Church of England Diocese of Oxford West Wycombe

Weddings

Weddings in the Benefice of West Wycombe (St Lawrence and St Pauls West Wycombe, St Botolph Bradenham, St Pauls Bledlow Ridge and St Marys Radnage)

We are blessed with some beautiful churches in our Benefice which are popular for weddings. Below is a brief summary of both the legal and church procedures which have to be followed. It is not exhaustive and if you have any query please contact us.

How to arrange your wedding

1. Decide which of the below categories you fit in and check you are entitled to be married in one of our churches.

2. Contact a member of the clergy team to arrange for a banns application form to be completed and the date agreed.

3. You will then meet with a member of the clergy on several occasions to check your eligibility to be married in one of our churches, to review the plans for your wedding, discuss your service content and receive some marriage preparation.

4. Note that for you to be married in church in any circumstances, one or both of you must have been baptised (also often known as being christened) in a Christian church. We can arrange to baptise you if necessary.

5. Note also that we may not be able to guarantee that a particular priest will be able to take your wedding.

6. Standard fees are applicable for a wedding service as outlined by the Church of England. A member of the clergy can provide you with information on the current fees. There is no charge for a service of blessing or a renewal of vows although donations are always appreciated!

If you live in one of our parishes

You are entitled to be married in the parish church of the parish in which you live.

We can usually extend this to a wedding in any one of the churches in our group if, for example, your parish church is not large enough to meet your needs. Banns will be read in the church on three Sundays a few weeks before the wedding and we appreciate it if you are in church to hear them read.

If you do not live in the parish in which you wish to be married but have significant connections

If you have significant connections with the parish such as you lived there as a child, you went to school there, your family live there, you worshipped there etc. you can still be married in the parish church under the ‘marriage measure’. You will need to speak with a member of the clergy team to ensure that you qualify. Banns will be read in the church on three Sundays a few weeks before the wedding but you will also need to arrange to have them read in the parish church where you are currently living.

If you do not live in, and have no connection with the church where you want to be married

We only conduct weddings for those who have no connection with the parish in exceptional circumstances and you must attend regularly in order to be eligible. This usually involves regular attendance at Sunday services for a minimum period of six months on at least two Sundays per month. You will need to speak with a member of the clergy team to discuss your eligibility.

Marriage of those who have been divorced

We welcome those who are divorced who come to church seeking the opportunity for Christian marriage, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria to be married in the parish church outlined above. You will need to speak with a member of the clergy team to discuss the circumstances of your divorce.

Marrying someone who is a foreign national

It is strongly recommended by the Church of England that any marriage involving a foreign national should be by common licence. In these cases it is desirable that the person making application for a licence should produce a document from the appropriate Embassy or Consulate to certify that there has been compliance with all the preliminary legal formalities necessary to enable a marriage in England. Also there will need to be evidence that the marriage will be accepted as valid in their country of origin. The granting of a Common Licence is discretionary and not a matter of right. You will need to speak with a member of the clergy team for more information.

At present members of the European Union can be married in one of our churches as long as they meet the eligibility criteria to be married in the parish church outlined above. This may change once the United Kingdom is no longer part of the European Union. You will need to speak with a member of the clergy team for more information.

Other services

We are also able to offer a service of blessing after a civil marriage if that is wanted. We can also carry out a Service for the Renewal of Marriage Vows, to give thanks for a marriage. If you would like to know more about these please ask one of the clergy.