Church of England Diocese of Lichfield Buildwas

Vicar's notes on weddings

A few notes on wedding details from the vicar:

Revised 1/9/08


Normally it helps to have the hymn words printed in an order of service so that people unfamiliar with the church have everything to hand. The basic order is:

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


First Hymn

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

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



Exchange of vows

Giving of rings


Second hymn

Signing of register


Final blessing

Recessional music (if want to specify)

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

welcome, hymn, declarations, reading, address, vows, hymn, register, blessing

 Please let me know if you would like to see the full wording before the rehearsal as an email copy is available.


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 (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)

 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.

 Two or three hymns can be included in the service at your preference.


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 2008 are:

Publication of banns £22

Marriage service 247

Marriage certificate 3.50

Heating and lighting 25

Admin 20

(so far =£317.50)

 Video if wanted £25

 Verger £25 -separately

 Organ £55 (£35 to organist separately, £20 to church for organ maintenance in with main cheque)

 - so provisionally core total:22+247+3.5+25+20+25+20= £362.50 payable by cheque, plus £35 to the organist and £25 to the verger in separate marked cash envelopes)

 Bells if wanted- £15 to ringer in marked cash envelope

 Banns certificate £12 if needed

 Cheques should be made payable to the Wrockwardine Deanery Team, excepting the organist, verger and bellringer's fees which should be given separately in cash preferably beforehand. There is so much to think about that payment on the day is not recommended as it can prove a distraction.

 See the detailed fees list on the sheet in church porch for further detail.


Please note that there are local suppliers of churchyard-friendly natural hop confetti at Little Haywood, Staffs. see or Shropshire Petals

 Confetti in the churchyard is not a problem as long as it is kept away from the steps down to the hall at Leighton and paths elsewhere. Using rice or other natural material rather than plastic or metal helps feed the birds. Natural petal confetti is welcomed, but can be hard work to prepare yourself.


If you wish to support local agriculture, I can recommend Wroxeter wines locally grown varieties for the reception, having used them for my own wedding where they received favourable comment – Wroxeter vineyard David Millington 01743 761 888.


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. In Leighton if using the hall facilities, please liaise carefully with the Corries as they cannot always be available with a key to the church but are keen to help. 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 most churches

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

The golden rule is, if in doubt, check with the churchwarden first eg. sellotape can cause more damage than you may think and must be used sparingly. Please note in Leighton church that the inside porch has been replastered and is not suitable for any attachments. Decorations in the window recesses of our little 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.


It is usual to have one Biblical reading as part 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, though it is helpfulif they have time to practice in the church beforehand, perhaps at the rehearsal.

 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.

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

Other less commonly chosen passages include 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.


The rehearsal is usually midweek before a weekend wedding, perferably early evening 6 or 6.30pm. 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 is coming from a distance, attendance is not essential as long as he is familiar with procedure.


If this is a second marriage for either of the partners, please remember to show your decree absolute to the vicar beforehand for legal confirmation.


There is a local professional photographer who lives in the parish and is familiar with the local churches, Bridget Chillcott on 01952 510066 (Leighton). Another local professional photographer who does weddings is Cliff Guttridge on 01952 740345 (Uppington). 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.

It is usually acceptable to use family or friends as photographers as long as they adhere to the above.

 Video is acceptable on payment of a hymn copyright (!) fee of £25. It is usual to video from the back of the church, either ground-level or gallery, 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.


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 parish where you presently live if different ( a historical technicality that will be dispensed with soon hopefully). Please make arrangements for this and confirm with me that this is underway. I need to see the certificate issued by the Anglican vicar at the other end in good time. If unsure which is your parish church, the local church noticeboard is the first place to check for contact info.

 If you have been coming to church for the six monthly period to qualify to go on the church electoral roll in order to register for a wedding rather than one of you already being resident in the parish, please ensure you ask to complete the electoral roll form in good time for the banns to be called. Strictly speaking, permission for the wedding cannot be assumed until this is done.

 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 I 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. Please ensure that vicars for banns at the other end are given three months notice out of courtesy to make arrangements for banns calling.


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


It is very useful to have one of the ushers dedicated to directing the traffic, keeping an eye on guest's cars- where they park and security.

 Leighton- If hoping to use parking facilities at Leighton hall, please liaise with the owners, who are very co-operative, just in case there is a separate event already arranged. Malcolm and Camilla Corrie 01952 510989

 At Uppington- Please warn people of the dead end in road by the church and hall, plus if possible make arrangements for parking which won't impede the wedding car's entry!

 At Eaton Constantine - If cars are parked along the roadside, please ensure room for farm vehicles to pass. A local farmer may permit use of his field- please ring our churchwarden Elsie Massey 01952 510 936 if this is wanted.

 At Uffington- Ample parking available across the road at church hall. Please check via wardens that it is not in use.

 At Buildwas- parking along the back road beside the church, but allow plenty of space for the wedding car.


 Eaton Constantine 9.30am each Sunday

 Buildwas 3.00pm in summer, 6.00pm in winter

 Leighton 8.30am 1st and 3rd Sundays of month

11.00am 2nd and 4th Sundays – 2nd Sunday Family Service

 Uppington 9.45am each Sunday

 Uffington 1st Sunday of month 9.30am, 2nd Sunday 6.30pm, 3rd and 4th 11.00am

 Please also check service times 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 rather than a service at every church, so please be careful to check that.

 Any other queries or suggestions, please ring me or email by return.

Rev Paul Cawthorne, Eaton Constantine 01952 510 333