Getting married in church is a wonderful experience. Not only is it a very special occasion in its own right, but it can also have a lasting positive impact on your life together.
This page gives you some of the basic facts about getting married in St Mary’s, but it’s much more fun to talk it through with one of the Clergy! In the mean time you might also like to visit the Church of England’s Marriage Website, www.yourchurchwedding.org for a wealth of resources (suggested readings, music etc) and real-life stories.
To discuss and book your wedding at St Mary’s, please contact Revd Jes firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I know whether I am eligible to get married in Buckden?
(a) Residence requirements
Couples can now marry in a parish church with which they have a qualifying connection. You can still marry in the parish church where you currently live or where you are a regular member of the congregation, but you would now also be able to marry at a church where you used to live, or where you used to be a member of the congregation (for 6 months or more) or where you were baptised or prepared for confirmation, where your parents live (or lived, during your lifetime, for 6 months or more), or where your parents or even grandparents were themselves married!
You can read the full guidelines here . Please do ask if you are not sure.
(b) Previous marriages
If either of you has been married before, please contact us as early as possible in your planning. A previous marriage will not necessarily make marriage in church inappropriate, but it is important to talk through the issues at an early stage. You will need to bring with you to the initial meeting with the clergy your decree absolute.
(c) Other considerations
If you have questions about other issues that might affect your eligibility for marriage, please contact the vicar as soon as possible. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we will be able to find out for you.
What are the legal preliminaries for marriage?
According to the law, you can get married in church either after Banns, or by Licence. Calling Banns of Marriage is by far the most common (and cheapest!) method. The law requires that your banns be called in the parish where you will be getting married, and in the parish(es) where each of you lives. You are responsible for contacting the parish priests of all the applicable parishes to ensure that banns are called. The priest who marries you will need to see all the Certificates of Banns. Most couples enjoy coming to church to hear their banns called.
In some circumstances a Licence (usually a Common Licence, occasionally a Special Licence) would be more appropriate; the priest who is to marry you will advise if this is the case.
What happens when I enquire about getting married at St Mary’s?
When you first got in touch with the church about planning your wedding, you will probably make an appointment to see the priest who will be marrying you.
At this first meeting we will take a note of your personal and contact details and your preferred date and time for the service (we always try to offer you your first choice of date and time, but there are sometimes prior bookings or other events that may make it impossible for you to have your first choice). We will also confirm your qualifying connection and talk through and any other issues (e.g. previous marriages), and have a quick look at the marriage service.
The priest may suggest a second meeting, if it seems that there is a lot to discuss.
Then, it’s over to you: visit www.yourchurchwedding.org to help you select readings, music, hymns, and more. Once you have decided what you would like, make sure you run your choices past the priest to make sure that they will work in St Mary’s. Please feel free to contact us if we can help you with those decisions.
At this point, the priest will be able to send you a draft order of service (all the right words, in the right order) for you to design and print according to your own ‘style’. Most couples now produce their own order of service; it is a chance to ‘get creative’ and make it really personal. You may also have someone creative from among your family members or friends who offers to make the orders of service for you.
To help you think through what the service means, you will be given a copy of ‘Making the most of your church wedding’. This booklet is designed to help you become familiar with the words and actions of the marriage service, and at the same time enable you to prepare not only for your wedding day but for your life together. If any issues come up during your thinking and reflecting together, please do ask for our help.
As the wedding day approaches, the priest will wish to meet you again to finalise the details of the service, and to confirm a date and time for the rehearsal, which will usually be during the week before the wedding. The rehearsal is held in church, and is particularly for the bride and groom, best man, chief bridesmaid and father of the bride. Many couples make this into a family event, and invite others along, too.
Some practical things
It’s really helpful if you can also let us know as soon as possible if you would like to have the bells rung after your wedding, so that we can book a team of bellringers.
It’s also helpful to know roughly what you’re intending regarding flowers, and if you have any special arrangements (guards of honour, bagpipers, string quartets, etc!) and if you have any wheelchair users among your guests |(so we can think about the seating plan).
If you’re having your wedding service recorded on video you will need to obtain a video licence from ECL Ltd www.videolicence.co.uk). Videoing should take place discreetly and without causing any hindrance to those attending or conducting the service, from a position either by the lectern or the pulpit, or at the rear cross aisle. The organist’s fee may need to be increased if you video your service (this is due to the laws governing performance rights).
We allow still (non-flash) photography at the following points in the service:
- a long shot from the rear cross aisle during the first hymn
- during the applause following the proclamation (just after the giving of rings)
- posed shots at the signing of the registers
- as the bridal couple are processing out of church
Photography at other points in the service can sometimes be distracting, so we ask that photographers, if they do take pictures at other points, to be especially discreet. The current data protection legislation should be observed if any photographs or video images are held digitally.
We have a wheelchair available in church for anyone who might struggle with the path from the road to the church door. We also have a disabled-friendly toilet in church, and baby changing facilities, as well as a ‘quiet room’ (ie a room that you can be noisy in without disturbing the service!). We also have wedding colouring books and packs of crayons available for small children.
We’re not allowed to permit paper or plastic confetti in the churchyard, and throwing rice can harm wildlife. However, many couples use lavender, or rose petals, or get the children to blow bubbles!
A standard marriage service with one reading and two hymns usually lasts about 35 – 40 minutes. It is good if the bride aims to arrive 5 minutes early to allow time for adjusting the veil etc, and for photographs outside the church. Don’t forget to allow time at the end of the service for more photographs etc. before heading off for the reception.
If you have any questions about any of the above, please do contact us.
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