Weddings in the Horringer Benefice (St Andrew's Brockley, St Leonard's Horringer cum Ickworth, St Mary's Westley, St Petronilla's Whepstead)
Congratulations on deciding to get married!
Our four parish churches have been celebrating this moment with couples for centuries. As far as it is legally possible, we want to welcome you for a church wedding.
How do we qualify to marry in your church?
You qualify 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 church, or
is confirmed and your confirmation was entered in the register of confirmations for the parish church, or
has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months
or 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
or that one of your parents or grandparents:
was married in the parish church
If any of the following special circumstances apply, please check with the Rector:
One or both of you is a national from a country that is outside the European Economic Area. Special procedures apply to the legal preparations for these marriages, to protect and celebrate those which are genuine and to help prevent those which are not.
If one or both of you has been married before. The Rector does not object in principle to the remarriage of divorcees, but there are special procedures to be followed.
How soon can we be married?
The ceremony can take place once any legal preliminaries (e.g. the reading of the banns) are completed. All couples are expected to meet with the Rector at least three times before the service, in order to:
Present identity documents and complete the necessary paperwork;
discuss the service, and
to discuss and prepare for marriage more generally.
What day can we have our wedding?
Weddings can take place any day that the church and Rector are available. It is not possible to be married in the Horringer Benefice on:
any day during the Church seasons of Lent and Advent;
A principal feast day e.g. Christmas Day.
What will it cost?
Marriage fees are set nationally in law. We also charge local fees in respect of sundries such as organist, verger, bells and heating. For 2019 these fees are:
Marriage ceremony - £463*
Issue of marriage certificate at the time of registration - £11*
Banns reading - £31*
Organist - £110
Verger - £40
Bells - £200 (Horringer) / £150 (Whepstead)
Heating (if used) - £40
* indicates a statutory fee
NB If a marriage licence is required, the couple should be advised the licence fee replaces the banns fee above and is payable to the issuing authority, (please refer to the relevant issuing authority for the current licence fees). Couples who need to have additional banns readings at churches other than the marrying church should be advised of the statutory fee of £30 for reading the banns and £14 for the required banns certificate; a total of £44 payable to each church, other than the marrying church, which reads their banns. A banns certificate (and the associated fee) is not required from the church where the marriage is to take place.
We have a qualifying connection with one of your churches but would prefer to be married in another of them. Is this possible?
The four churches of the Horringer Benefice are each a separate parish, so it is only possible to be married in the parish church for which you have a qualifying connection. However, you could attend regularly for six months the church in which you wish to be married, and obtain your qualifying connection that way.
We are having a civil wedding. Is it possible to have a service of blessing?
This is very likely. Please contact the Rector.
Can we have photos taken?
A person nominated by the bride & groom to take photographs may do so provided that the Rector has their details before the service and is able to meet them before the service to discuss the parameters of camera use during the ceremony. No other photography is permitted, and flash may not be used under any circumstances.
Can we record the service?
Filming or recording any part of the service is not permitted in our churches, for copyright reasons and so that all who attend can be fully, mindfully present in the service.
Because we pay a fee, are we 'hiring' the church for the duration of the ceremony?
No, the Church remains under the operational management of the Rector and Churchwardens, who reserve the right to enforce at any time the rules concerning good conduct in church, photography, and filming or otherwise recording.
Can we have a same-sex marriage in the Church?
The Rector regrets that Parliament excluded the Church of England (and Church in Wales) from the legalisation of same-sex marriage, meaning it is not legally possible for him to perform such a ceremony at this time. The Rector will gladly offer a church service of prayer and thanksgiving following either a same-sex civil partnership or a same-sex civil wedding.
What do we do next?
Please speak to the Rector or a churchwarden after Sunday worship at church.