Your church wedding
Whether or not you go to church we’d love to welcome you for your wedding. If you’ve just started dreaming about your big day or you’re well into the planning, read on to discover all that a church wedding can offer. In here you will find information on where you can get married, how much it costs, a few ideas for hymns and readings and where you can look for more information. We hope this will all help to make your day personal, meaningful, spiritual and beautiful.
Contents Why choose church? 3 The cost of Church weddings 5 More churches to choose from 6 If you’re having a civil wedding at home or away
Hymns and Readings 8 A few early photography tips 9 Frequently asked questions 10
Why choose church? A special day … You don’t have to be particularly religious to have a feel for the sacred. “Plenty of people with little or no experience of church are awestruck at those all-or-nothing moments when a man and a woman pledge themselves to each other, ’for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death us do part’” (Archbishop of York)
Many couples talk about wanting to do it ‘properly’. For many that means in a church, in the presence of God. The church service includes amazing vows that God hears and is part of. He promises to help you keep them. These vows, made in public and with God, will help you stay together and grow together.
When looking back many couples say that the high light of their day was the moment when, standing before their family and friends, they made their marriage vows to each other. This moment made all the preparation seem worthwhile, and gave all the celebrations their meaning.
When asked why they wanted to get married in church couples at a wedding preparation time said: ‘We think our vows mean more said in the presence of God’ and ‘Church is a place of memories with a strong family connection’ and ‘We feel it is more traditional and our vows will have more meaning when said in front of God.’ (St Oswald’s Ashbourne, Wedding Survey, April 2013)
in a special place … Church buildings offer outstanding beauty and centuries of history. Old or new, intimate or grand, our beautiful churches are some of Derbyshire’s most stunning and atmospheric wedding venues.You can feel like you’re becoming part of history by marrying in the same church as your relatives. Thanks to a new law it has never been easier to do so. 3
… that you can be involved in making uniquely yours A church wedding can be as lavish or as simple as you want it to be. You can choose your bible reading and have other readings. You can choose your hymns and you can use a range of music to enter and leave the church. If you’re not sure where to start have a look at the online ceremony planner at www.yourchurchwedding.org
A welcome that lasts - a church wedding isn’t just about the big day Whether or not you get married near where you live, your local church community will be there for you in the months and years to come. Go to www.achurchnearyou.org to find your local church. Whether or not you are christened and regardless of whether you go to church, it’s your church and we welcome you on your wedding day and on into your life together. 4
The cost of church weddings If you choose to marry in church you can do so without having to spend a fortune.
There is a required legal fee for marrying in a church. It is £451 for weddings taking place in 2014, which includes all legal necessities.* This is set by the Church of England nationally. It may vary slightly for you depending on your circumstances. A full breakdown of the legal fees can viewed at www.yourchurchwedding. org This basic legal fee includes the cost of the Vicar, the church, calling your banns, the marriage certificate, lighting and all administration.
The legal cost doesn’t include extras you may choose or decline and will vary according to the church. Many churches will ask you to pay for a Verger. A Verger will open up the church and set up the area where the registers are going to be. They will be on hand as guests arrive to help with any queries. They tidy up afterwards and lock up when everyone has gone … Vergers are a crucial part of the team!
Other costs can include: • Heating (important for a winter wedding), It includes: • Flowers (if you’re using flower arrangers • the fee set by law payable to the church: from the church) £392 • An organist • your marriage certificate: £4 • The choir: not all churches have one, and • having your banns read at the home church: even if they do, you might decide not to £21 use them – it will be up to you. • having your banns read at the church where • Bells: again, not all churches have them. you will marry: £21 Where they do, the number of bellringers • your banns certificate: £13 varies according to the number of bells – and as a result, costs vary too. Total legal fee: £451 • There may be a performing rights charge attached to an organist and/or choir costs. *This figure is based on a couple living at the same address and marrying in 2014 outside their own parish.
It is probable that there will be a slight rise in this cost in 2015 to account for inflation. Fees apply for the year a wedding takes place not for the year it is booked if that is different.
Talk all this through with your Vicar before you agree to your wedding and ask to see an itemized list of costs to help you choose and plan.
More churches to choose from If you want to marry in your local C of E church you can visit www.achurchnearyou.com to find it. However, we know that you might like to marry in a different location because it has significance for you through family or other special occasions. You can do that if either of you can show just one of the following seven connections with the parish.
That one of you 1 Has at any time lived in the parish for a period of six months 2. Was baptised in the parish concerned 3. Was prepared for confirmation in the parish 4. Has at anytime regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of six months.
Or that one of your parents, at anytime after you were born: 5. Has lived in the parish for a period of six months 6. Has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish for a period of at least six months
Or that one of your parents or grandparents 7. Was married in the parish
If you’re having a civil wedding at home or away Whether your wedding is in Bermuda or Bradford a simple church ceremony is available to anyone who wants to dedicate their civil marriage to God afterwards. If you’ve chosen to marry abroad this can be a lovely way of getting together with a larger group of family and friends for them to be part of your new life together. You can have this Service of Prayer and Dedication in any one of our churches, as long as the Vicar is available and willing to do it for you. Why not ask at your favourite church or your local church where you can go back again and again. An outline of the service of Prayer and Dedication can be viewed at yourchurchwedding.org Ask your Vicar how the service can be made more personal, special and memorable to you. Your rings, a symbol of your love for each other and God’s love for you can be blessed as well. The words of the service acknowledge the commitment you have already made and ask for God’s blessing and guidance in your new life together.
Hymns and readings The world’s most inspiring words and beautiful music are yours to choose from, with your Vicar’s expert help.
If you decide you would like to have hymns during your wedding service, it’s usual to pick one or two, but three is ok! The Vicar or the organist at the church where you are to be married will be pleased to help you decide. Here are some of the most well-loved wedding hymns. • • • • • • •
Amazing grace Give me joy in my heart All things bright and beautiful Make me a channel of your peace Lord of the dance Love divine all loves excelling We pledge to one another
There are many more to consider. If you want to look at the words and listen to the music visit www.yourchurchwedding.org and look at the Ceremony Planner.
All weddings in the Church of England include one or more readings from the Bible – it is a Christian service after all! There are many popular and exciting passages to consider. 8
You can include other readings, poems, music and prayers and involve family and friends in these if you like. Please talk your ideas through with your Vicar. Here’s just an idea of some of the Bible readings you could choose from: 1 Corinthians, chapter 13 “...Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, aways trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails...” Song of Solomon, Chapter 8, verses 6 & 7 “Place me like a seal over your heart, like the seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death...” Colossians, chapter 3, verses 12 -17 “...And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity...” Genesis, chapter 1, verses 26-28 “...So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of god he created them; male and female he created them...” 1 John, chapter 4 verses 7 - 12 “Dear friends, let us love each other, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God...” Go to www.yourchurchwedding.org for more information.
A few early photographer tips! You will want the best possible memories of your wedding so talk things through carefully with your photographer and your Vicar. Most Vicars allow the photographer to take photos throughout the service as long as they’re not moving around the church doing so and are not using flash. If your photographer can make it to the rehearsal or make a separate visit to the church they can find a good vantage point that will allow great photos of the whole service. During the service it’s better for everyone if people switch off their phones and put cameras away – you want everyone to be supporting you as you make your vows and you certainly don’t want to be distracted by clicks and flashes. Most Vicars will invite your family and friends to take photos at some point in the service – usually after the registers have been signed. Ask them if that’s the case! Talk to your Vicar too about the best place for a tripod if you’re having your wedding recorded – a fixed stand is far less distracting than someone wandering around with a camera … and if you have relatives abroad who can’t be with you what about Skype?! Another question for your Vicar! Most churches are happy for you to record your ceremony but bear in mind there may be a performing rights charge if you choose to do so. 9
Frequently asked questions I’m not christened. Can I marry in church? Yes! How much does it cost to get married in church? See the explanation of fees on page 5. I’m divorced. Can I get married in church? There may be a way forward for you to be married again in church. The Church of England agreed in 2002 that divorced people could remarry in church under certain circumstances. We believe that marriage is for life, but also recognise that sadly, some marriages do fail. Speak to your Vicar about your situation. He or she will want to talk to you frankly about your past and your hopes for the future and will let you know whether they can remarry you. Can I only marry in church on a Saturday? No, you can marry on any day of the week. Friday is the second most popular day. How do I find a church? Go to www.achurchnearyou.com and type in your post code. That will give you your local parish church and the Vicar’s contact details. I’m interested in a church wedding, what do I do next? Phone the vicar and introduce yourself and ask to arrange a meeting to look round the church and discuss getting married there - they’ll be please to hear from you! It’s a good idea to do this at the same time as you’re getting in touch with reception venues so that you can synchronise dates. Some churches can get booked up well in advance so the sooner you speak to the Vicar the better. Do I need to “give notice” to get married in church? When you book your church wedding the Vicar will talk to you about something called Banns and when they need to be read. Banns are a legal requirement and are the equivalent of giving notice in a civil ceremony.
Can we write our own vows? Legally the vows have to stay as they are. But there is nothing to stop you writing what you would like to say to each other and including that in the service. Talk to your Vicar about it. I’m marrying someone from another country, does that make a difference? Yes it does and you will need to talk to your Vicar about it as early as possible. It is highly likely that you will need a Special Licence before you can be married in church and there will need to be checks to make sure all the necessary immigration information is in order if that is required. There is an additional cost of £200 (2013) for a special license. What about confetti? Most venues, including churches, have guidelines about confetti. Ask your Vicar about it. As a guide go for environmentally friendly confetti as with the best will in the world, some of it gets washed down the drain. Foil based confetti lasts for years! Find out where the best place for throwing confetti is too. Do I have to have ‘Here comes the Bride’? There are lots of classical and traditional pieces of music that you can choose from for coming into and going out of church and for during the signing of the Registers. In many places there is also the option of using a CD with some of your favourite music on it. Again, talk this all through with your Vicar - there will be some pieces / tracks that are more suitable than others! Your own ideas You might have particular things that you want included in your service. There are some things that are negotiable and some that are not (it is, after all, a legal ceremony). So talk to your Vicar - it’s always worth asking the question! Much like every couple, every church is different and will have its own traditions and quirks, keeping in touch with your Vicar and attending some Sunday services will let you get to know them and the church better. By getting married there you are becoming part of the story of that church and its community. 11
Produced by the Diocese of Derby, November 2013. For more information about planning your wedding visit www.yourchurchwedding.org or www.derby.anglican.org/weddings. To find a church visit www.achurchnearyou.com Thank you to Jinx photography.