If you’ve chosen a church wedding, we would love to help you create a service which is meaningful and personal to you.
Use the links below for information on how to get started with your wedding, to find churches near you and plan services. Resources that may help you in preparing for both the big day and your future together, as well as arranging an environmentally-friendly wedding or a wedding on a budget:
For licensing and legal queries:
Diocesan Registrar →
Q/ What do Christians believe about marriage?
A/ Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God. In the marriage ceremony, a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love each other, come what may.
The Bible compares married love with the love Jesus has for his followers. He expressed his love by being prepared to sacrifice himself, even to die for the people he loved. This is amazing, unconditional love. Jesus never said ‘I love you, but …’.
In our marriage we can try to follow his model by loving each other in a self-sacrificial way, putting our partner’s needs before our own.
The marriage ceremony gives you a new legal status as husband and wife. Christians believe that marriage offers the right place for the fulfilment of our sexuality and a stable and secure environment for bringing up children.
Q/ Where can I get married?
A/ Everyone lives in a parish and belongs to a parish church. That’s the church you should contact for more information about getting married. To find out which churches are closest to you, or to check out parish boundaries, use the search tool on the A church near you website.
Q/ I’m not baptised. I don’t go to church. Can I still get married in church?
A/ Yes! If you live in the parish of the church you want to marry in.
Q/ How do I book the church?
A/ Get in touch with your local parish priest.
He or she will probably wish to meet with you in person to discuss your plans.
Q/ What if I want to be married in a different church?
A/ If you are a regular worshipper in that church, it is usually possible to be married there. Just speak to your minister.
If you are not a regular worshipper why not start attending? You will normally be expected to attend services for some time before becoming eligible to be married there.
If you have a special connection with the church, you can apply for a Special Licence. To apply or find out more contact The Faculty Office, 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3JT tel: 020 7222 5381
Q/ I heard that you can get married in any church you want to now. Is this true?
A/ In July 2007, the General Synod (the Church of England’s governing body) approved steps to widen the wedding regulations. The regulations are designed to make it easier for couples to get married in a church that has special meaning to them.
Provided the church is available, couples can choose to get married in:
– their local parish
– the parish where they were baptised and/or confirmed
– a parish they have lived in for 6 months or more, at any time during their lives
– a parish they have attended worship in for at least 6 months
– the parish their parents lived or worshipped in (during the child’s lifetime)
– the parish their parents or grandparents were married in.
The legislation is currently being prepared for parliament’s Ecclesiastical Committee before its passage through both Houses of Parliament. After that, if it passes, it will receive Royal Assent.
However at the moment, if you want to get married in a church that is not your parish church you will need to talk to the minister there (see previous question)
If there is a good reason, couples can apply for a Special Licence. To apply or find out more contact The Faculty Office, 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3JT tel: 020 7222 5381
Q/ We’ve decided to get married abroad but we would like a church blessing. Is that possible?
A/ There is no reason why you shouldn’t do this, provided your vicar is happy. There is a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony and this can be adapted. There are no legal requirements or set fees.
Q/ I’m divorced. Can I still get married in church?
A/ The Church of England believes that marriage is for life. But it recognises that sadly, some marriages do fail. In exceptional circumstances, the Church accepts that a divorced person may marry again.
Speak to your parish priest. He or she will want to talk to you frankly about your past and your hopes for the future. Even if it is not possible to do your wedding, they may be willing to offer you service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony.
Marriage in church after divorce, is available or can be ordered from Church House Bookshop.
Q/ I’m Church of England and he’s a Catholic. Does that matter?
A/ People of all denominations have a right to be married in their parish church (provided they have not been married before). So it doesn’t matter from the Church of England’s perspective.
Q/ Why do we need marriage preparation?
A/ You have probably invested a lot of time planning your wedding. The day is important but your marriage should last for the rest of your life. However much you think you know each other, you are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears. Churches often offer an opportunity to talk through these issues, sometimes as a group with other couples.
A/ The normal preliminary to getting married in the Church of England is by banns.
If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents’ consent to marry.
There are circumstances where some form of licence, such as a common licence or special licence, is more appropriate. Your priest or minister will discuss with you what you need to do.
There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced (See question above).
Q/ How much will it cost?
A/ How much have you got?! Only joking, the legal fees for a marriage cover the publication of the banns, the marriage service and a certificate of marriage. These fees are fixed centrally and are currently approximately £240.
These fees do not cover any extras you may wish to have for the service, such as a choir, organist, bell-ringers, special lighting, fees for video recording and so on. Check with your parish priest.