Weddings at St Mary the Virgin

Marriage is.........

" to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish " These are the beautiful words you will be using in your wedding.

The words of love and commitment are the promises made when two people begin living as one; and that's why people choose to get married in a church because it is the most beautiful, the most meaningful place to make those promises.

A church wedding means stunning photographs, heritage, and tradition. But really, it is a bit of a miracle when two people say "I do". When you get married in a church, the building becomes part of the story, a place to return to, to bring your children for christening.

St Mary's Belstead looks over fields in picturesque grounds and the interior is a secret gem. The church has a comfortable seating capacity of 100.

How does the church support you before the wedding?

We hold an all-day FREE marriage preparation day normally in February. This covers a range of topics from suggested music, hymns, and readings, to practicalities and your big day on a budget. We would normally have around 60 people attending so it is a good place to meet other couples and share experiences.

Are church weddings old-fashioned?

No. There are plenty of choices that couples can make around the core words and elements of the service including music, readings, and hymns, so every occasion is individual. We have even had rings delivered by one couple's young children who were sitting in a battery-operated, white car that they drove down the aisle. We have had a dog ring bearer, a harp; ' a Love Actually' style serenade by hidden musicians, and even doves flying around the church. It is also possible to add elements of other traditions, cultures, or even languages into the service.

Can a member of the Catholic Church be married in St Mary's?

Yes. You are welcome to have a Church of England wedding even if your spiritual views are very different.

I do not live in the village so can I still get married here?

Yes, if you have a certain kind of connection.

If one of you has previously lived in the benefice for at least six months, or you were baptized or confirmed in one of the churches.

If one of your parents, after you were born, lived in the benefice for six months or has attended services for six months.

If your parents or grandparents were married in the church.

If you can create a connection by attending a Sunday service once a month for six months prior to your wedding date.

Are there any restrictions on when we can get married?

Legally you can get married on any day of the week between 8 am and 6 pm. Realistically we have to accommodate you so we are unlikely to be able to conduct a Sunday wedding or around key dates like Christmas. We do not marry couples on Good Friday.

I'm divorced; can I still get married in St Mary's?

Yes. However, you would need to talk this through with the Rector.

How much does it cost to be married in church?

In 2021 the fees were £541 for a wedding outside of the parish where you live or £495 within the parish. The fees include the vicar, the use of the church, the calling of the Banns, and associated administration costs. You are required to pay extra for the verger, heating, organist, choir, bells, and copyright licenses.

What happens at the rehearsal?

Your main rehearsal in Belstead church will take place a couple of days prior to your wedding date. The senior bridesmaid, the best man, and the father of the bride (or whoever is taking this role) should be available to meet the Rector. The Rector will talk through the entire service, making sure that everyone knows what they will be doing.

a) Make sure someone takes notes

b) Speak to the verger, regarding any access issues e.g wheelchair and floral arrangements.

c) If you have poems or readings, then the readers can, if they wish, practice at the rehearsal.

d) Come with a list of those who need a reserved seat.

How do I book St Mary's for my wedding?

Please get in touch for further information.