Preparing for a wedding is not simple -
you probably don't need me to tell you that! There are
many questions to be asked and decisions to be made and there
will probably be times when the whole business seems
overwhelming. You will probably have moments when
wonder whether you are ready
for this commitment and whether you are making the right move. I
am always happy to listen if you want to talk - please contact me if I can
alongside this important
emotional preparation,there will be all sorts of
practical and legal matters which you need to think about. I
hope that this webpage may answer some of your
questions. There is a printable
of this information here.
This is the
first question you must ask. There are legal restrictions on
where you can get married. Most of these are not church rules,
but are laid out by the state.
to get married at Seal if:
least one of you lives within the parish boundaries. We will
tell you where these are when you first enquire about
getting married, and you can also check on this website.
least one of you is on our church electoral roll.(This isn't
the same as the civil electoral roll and is just about
of you has a “qualifying connection” as defined by the
Marriage Act 2008.
qualifying connection can be one of the following -
you or your parents were baptised here
you were prepared for confirmation through Seal church
you or your parents have lived in the parish for at least
six months at some time in your life
your parents or grandparents were married here
you or your parents have worshipped regularly here (at least
once a month) for 6 months at any time in your life.
This last qualification means that if you don't qualify in any
other way, you can establish a qualification by coming to
worship with us for 6 months before the wedding, though you need
to be aware that if you commit yourselves to doing this and
don't actually come, I would not be able to go ahead with the
wedding. Evidence may be required to support these
qualifications or you may be required to make a sworn statement.
If you can’t
meet these criteria, you may be able to be married by
“Special licence”, which is granted by the Archbishop of
Canterbury . However this licence costs more and is more
complicated to arrange. Licences are only granted under certain
conditions. You will need to contact me to discuss this.
When you come to see me to book the wedding you will need to
bring proof of identity and nationality. A passport is ideal,
but if you don't have one, please contact me so we can discuss
other forms of ID. There are new regulations covering the
marriages of people who are of nationalities outside the EEC,
and it may take longer to arrange these weddings, so please
leave time for this.
certain circumstances I will conduct marriages of those who have
been divorced. However,
the issue of re-marriage is a complex and delicate one,
affecting not only you but also the wider community, especially
the members of your first family, so I will need to talk
carefully to you both about this. The final decision rests with
me. The process
I will follow is this;
you first phone to ask about getting married, I will send
you a letter outlining broadly the kinds of issues I will
need to talk and think about before I make the decision. You
can read and download this letter here
if you prefer.
feel you want to take things further you should then contact
me to arrange a meeting.
I have met you I will decide whether I feels it is
appropriate for the marriage to take place in church, and
will let you know.
say to me will be treated in the strictest confidence. top of page...
Some priests, if they feel unable to conduct the marriage of a
couple in church because of a previous divorce, will offer to
conduct a wedding blessing ( a service of prayer and dedication
after a civil marriage) instead. I am not normally willing to do
this - if I feel I cannot marry you, I am unlikely to feel that
I can offer you a "blessing" either.
However I am very happy to conduct wedding blessings for other
reasons - for example, if you want to renew your vows on a
special anniversary or if you have been married
overseas and want a ceremony in this country so that your
friends and family can celebrate with you. If either of you is
divorced, I would apply the same criteria when making the
decision whether to agree to the blessing as I would if you were
to be married here. You can find out more about these
MARRIAGE AND CIVIL PARTNERSHIP CELEBRATIONS
At the moment Church of England priests are not allowed by
law to conduct same-sex marriages or civil partnership
ceremonies. However it is quite legal for us to offer informal
prayer and thanksgiving following a same-sex marriage or civil
partnership, and I am very happy to talk to you about this if
you would like to explore the possibility. Please get in contact with me
to discuss it further before making any plans, however, as there
are restrictions on what form any such prayers can take.
HOW DO I BOOK A
contact me to arrange a time when you can come to book the
wedding. This interview will normally take place at the
Vicarage. top of page...
banns' is a legal requirement if you are to be married in the
Church of England. I read out your names on three Sundays and
announce that you are planning to get married. This gives people
in the local community a chance to object if they know of a
reason why you cannot legally marry. (If you marry in a registry
office, your names would be displayed for three weeks before the
wedding for the same reason).
I will read
your banns, at the beginning of the 10am service, on the first
three Sundays of the month before the wedding. I will tell you
the dates of the banns. You don’t have to be in church to hear
them, although a lot of couples like to be there.
If one of
you lives in another parish, you must have your banns read there
as well. You can find out which is your parish church on the
website " A Church
Near You" , by entering your postcode and then
clicking on the map where you live. Banns must be read during
the three months before the wedding. Please contact the other
church in good time so that they can arrange this. When the
banns have been called in the other church, they will give you a
certificate for which a fee is payable to them, which you must
bring to us. We cannot marry you if we have not seen this
certificate. top of page...
MY PARTNER ISN'T CHURCH OF ENGLAND?
partner is, for example, a Roman Catholic or a Methodist, or of
another faith, their banns must still be read in their local
CHURCH OF ENGLAND church. This is a purely legal requirement.
would like a minister from another denomination to take part in
the ceremony, I will be happy to discuss this. For legal
reasons, however, a Church of England minister must conduct the
exchange of vows. top of page...
WE GET MARRIED? The most popular day of the week for weddings is
Saturday, but weddings can take place on weekdays too (except
Tuesday, which is the parish priest's day off). We will not
normally be able to provide a choir or bell-ringers for weekday
weddings as most of the choir and ringers will be at work. It
can also be more difficult to find an organist on a weekday,
though usually possible. We will only do weddings on a Sunday if
there are very exceptional pastoral reasons (for example, a
serious illness of bride, groom or close family necessitating a
wedding at short notice). We cannot do weddings in the week
before Christmas or Easter, because there is so much else
happening at these very important times in the Church's year.
Nor will we do weddings in the week immediately after Christmas
and Easter, since clergy, choir and others who might need to be
involved need to have time to rest and take a break after these
very busy times.
Weddings can only legally take place between 8am and 6pm, so it
is not possible to do evening weddings.
FOR THE WEDDING
fees are made up of a number of charges. There is a statutory
fee for the wedding itself and for calling banns, which is set
by the Church of England nationally. More
information about fees can be found here.
also fees for the organist (£100), choir (£60) , bells (£60) and
heating if needed (£35) - you can choose whether you have these
"extras". I will give
you details of the fees when you book the wedding. top of page...
PLANNING THE SERVICE
is not just a personal celebration; it is also a legal ceremony,
marking a change in your legal status. Because of this, there
are rules made by the government about how the service is
conducted; by whom, where, and what is said within it.
within those limits I can work with you to plan a service which
will be special for you. Ultimately the form the service takes
is at the discretion of the priest who conducts it, but I like
to be flexible and I will enjoy hearing your ideas and helping
you plan. For example, the law says that you can't write
your own vows, but you can write your own prayers, choose
readings or poems, and choose the music. So, don't be afraid to
ask if there is something special you would like.
three different types of service which I can use. One uses
modern words and the others use older traditional words for the
vows. You can find out more here. Whichever
service you choose will last about 40 minutes, and will contain
not only the legal exchange of vows, but also a Bible reading,
prayers, a blessing, a short address and the signing of the
have booked, I will want to see you about three months before
the wedding to discuss the service with you, fix a rehearsal,
and make sure that everything is in order. top of page...
services are at 10am and 6.30pm - the morning service is
our main service, with a congregation of about 50-60 and
refreshments afterwards. The evening services are small and
quiet, usually with just a handful present - a peaceful end to
the day. We would love to see you there as you prepare for your
wedding. Children are always welcome, and there are various
activities on offer for them top of page...
Copyright advice. Copying words
of hymns , for a service sheet, for example.(the church
has a copyright licence to cover this, but please check that the
hymns you want are covered.) Video recording licence (A
professional video recording company will probably have this,
but if you are using an amateur it is your responsibility to
make sure any recording you make - especially of music used in
church and at the reception - is legal.)