WEDDINGS - Useful notes.


A few notes on wedding details from the vicar:

Revised 21/6/21 (A link to download these notes is at foot of the page).

For latest Government covid guidance for weddings, please see Coronavirus (COVID-19): Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies, receptions and celebrations - GOV.UK (

Many useful general details about weddings can now be found at the excellent Church of England website:

Please read banns information below carefully and remember to organise banns in your home parish in good time.

Also for those who live outside the parish and qualify legally via attendance, please ensure this happens in good time to fulfil six months 'habitual' attendance before the three weeks banns reading before the wedding. Clearly this may need to be adapted for covid, so please ring me if any uncertainties.


A copy of the full wording of the ceremony is available at:

Please go through the wording of the service on this link together before your rehearsal, so that the words and the structure of the service are familiar.


The basic order is:

Introductory music (if want to specify) for entrance of the bride


First Hymn

Preface (the long section with set words about the Christian understanding of marriage)

Declarations (but first I am required to ask...!)

First reading – from the Bible


Exchange of vows

Giving of rings


Second hymn

Signing of register

Additional reading – poetic or prose


Third hymn

Final blessing

Recessional music (if want to specify)

Many people will not require that level of detail though and the most important parts for a summary are:

Welcome, hymn, declarations, reading, address, vows, hymn, signing of register, prayers, hymn, blessing

N.B. Please ensure you order or produce enough copies of the order of service for all the guests, taking into account extras needed for any choir, musicians and church staff- there have been a few embarrassing occasions where I had to lead using a sheet of paper because of a shortfall.

Please email me a draft order of service as an attachment for comment well before printing. Then send a draft hard copy order before doing the bulk print if you wish for a final look over.


Suggestions for hymns include:

Love divine (strong tune, traditional first hymn, fitting words)

Be thou my vision (Irish tune, interesting words, upbeat)

Lord of all hopefulness (same tune as above but with words familiar from schooldays)

Lord of the dance- I danced in the morning (bouncy tune, works because familiar and thought-provoking)

Dear Lord and Father (reflective tune, beware second line!)

Lead us heavenly father (suitable for some situations)

O perfect love (traditional but less used now)

O praise ye the lord (works well as second hymn if congregation enthusiastic)

All things bright and beautiful (good if people unfamiliar with church)

O Lord my God (popular with nature lovers)

Praise my soul the king of heaven (familiar from school)

One more step (a modern traditional hymn)

If using any less familiar hymns and having an order of service printed, please check with the organist in advance that the number of verses matches and that the tune is what you are expecting.

Please check carefully that you don’t miss any lines or words out if typing your own order of service.

If downloading words from a website, please check it uses English not American spellings.

Two or three hymns can be included in the service at your preference. Three gives the occasion more structure.


It is usual to have a Biblical reading as the first reading of the service and it can add to the ceremony if couples pick some poetry or prose to supplement that. Readers from family or friends are encouraged. It is helpful if readers have time to practice in the church beforehand, perhaps at the rehearsal. Please remind readers of the golden rules of reading in public: read more slowly than usual, keep your head up and speak as if to someone sitting at the back wall of the building.

The most commonly chosen Biblical reading is the timeless hymn to love of 1 Corinthians 13 - either the whole chapter or verses 4 to 7 plus 13.

Other common choices include:

The Song of Solomon: this is a piece of religious love poetry which includes a number of beautiful passages.

Colossians 4:4-9

Genesis 1: 26-28, 31

Ephesians 3:14-end or 5:21-end

John 15:9-12

I welcome suggestions for a second reading from poetry or the rest of our literary heritage, from Shakespeare's sonnets to Captain Correlli, Christina Rossetti to Kahlil Gibran.

Please ensure that readings and readers are confirmed with the vicar beforehand. Emailing the vicar a text copy of the reading if it is not from the list above is appreciated.


If you have any young children taking part- your own or friends’- please ensure they have visited the church and been introduced to the vicar beforehand to help minimise any nerves on the day. It makes a big difference if they can come to the rehearsal to feel part of things before the day and get used to where they have to walk and behind whom. It is usually best for children to follow rather than lead the bride to ensure they don’t stop halfway down the aisle to look for reassurance.


Main wedding fees for the team based on the statutory fees for 2021 are:


Publication of banns £31

Marriage service 464

(so far =£495)


Organist £65 (total £560)

Heating (if needed) 35 ( total = £595)

This main amount is payable by cheque to 'Hadnall team fees account'.

If using bank transfer, Lloyds Bank, Sort code 30-90-89 Account no: 37752368 [ add reference wedding date and surnames] . When transfer is done, please confirm by email or text to the vicar as it will go straight to the treasurer's office.

Please liaise with team treasurer, Mary Latter, if any logistical uncertainties about payment at: [email protected]

Bells if wanted:

Clive £290 to ringing team of six people – bank transfer to Lloyds bank: 'Clive and Wem bellringers' sort code 30-95-45 acc 31364160 [with wedding date and name as ref] or cheque to Clive and Wem bellringers.

Hadnall £40 – payment in with main cheque.

Parking at Clive - Main contact is John Darlow 07989 953771. Please ring him direct to ensure field is reserved.

Please include the field fee in the main payment and our team treasurer will remit to John or you can do a cheque for £30 payable to 'Renshaw's Field Association'. Please note if paid in advance and then the field is unusable on the day due to rain, we don't yet have a system in place for refunds as transfers out of the charity account aren't as easy as into it! You are welcome to deal directly with John about this.

Wedding fees for the following year will be included once they are nationally published, usually near turn of the year.

There is so much to think about that payment on the day is strongly discouraged and payment before the rehearsal encouraged, as it can prove a distraction close to the day. See the detailed fees list on the sheet in church porch for further detail.

We realise that many people increasingly do not carry cash and there may be card payment facilities in churches in future. Please ring the office if payment by cheque or bank transfer is problematic. We encourage bank transfer use.


Confetti from natural materials is slowly becoming the norm, which is welcomed.

Please note that there are local suppliers of churchyard-friendly natural hop confetti eg. Shropshire Petals

Confetti in the churchyard is not a problem as long as it is kept away from steps and paths.

Using petals, rice or other natural material rather than plastic or metal is much preferable.


Most couples choose to arrange their own flowers, but it may be possible to use existing facilities if wanting to keep costs down. There is a church flower rota, so it may be worth asking one of the churchwardens one Sunday to point you to who is supervising flowers near your day. If it is possible to leave some of the decoration in church, the congregation do appreciate it and it helps them to feel more connected to the wedding couple. Please make arrangements with the wardens or flower rota people for access to the church as each village has reliable key holders. If in doubt, ask a churchwarden!


People have increasingly been using pew ends and putting up decoration around church porches. These can enhance the decoration for the occasion, but need:

a) to be done with particular care for the plaster and paintwork in churches

b) to be taken down again afterwards by the wedding party

If in any doubt, check with the churchwarden first eg. sellotape can cause more damage than you may think and may only be used with permission. Drawing pins in old wood may seem unproblematic but if done several times a year, the damage can become substantial.

Decorations in the window recesses of our churches suit the buildings and small, inexpensive arrangements can give a delicate beauty to the scene. Pedestals are available in most of our churches for larger flower arrangements. Please follow the churchwardens' suggestions about size and siting of pedestals as they can be intrusive on the day if too large. And please do not include wide horizontals that vicar or couple may inadvertently knock over.


Please note that due to the popularity of using Clive and our other churches for weddings, occasionally weddings will have to be taken by other experienced local priests. This is most likely during the summer school holiday period. You will usually be informed a couple of months beforehand if this is likely to be necessary. Your understanding in this matter will be appreciated as there are a wide variety of parish and personal commitments over the average Saturdays, especially in late spring and summer.

Please discuss with the vicar here on initial contact if you would like to involve another vicar in the service. Roman Catholic priests, Methodist and Baptist ministers are very welcome to do as much of the service as the law and their usual practice allows. They are trusted colleagues in ministry.

We cannot at time of booking guarantee to provide organists and sidespeople, but will make every effort to engage our usual team. If it is necessary to engage an organist from further afield, there may be a reasonable extra charge as they may require additional reimbursement.


We welcome use of the bells at any of our churches. The bells at Clive are particularly fine and there is a strong tradition of ringing.

Use of the bells at Clive is dependent on engaging a minimum of six ringers locally. This can occasionally be difficult, especially during the summer holiday period. You will need to liaise directly with the tower captain (contact details below) to check if he foresees any difficulties with particular dates. As you can imagine, each of the six ringers has to give up their Saturday afternoon for a wedding, so the fee they have requested is reasonable in the circumstances.

If you have asked for bells, you should receive an email from the tower captain a few weeks beforehand. Please ring Paul if unsure about this.


The rehearsal is usually midweek, Tuesday or Thursday, before a weekend wedding, preferably early evening 6 or 6.30pm. In the summer holiday period, rehearsals may be before this depending on other commitments. This can be varied if there are travel or work problems. Please confirm a date a couple of months or so beforehand. It is usually helpful to have the bride's father, chief bridesmaid and best man plus other bridesmaids and family members if available. If the best man or bridesmaid is coming from a distance, attendance is not essential as long as they are familiar with procedure.

NB. Please note that Friday rehearsals are not possible as it is the vicar's day off and often only chance to get out of the parish during the week.


If this is a second marriage for either of the partners, please remember to show your decree absolute, not just nisi, to the vicar when making initial arrangements, for legal confirmation.

The Bishop instructs us as vicars to ask a little list of background questions to assess the pastoral suitability of agreeing to a remarriage. This is not usually an onerous discussion and is an opportunity for vicars to get to know couples' situations better. The wedding cannot be confirmed until after this discussion.


The key with photographers is the ability to be discreet while recording the event and a pushy photographer can add awkwardness to the occasion in our smaller churches with narrow aisles, so please check that any photographer will use a low-key approach. Often it is commercial photographers worried about missing out on any shots and being criticised who tend to be the most intrusive, so putting the photographer at ease beforehand can be helpful to preserve the natural flow of the occasion.

It is usually acceptable to use family or friends as photographers as long as they adhere to the above. It is usual to video from the back of the church, but a side position may be acceptable in some churches. Videoing from near the altar can disrupt the ceremony in our small churches and is not normally permitted. Videoing from the choir stalls is not generally conducive to a sacred atmosphere, but can occasionally be accommodated depending on the layout of the individual church. It is important that photographers do not assume free rein about positioning as this can lead to difficulties in our small churches, so please ensure they make contact with the vicar to discuss if thinking of intrusive positioning.

NB At Clive church, photographers can sit in the back choir stall for the duration of the ceremony, provided they do not stand up as this will be in people's eye line and can be highly disruptive.

A noisy camera shutter causes a surprisingly prominent disruption to the ceremony, so please ask for something quiet to be provided, especially if the photographer is not staying at the back of the church.

Please inform your photographer in advance that it is not appropriate to move up and down the main aisle during the service. There is a worrying trend emerging for photographers to feel they need to get shots of guests' faces while the service is happening or as they walk up the aisle, which can be an inappropriate distraction for guests and participants on such a holy occasion. Until recently it has not been necessary to specify this because people had sufficient respect for the ceremony taking place. It is fine to come up for shots of the register signing once the couple are settled. In most situations this will be in a small vestry, so is more conducive to informal pictures.


Clive – the toilets in the village hall will be opened in time for the wedding. It is just back down the sideroad to the left of the field. Church and wedding party ushers can direct people on the day.

Hadnall - there is a toilet in the grounds, with key available in church.

Grinshill- the village hall can be accessed by prior agreement.

Astley- the village hall can be accessed by prior agreement.


If either of you lives outside the parish, please remember that, as mentioned at first meeting, it will probably be necessary to have the banns read both in this parish AND in the Anglican parish where you presently live ( a historical legal technicality). Please make arrangements for this and confirm with the vicar by email or text that this is underway. We need to see the certificate issued by the Anglican vicar at the other end in good time. Emailing a photo of the certificate is usually sufficient. If unsure which is your parish church, the local Anglican church noticeboard is the first place to check for contact info. Please ensure that vicars for banns at the other end are given three months notice out of courtesy to make arrangements for banns calling. This second banns calling is an important legal component and needs prioritising early.

If you have been coming to church “habitually” for the qualifying six monthly period in order to register a “local connection” for a wedding, rather than one of you already being resident in the parish or family having lived in the parish, please check your regular attendance happens in good time. Strictly speaking, permission for the wedding cannot be ratified until this is done. We do not keep a register of attendance for this requirement because we prefer to work on a trust basis. Coming once or twice a month for at least six months well before the wedding is sufficient to fulfil this aspect.

The usual routine for calling the banns is on the first three Sundays of the month before the wedding. If there is likely to be any time pressure we move this forward by one month. If there is not a service any particular week in a particular church, we skip to the next week or use a neighbouring church in the team. Please check on the church website that a service is happening at the time you expect before setting out. If no relevant website information, please just ring the vicar on 07981 345820.


There was a law change in May 2021 which means now that you pick the certificate up from the Shrewsbury Registry Office rather than it being handed to you on the day. To book an appointment to do this a few days after the ceremony, please see Book an appointment | Shropshire Council or ring 0345 6789016 .

If you need a certificate beforehand or on the day for travel purposes, please ring and ask the registrar for advice.


Please, please ask the ushers to remind anyone forgetful to switch theirs off. There have been some embarrassing interruptions, especially with the new ringtones!


Obviously this rather depends on how many people will fit in a pew - if they know each other, its usually possible for five rather than four to fit! In this covid time, if restrictions persist at the time of your wedding, we will send you a plan of the church with seating plan to complete beforehand.

Rough estimates pre-covid: Clive 150, Grinshill 100, Hadnall 120, Astley 80.

Extra chairs can be put out at the back and in the aisles of most of our churches and the choir stalls can also be used.

Clive church lighting: please note the odd arrangement that the porch switchboard only puts on alternate main lights. Most other light switches are round behind the organ. It is hoped to sort this if funds ever become available.


It is very useful to have one of the ushers dedicated to directing the traffic.

Clive – parking on Renshaw's field opposite the church is available. See above about payment.

Hadnall – the village hall carparks can be used if prior agreement is made. Please contact Jayne Hill.

Astley – parking is available at the village hall and using the field behind by arrangement. Please contact Dorothy Dodds.

Grinshill – parking is limited but further up the rough track past the church is the village hall carpark. Please contact the vicar to discuss.


Please check carefully when and where services are, especially on the fifth Sunday of a month. We hope to have a team church website up and running soon. In the meantime, for copies of the latest monthly service time information please email me.

Please also check service times on noticeboard outside church or in the porch for special occasions.

If there are five Sundays in the month, there is usually a joint service at one of the churches on the fifth Sunday rather than a service at every church, so please be careful to check that.

Any other queries or suggestions, please feel free to contact me:

Rev Paul Cawthorne, The Vicarage, Shrewsbury road, Hadnall SY4 4AG

tel. 07981 345820 email: [email protected]

Other useful contacts:

Fees account treasurer: Mary Latter 07926 074874

Clive: Sue Udy 01939 210470 / 07903 255202 , Madeline Lucas 07398 844669 Vivienne Shilston 01939 220669

Hadnall: Jayne Hill 07761 490758, Christine Humphreys 07818 447121

Astley: Dorothy Dodds 01939 210596, Chris Taylor 01939 250249, Edward Bedell 07770 996998

Grinshill: Caroline Jones 01939 220530


Chris Jones 01948 840810


Clive tower captain: Gareth Jones 01939 291309, 07821 811728 [email protected]

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