We are glad that you want to find out more about Christian marriage. We want to help you as much as we can. We hope you find some of this information useful.
Q. Someone told me you have to go to church and be Christened to get married in church?
A. This is not true.
Q. Who can get married in church?
A. We are happy to conduct services for all couples where there is no surviving partner from a previous marriage. Where there has been a previous marriage, please talk to us and there are other services we can offer.
Q. Does it matter where I live?
A. If either of you live in the parish (the area which belongs to a particular church) , you are entitled by law to marry in your parish church, using 'banns'. This is where your wedding is announced on three Sundays in church.
Q. What if I don't live in the parish?
A. If neither of you live in the parish, and you do not worship regularly at your parish church but you have a particular reason for wanting to marry in your parish church, you will need a Registrar's Licence. To be able to obtain this, you must have lived in the parish for 15 days in the three months before applying. You will need to visit the Registrar and pay for a licence, even though the service is to be in church.
Why not worship with us for at least six months and become a full member? You can then marry, even if you don't live in the parish.
Q. Tell me again about banns and licenses?
A. See CofE Marriage Legalities below.
Q. How much does it cost?
A. The basic fee is £246.50 - this includes minister, building, heat & light, someone to prepare the building.
You can also choose whether you want any of the following:
Video permit £30 (where any video is taken during the service)
[NB: All fees are correct as of March 2004. However, these may be subject to change in the future.]
Q. When do we pay?
A. All fees are due in full one month before the date of the service. The wedding may be cancelled if no fee has been received. We ask for the full fee (£356.50) but fees for unused services are refunded in the week following the service.
Q. Can we take photographs?
A. Photographers and others are welcome to take photographs when the bride comes in, when the registers are signed and when the couple leave the church. It is distracting for everybody when photographs are taken during the service; please ask guests and photographer to stop during the service.
Q. Do we have to see the Vicar before the wedding?
A. The fact that you have asked us for a Christian marriage service shows how importantly you take your commitment. As well as meeting with you before the service, we expect all couples to attend a preparation evening with other couples getting married.
If you'd like to ask about marriage, or have any other enquiry, please contact:
11, Abbey Grove,
Church of England Marriages
Who can get married in the Church of England?
As the established church, the Church of England gives this right to all British citizens, with no former partner still living, the right to get married in the parish church where they are resident or in the church where either of the couple are on the church's electoral roll (not the local register of electors) - see below.
You do not have to be a regular churchgoer to get married in the Church of England or Church in Wales, neither must you have been baptised. Both Churches welcome the opportunity for you to make your solemn promises to each other not just in front of your family and friends but also in the sight of God and with God's blessing. There are four ways of getting married in accordance with the rites of the Church of England:
· by publication of banns
· by common licence
· by special licence issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury
· by the authority of a superintendent registrar's certificate without licence
You will be guided by your parish priest as to the most suitable method for you to follow according to your particular circumstances. If you are British subjects living overseas, you should ask your parents or a friend to see the priest of the parish in which you lived on your behalf.
1. Publication of Banns
Publication of banns, which simply means announcing aloud your intended marriage, is the traditional and preferred method used by most couples. The banns are published by being read aloud during the service on three Sundays preceding the ceremony. The congregation is invited to register objections, if they have any. It is usual for the couple to be in attendance on at least one of the three occasions when the banns are published.
If the couple live in different parishes, the banns need to be published in both parishes. A certificate stating that the banns have been published will be issued by the church that will not be holding the ceremony. This certificate needs to be produced to the officiating minister before the ceremony can proceed. If the marriage does not go ahead within three months of the banns being published, the banns will have to be published again.
2. Marriage by Common Licence
Getting married by common licence is used if you are temporarily resident in a particular parish. It does not require banns to be read. Once your application has been approved by the bishop of the diocese in which you wish to marry (or by one of his surrogates), only one clear day's notice is required before your ceremony can take place. The only residence requirement is that at least one of you must have lived in the parish during the 15 days leading up to your application. To be married by common licence, at least one of you must have been baptised. A common licence lasts for three months from its date of issue.
There must be a good reason for requesting a common licence, for example, an imminent and unavoidable departure overseas that prevent your banns from being read. A common licence is usually applied for by British couples who are no longer resident in England or Wales or if one or both of the couple are not British subjects. If you are living overseas and you will not be visiting your home parish before you plan to get married, you should ask your parents or a friend to see your minister on your behalf for advice on how and where the licence may be obtained. If neither of you are British subjects, you should contact the registrar of the Court Faculties on 020-7222 5381 for further guidance. Their address is, 1 The Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3JT.
3. Marriage by Archbishop of Canterbury's Special Licence
Marriage by special licence is very unusual and it must be approved by the Archbishop of Canterbury. The licence is issued from the registrar of the Court Faculties in London. If granted, a special licence allows a marriage to take place at any time within three months and in any place without any residence requirement. Typical reasons for getting marriage by special licence are when you want to get married in a parish where neither of you live or if one of you is very ill in hospital and cannot be removed to a venue where marriages can be legally solemnised. To be married by special licence, at least one of you must have been baptised.
In certain circumstances, a special licence may also be issued to couples living overseas, particularly if one of both of you had close links with the church in which you intend to marry. The benefit of getting married by special licence is that there is no residency requirement. However, the issue of a special licence is at the discretion of the Archbishop of Canterbury and it may well be that you will be advised to get married by common licence where at least one of you must meet the residency requirement of 15 days. A special licence will be refused if neither of the couple is able to demonstrate a genuine and long standing connection with the church in question.
A special licence is also required if you want to get married in a building not licensed for marriage. Interestingly, when a member of the Royal Family gets married in St. Paul's Cathedral, a special licence is required since St. Paul's is not registered for marriages.
For further information on getting married by special licence, you should contact the registrar of the Court Faculties on 020-7222 5381. Their address is, 1 The Sanctuary, London, SW1P 3JT, United Kingdom.
4. Marriage by Superintendent Registrar's Certificate without Licence
The final method of getting married in accordance to the rites of the Church of England, is by the authority of a superintendent registrar's certificate without licence. However, this method is for the marriage of qualifying relatives-in-law. If this method is approved, the church where your marriage is to take place must be located in the same registration district as the register office that issues the certificate. Furthermore, one of you must have lived in the parish for seven days prior to giving notice. Twenty-one clear days after giving notice, a certificate of authority to get married will be issued. The marriage must take place within 12 months from the date your notice was entered in the notice book.
Marrying at a Church Which is Not Your Local Parish Church
You can marry at a church which is not your local parish church only if it is your usual place of worship and you are listed on the church's electoral role. To qualify for enrolment, at least one of you must have regularly attended that church for worship for a minimum period of six months. It is also a requirement for enrolment that the person is a baptised member of the Church of England. The church electoral roll should not be confused with the local register of electors.
Marriage of Divorcees - with former partner still alive
The Church's position on marrying divorcees has recently been modified. Although a minister of the Church of England does have a legal right under civil law (by virtue of his role as a registrar) to take a marriage service, regardless of whether or not either of the couple is a divorcee, each case will be taken on its merits after discussing the circumstances that led to the separation and divorce. The priest will be guided by a series of national guidelines in making any decision.
If your parish priest refuses to marry you, there is no process of appeal. Priests are also within their rights to refuse to allow their church to be used for this purpose by another 'sympathetic' priest. Furthermore, it is not possible for divorcees to search for another church where there may be a priest prepared to take the service.
For further information and advice about getting married in a church of the Church of England or Church in Wales, you should arrange to see your minister. Alternatively, you can telephone the Enquiry Centre of the General Synod of the Church of England on 020-7898 1000. Their address is Church House, Great Smith Street, London, SW1P 3NZ.
Click here to return to the home page
Christ Church Patricroft Online