Getting Married at St Giles

Who can marry in St Giles'

In October 2008 there was a relaxation in the rules governing who can be married in a church. This makes it possible for those who have previously had a link, or been part of the community to marry here. One of you will need to fulfil one of these criteria,

- you were baptised or confirmed here

- you have at some time lived in the parish for six months or more

- you regularly attend public worship here for six months or more or you may have a family link

- one of your parents have regularly attended worship at St Giles'in your lifetimes

- your parents or grandparents were married here

If you wish to get married here under this legislation or need any other information about eligibility (or re-marriage) please look at Church of England policy on its website

We are here to help you with the planning of your wedding and we hope this information will make it a little easier. The Rector will meet you on several occasions to prepare with you for your marriage and the Administrator will help with practical details of the service.

Booking the date

Book the date and time as soon as you can. We are happy to take provisional bookings up to two years ahead. Please notify us if you need to change your plans.

Six months ahead

Confirm your booking date and time with the Administrator and make an appointment to meet the Rector to discuss wedding preparation.

Three months ahead

Finalise details of the wedding service

Ensure all information for the calling of the banns has been supplied (including to other churches)

Make an appointment with the Director of Music

Arrange an appointment for your rehearsal

Two months ahead

Payment for the wedding is due

One week ahead

A rehearsal is held in church for all those directly involved in the service. This normally takes place in the early evening and lasts for half an hour. You should try to have the best man, bridesmaids and an usher present. This is a time for those with important roles in the service to come to the building, learn where the loos are, and which door guests come in so you can help others on the day. We go though the spoken parts of the service and hope to put you at your ease. Some families use this as a chance to show the church to those who have not visited it before, and many go on to an informal family dinner afterwards.


You will meet with the clergy at intervals in the six months leading up to your wedding. You may meet the clergy by yourselves or with other couples who are getting married at the same time of the year. 

How much will it cost?

The Administrator will give you a breakdown of church fees and additional costs and advise you when payment needs to be made.

Calling the banns

Your banns of marriage – the public statement of your intention to marry – will be called at St Giles' on the first three Sundays in the month preceding your wedding. If one of both of you lives outside the parish or is on the Electoral Roll of another church, that church too. (These are called Away Banns). Please come and hear your banns being read. For Away Banns, it is your responsibility to make contact with the Church of England church and to arrange to have your banns read there. (To find your parish church, check the diocesan website and enter your postcode. There is a fee payable for this.) When they have been read, collect the banns' certificate and give it to our Administrator at least a week before the wedding. The Marriage cannot take place unless the banns are in order.

Remarriage in church

If one or both parties have previously been married, pastoral provision is made for re-marriage in church. The couple will need will need to arrange to meet the Rector before other preparations are made.

The Wedding Day

How long will the service last?

We allow about forty five minutes for the service (a Nuptial Eucharist/Mass may take an hour) but this does not include time for taking photographs outside the church or inside if it is raining. Please allow sufficient time for your journey to the church. Please do not be late. We ask that there is a mobile phone connection with one of the ushers if the bride is arriving by car, so we can be advised of any traffic problems and warn the organist and bell ringers accordingly.

Please note that our professional musicians may have other engagements elsewhere after your ceremony, so if your service seriously overruns its allotted time the choir and organist may have to leave, whether or not your service has concluded.


You need two witnesses who are over 18 years of age.

Orders of service including choice of music

You do not have to have a printed order of service. If you prefer, we can simply provide your guests with hymn books. Most couples do produce their own order of service and you will be helped by the Rector and Director of Music in compiling this. They need to approve your final choice of readings, music and hymns. The outline of the service can be downloaded from the Church of England website Hymns are for you to choose yourself and two or three would be suitable. Choose well known hymns that your guests will enjoy singing.

Part of the fee you pay to the Director of Music includes professional advice about what to choose. We recommend that you book our excellent quartet of professional singers, together with our Director of Music/Organist. If you prefer to book your own musicians (organist and/or singers) our Director of Music/Organist and Choir are all entitled to receive 50% of their usual fee; additionally, you must make clear on a printed order of service that the musicians are not the regular musicians from St.Giles.

Ushers and Seating

You need to provide ushers who will welcome your guests and assist people as they arrive. One usher per 25-30 guests is a good ratio, so for a congregation of 100 we suggest you have four. This is a job for confident adults, not for younger members of the family and friends.They need to be present 30 minutes before the wedding to distribute orders of service and buttonholes and take people to their seats. We ask that they will help with the taking of the collection in the final hymn.

It is traditional for the family of the groom to sit on the right side of the church as you walk in behind the groom. The family of the bride sit on the left, with a space left for those taking part in the bridal procession. You may not wish to split the congregation in this way, it is your decision. We can seat 120 people in the pews and 180 on chairs in the church.

Photographers and video

We do allow photographers in the church. Professional photos may be taken during the singing of hymns, the signing of the register and as the couple process down the church at the end of the service. Guests are asked to put all cameras and video recorders away for the duration of the service, but may join the professional photographer during the signing of the register. It is essential that guests participate fully in the service and not merely observe what is happening from the other side of a lens.

A video may be taken of the ceremony, the person taking it is to remain in one place and not come forward from the nave aisles into the chancel area as this is distracting. The north side of the organ loft may be used by photographers with the permission of the Director of Music but must not move while the choir is singing.

What do I do about flowers?

St Giles' is a big space and one or two large arrangements work best. Some couples arrange their own, others ask family and friends to help, or employ a florist. Please arrange with the Administrator for a suitable time to deliver or arrange flowers in the church.

Hire of church for wedding parties

The church has no catering facilities but we can provide tables if you want to serve champagne and cake to a wider number of family and friends for up to an hour after the ceremony ends.


No confetti is permitted in and around the church. Even "bio-degradable" confetti litters the church and surrounding areas for days after the wedding.


It is easy to park in the City on Saturdays. Please check the City of London website for notification of any road closures due to weekend building work. We can accommodate 10 cars outside the church during the service, as well as the official cars for the bride and bridesmaids. In the event of rain the bride's car can stop within two feet of the west door. Some families hire a coach to take guests to the reception and this must be parked in Fore Street. If you are arranging your reception locally, please move cars at the end of the service as the barrier to the churchyard is locked.There is ample parking in the Barbican Centre complex.


It is your wedding day. We will do everything to help make it a day to remember. If there are any queries you have, anything that you think we have left out, please ask. We all enjoy weddings here and we want you to enjoy yours.

We look forward to seeing you again

Many couples do stay in touch and worship with us here on Sunday mornings on a regular basis. We are especially thrilled when, in time parents ask to have their babies baptised. Each year we hold a "Welcome Back Service" on the second Sunday in May as part of the 10.00 Parish Eucharist, when we invite those who have been married or have worshipped here and moved away. We give thanks for faithful relationships and marriage, we sing many of the hymns chosen for weddings and the organ music at the end is one of the famous recessional pieces. This is a popular service and there is a chance afterwards to show your photos over a glass of wine.

For details of the importance and solemn commitment of Marriage click on the button below and scroll down to Weddings.