Church of England Diocese of Rochester Chiddingstone

Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals


Congratulations on your engagement!  We are delighted that you are interested in being married in church.  St Mary’s and St Luke’s both offer wonderful settings in which to celebrate your love for one another through the sacrament of marriage, and we will do everything we can to make it a very personal and special day for you.

What are the legal requirements?

The law entitles you to be married in the Church of England Parish Church where either of you lives.  Therefore, if either you or your fiancé(e) live in the parish of Chiddingstone or Chiddingstone Causeway, you automatically have – what is known as – a ‘Qualifying Connection’ and are entitled to marry here.

However, a couple can also marry in a church away from where they live if either of them can show just one of seven connections with the parish.

You can marry in a Church of England church if you can show that one of you:

• has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months, or
• was baptised (christened) in the parish concerned, or
• is confirmed and your confirmation was entered in the register of confirmations for a church or chapel in the parish (this will usually be the case if you were prepared for confirmation in the parish), or
• has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months


That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

• has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months, or
• has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months


That one of your parents or grandparents:

• was married in the parish

If you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, don’t panic!  Many of the couples who marry here establish a ‘Qualifying Connection’ by attending services at St Mary’s or St Luke’s at least once a month for six consecutive months before your banns are read (banns are normally read two months before your wedding).  We are delighted to welcome couples who would like to do this.

We try to be as accommodating as possible so please do get in touch to discuss your circumstances with us.

What is one of us lives abroad?

If you are both British nationals living abroad, or if you are both British nationals but just one of you lives abroad, you can apply for a Common Licence to marry in a Church of England church on the basis of having one of the seven legally-recognised connections with it (listed above).  Please get in touch with us to discuss your circumstances.

What if one of us is a foreign national?

The law regarding marriages of nationals from outside the EEA* changed in 2015.  All such marriages which take place in England must have a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (SRC) to go ahead.  There is further information on the Church of England Wedding Page regarding this here but please do get in touch with us to discuss.

* EEA countries are the EU countries (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom), plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Nationals of Switzerland and countries within the EEA, and who live in England, may be married by banns and will not usually require a licence.

The reading of Banns

This legal requirement goes back several centuries, when the names of couples had to be read out in their home villages to give people the opportunity to object if either were already married.  The law still requires this to be done!

Unless you are getting married by Common or Special Licence, the normal procedure is to have your banns read out in church on three Sundays during the three months before your wedding.  This is often done over three consecutive Sundays. Banns are an announcement of your intention to marry and allow anyone to put forward any reason why the marriage may not legally take place.

Banns need to be read in the Church of England parish church where each of you lives as well as at the church in which you are to be married (if that is another parish).  They do not need to be read on the same day in each parish.   Your wedding cannot take place unless the priest who is marrying you has your Banns certificate(s) from your home parish(es) beforehand.

(If you need to check in which parish you live, click here and enter your address.)

Guidelines for divorcees

There are special guidelines on marriage in the church if you are divorced.  There may well be a way forward, so please do get in touch.

Documents you’ll need

All couples will need to show their passport as proof of nationality.  If you don’t have a passport, there are other documents which would be acceptable.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a marriage is set each year by the Church of England.

The Church of England Statutory Fee covers the reading the banns, the marriage service, and a certificate of marriage.  The Statutory Fee of a Church Wedding in 2020 is £505.  Optional extras include such things as heating, hire of organ and organist, bell ringers, choir and additional certificates.

Get in touch

We are here to help, advise, and prepare you for your big day in any way we can!

The first contact you should make is with the Parish Administrator, Louise Sanders, to discuss eligibility, dates and times.

Click here to email the Parish Administrator or you can call our Associate Priest, Revd Bill MacDougall on 01892 870442.



Is a ‘baptism’ different to a ‘christening’?

There is no difference between a christening service and a baptism service.  Some churches will use the word ‘baptism’ and some the word ‘christening’.

What is Baptism?

Baptism is all about new beginnings – for a child, the beginning of life; for an adult, the beginning of a new life of faith in Jesus Christ.  For children and adults alike, it marks the start of the journey of faith and is the service in which we welcome people into the Church.  In Baptism we are thanking God for his gift of life and publicly acknowledging our faith in God.

What happens at Baptism?

Baptism is a Sacrament – a visible sign of God’s love.  This inward gift is made visible through the words and symbols that are used during the service:

The sign of the cross will be made on the baptised person’s forehead.  It is the badge of faith and a sign that the person is united with Christ.

Water is a sign of being washed from sin and beginning a new life with Christ. Those being baptised have water poured over them three times ‘in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’: the three ways in which Christians have experienced God.

A candle is given to the newly baptised. Jesus is regarded as the light of the world and the baptism candle which everyone receives is a reminder of this light which they now share.

We would be delighted to discuss baptising you or your child. Please email our Parish Administrator on [email protected], or call our Associate Priest, Revd Bill MacDougall on 01892 870442.



At difficult times, such as bereavement, people often find comfort through the support of the local church, and we are always very pleased to offer whatever help we can for anyone living in our parish.

A funeral marks the close of a human life on earth. It is the opportunity for friends and family to express their grief, to give thanks for the life which has now completed its journey in this world and to commend the person into God's keeping.

A Church of England-led funeral is available to everyone, giving support before, during and after the service, and for as long as it’s needed.

Please contact the Parish Office if you wish to arrange a Funeral or Memorial Service in church, or ask the Funeral Directors to do it for you.