5. Weddings / Marriage

We really want you to enjoy your wedding, and will do our best to ensure that it is the most wonderful day of your lives. We will take trouble to work with you so that you have the wedding you dream of, and one that you will both enjoy yourselves and remember for the rest of your married life.

Marriage is a joyful celebration of a couple’s love for one another. Although it is possible to get married in a whole variety of places today, many people still prefer to get married at church. This is not because it’s an impressive venue, and holds more than a registry office, but because couples not only want to declare their love and commitment to each other before their family and friends, but equally importantly, before God.

In order to get married at any Church of England church, either the bride or the groom must have an address in the local parish. So if you wish to be married at the Good Shepherd and if you’re not sure if you do live in the parish, please just ask (Parish boundaries can be rather complicated!). If you do not live in the Parish, you need to be on the church’s ‘electoral roll’ – a register of regular attenders. You may also have a 'qualifying connection', but you will need to check this. If you do not fulfill any of these criteria, you may need to apply for a special licence. These are legal requirements, so have to be met.

When you get married at an Anglican Church, your ‘banns’ (your names, parish of residence and whether or not you’ve been married before) are published, or called, before the wedding on three Sundays. If one of you lives in a parish other than the one in which you’re getting married, your banns need to be called in that parish too.

If you would like to know more about getting married, please contact Fr Julian or the Churchwardens. They will ask you some basic details (in confidence), and if appropriate, will arrange a time for the completion of the ‘Banns of Marriage’ form. The Good Shepherd is unable to marry anyone whose previous marriage has ended in divorce, but would be very pleased to discuss the possibility of a service of blessing and dedication after a civil marriage.

If you wish to be married, then once the form is filled, you will need to see Fr Julian, or one his colleagues, on a few occasions before the wedding. The first is when the basic details of the wedding service are discussed, and various options and possibilities are considered. The second is when any loose ends about practical arrangements are tied up, and then there will be an opportunity to talk about your marriage and what it means. Finally, usually in the week before the wedding itself, there is a rehearsal in the church for all those involved.

The national Church has set fees for the marriage service. These are published on the church noticeboard and copies can be made available on request. In addition, the Good Shepherd will charge additional fees for an organist and verger at weddings, and you can choose whether you have the choir singing and whether you have a video recording made. All the details of these additional fees are available on request.

By being married in church, you can be certain of God’s involvement in your marriage, and God's blessing of it. Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding service, and for couples married in church, there is the additional joy of knowing without doubt that they are sharing in God’s love for them.