Marriage in the Parish
You’ve probably ended up here because you’re thinking about getting married in one of our Churches. Congratulations on this big step! You may just be looking; you may have loads of questions… so here we go - although this doesn’t cover everything these are some frequently asked questions (if you want to know more, please get in touch with one of the church wardens - See 'Who's Who' section).
1. Who can get married in our Churches?
To get married in church one or both of you either need to live in the parish; or have what’s called a “Qualifying Connection” with the parish.
There are currently seven possible Qualifying Connections, and they are:
• I was baptised in the parish (by a Church of England service/form of baptism)
• I have been confirmed (by a Church of England service) and my confirmation is entered in a register belonging to a church or chapel in the parish.
• My parent or grandparent was married in the parish by a Church of England service
• I have had my usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months*
• My parent has had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months during my lifetime*
• I have habitually attended public worship at Church of England services in the parish for at least 6 months **
• My parent has habitually attended public worship at Church of England services in the parish for at least 6 months during my lifetime **
* This can apply whether or not you or your parent(s) are still resident in the parish
** This can apply whether or not you or your parent(s) are still attending worship in the parish
Note: In the Church of England Marriage Measure a parent means:
parent of either a legitimate or an illegitimate child; or an adoptive parent (this requires legal adoption); or a person ”who has undertaken the care and upbringing” of another person. So as you can see there’s plenty of scope.
2. How does it work?
If you are both British citizens and not in a terrific hurry, the best way would be by Banns. If one or both of you are EU citizens you may get married by Common License, or if one or both of you are citizens of a country not in the EU, you’ll need a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate.
3. What are Banns?
For the calling (or reading) of Banns your intention to marry is announced at the main service in church on three Sundays within a three month period of the date of your wedding. Banns must be called in the parish in which you live as well as the parish where you want to get married (if these are different) - so in the worst case you live in one parish, your fiancée lives in another and you want to get married at St Nicolas, you’ll need Banns reading in three churches!
4. Do we have to be active Christians?
No. You don’t even have to be baptised. Because the Church of England is the established church there is a legal duty to marry those resident in the parish who have not been previously married, regardless of their faith or lack of it.
5. How much does it cost?
Fees vary depending on what elements you want in your wedding, and things like where you may need Banns reading. Also fees change on 1 January each year. To get up to date information, visit the Church of England website.
Other fees may apply depending on your situation, but you will be advised and a full breakdown will be provided once you’ve settled on the elements you want. Fees are due at some stage before the wedding. There is a lot more to say about weddings, but these are some of the basics. Please do get in touch with one of the church wardens if you want to know a bit more.
6. What if I have been married before?
If either of you has been married before and your ex-husband/ex-wife is still alive, then you will need to speak to Fr Andrew. Marriages of divorcees can be solemnised in this parish if certain further criteria is reached. It is a decision for the priest who is to marry you, and therefore, under church law the priest alone will decide if they will conduct the marriage. Please do speak with one of the church wardens if you have any questions.