
Whether you’ve already had children together, or have children from a previous relationship, we welcome them.
One in five couples who come to church for a wedding already has children. As part of planning your ceremony, the vicar will want to ensure they enjoy the day and can be part of it. They can walk up the aisle with mum, carry the rings, read from the Bible or say a prayer, and receive a blessing with their parents.
The children of your guests may be involved in the ceremony too, if you’d like them to be. Vicars are used to welcoming and including families with children of all ages, so don’t worry about children leaving their seats or making noise – the Vicar can advise and reassure you on all of this. Many churches even have special areas where children can play.
Did you know the Church of England has two church services to further include and involve your children in your wedding day?
Marriage and Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child is ideal if you wish to celebrate your wedding and thank God for the birth of your children on the same occasion.
Marriage and Holy Baptism can make it possible for you to have your children christened – welcomed into the wider church family – on your wedding day. Visit churchofenglandchristenings.org for more about what a christening could mean for you and your family.
Why not talk to your Vicar about the options? He or she will be able to advise about which service could be best for you. Both of these services offer the whole of your family an extra special occasion and a new beginning.