It's lovely that
you would like to get married at one of our parish churches and we hope we can
help you have a wonderful and memorable day.
However because marriage is a legal ceremony as well as religious one there are certain legal requirements that have to be met and qualifications determining which church you can be married in.
What follows is to help you with some of these practical issues.
Parliament has laid down the preliminaries that need to be fulfilled before you can get married in a particular church. Because this is set down in Law, it is important that the rules are followed and met: a marriage cannot take place without them. In 2008 Parliament agreed to legal changes initiated by the Church of England, and an engaged couple now has more options to help them marry in the church of their choice.
In law you can get married in a particular church if you, or one of you, presently resides in that parish. The 2008 legislation increases this further and makes marriage possible if just one of the following applies:
• One of you has at any time lived in the parish for six months or more.
• One of you was baptised or prepared for confirmation in the parish.
• One of you has ever regularly attended normal church services in the parish for six months or more.
• One of your parents has lived in the parish for six months or more at any time after you were born.
• One of your parents has regularly attended normal church services in the parish for six months or more at any time after you were born.
• A parent or grandparent of one of you was married in the parish.
Even if none of these apply, there are additional ways that the marriage in a particular parish church becomes possible: for instance by getting your name on the church electoral roll or by applying for what is known as a licence. Further details of these possibilities can be discussed with you if necessary when you make contact.
It is worth noting that in this area there are 12 churches working together as one Benefice, and if you are allowed to marry in any one of them you can choose an alternative church from within all 12. This gives a great deal of flexibility and choice, ranging from a large village church holding over 400 people to a tiny church holding only about 40 people in a quiet rural setting.
Finally, it is important to stress that the Banns must be read in the church where you are getting married and (if different) in the church or churches where each of you is resident.
These preliminaries may feel tiresome, but because it is the Law and we want to make sure your marriage is legal, we must abide by them.
Also, if one of you has been divorced and has your former spouse still living it may still be possible to marry again in church. Please do contact the parish clergy to discuss this further.
For further help or to talk about dates and other details please contact the parish clergy (details here).