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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some of the most common questions that you may have. If you are still unsure of any items, please enquire at church preferably on a Thursday evening at 7:00 pm or contact us either by e-mail or telephone.


Question What do Christians believe about marriage?

AnswerChristians 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 marriages we can try to follow his model by loving our partners in a self-sacrificial way, putting their needs before our own.

The marriage ceremony gives you a new legal status as husband and wife and a new stability within which your relationship can flourish and grow. Christians believe that marriage offers the right place for the fulfilment of our sexuality and that it provides a stable and secure environment for bringing up children.


Question Where can I get married?
Answer You are entitled to be married in the church of the Church of England parish where one or other or you lives. If you are an active, worshipping member of another church congregation, it is usually possible to be married there. To enquire get in touch with the vicar or come along to St Paul's on Thursday evening between 7:00-7:30 pm

If the church you wish to be married in is not the local church of either of you, you will have to go on the electoral roll of that parish: you will be expected to attend the church services for six months before going on the roll. In certain circumstances you can apply for a Special Licence. At the moment you can only have a Church of England wedding in a parish church or some other place of worship - normally one licensed by the Bishop. It is not normally possible to have your church wedding in other venues, for instance in a hotel.


Question Can we get married at St Luke's
AnswerUnfortunately not. St Luke's is not licensed for weddings.


Question How do I book the church?
AnswerAs soon as you have decided you would like to get married in church, get in touch with the vicar or come along to St Paul's on Thursday evening between 7:00-7:30 pm to see whether the church is free on your preferred date.


Question What are the costs of a church wedding?
AnswerThis will depend on your requirements; such as do you want a basic wedding, choir or church bells. A list of this years costs can be found on the previous page. The legal fees for a marriage cover the publication of the banns, certificate of banns (if necessary), the marriage service and a certificate of marriage.


Question What are the legal requirements?
AnswerThe normal preliminary to getting married in the Church of England is by banns. You must have your banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. This is often done over three consecutive Sundays but does not have to be. Banns are an announcement of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as at the church in which you are to be married if that is another parish. There are circumstances where some form of licence, such as a common licence or special licence, is more appropriate. Your vicar will discuss with you what you need to do.
If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents' consent to marry.
There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced: see the separate question on this issue.


Question Can I choose what kind of service I want?
AnswerThere are usually one or more readings from the Bible in the service - your vicar can help you select the most appropriate. There will also be some prayers, which you may help to choose, or you may write your own. You may also decide to have someone other than the vicar leading the prayers.
The vicar will probably give a brief talk or sermon.
If you have friends or family members you would like to be involved in the service, for example by doing a reading or playing a musical instrument, discuss this with the vicar at an early stage of your planning.


Question Which hymns and songs can I have?
AnswerThe vicar or the church can advise on suitable hymns and songs, as well as music for coming in, going out and during the signing of the register. If you want to set out the words and/or music on a printed service sheet, you will need to comply with the copyright laws - you should consult the vicar about this.


Question Should we have one or two rings?
AnswerA wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of the commitment you are making to each other. It is entirely up to you whether you have one ring or two.


Question Can I marry in any other colour than white?
AnswerYes


Question Can we have a video recording of the service?
AnswerYou will need to ask permission from the vicar and from any organist/worship leader. There may be a small fee to pay: ask your vicar about this.


Question Why do we need marriage preparation?
AnswerYou 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.


Question Can I re-marry in Church if I have been in a previously marriage, which has now been dissolved?
AnswerThis will depend on each situation and may be at the discretion of the Vicar. Individual cases may have to be assessed.
The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognizes that, sadly, some marriages do fail and, if this should happen, it seeks to be available for all involved. The Church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church during the lifetime of a former spouse.

Some vicars may be willing to conduct such a marriage in church and it is wise to make an appointment to speak to the vicar before setting a date. The vicar will want to talk to you frankly about the past, your hopes for the future and your understanding of marriage (a form and explanatory statement, Marriage in church after divorce, is available or can be ordered from Church House Bookshop, phone 020 7898 1300, www.chbookshop.co.uk). If it is not possible for your proposed marriage to take place in church, the vicar may consider other alternatives with you, such as a Service of Prayer and Dedication after a civil ceremony.


Question We've decided to get married abroad but we would like a church blessing. Is that possible?
AnswerThere 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.


Question I'm Church of England and he's a Catholic. Does that matter?
AnswerPeople 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.


Question I'm not baptised. I don't go to church. Can I still get married in church?
AnswerYes! If you live in the parish of the church you want to marry in.


Question What happens if one of us is a foreign national?
AnswerIf one is a national of a country outside Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the EU or USA The Church has a responsibility to conduct marriages which will be recognised in the country the bride or groom comes from. This is done for the couple's benefit not just for bureaucracy. Therefore, the Faculty Office strongly recommends that these marriages should be done by Common Licence rather than banns and some dioceses ask the person to obtain from the relevant embassy or consulate a letter saying their marriage will be recognised. There are now stricter rules applied by the Civil registry office to prevent 'sham' marriages.

Visit http://www.nwdwedding.co.uk/,
where 'virtual vicar' Revd. Jan Harney answers questions about church weddings and married life.

Keep up with what's going on at St Paul's and St Luke's:
Click here to open or download a .PDF document on the History of St Paul's Church click to view information on St Paul's and St Luke's Church Communities Click here for information about St Luke's Hall - available for occasion hire Click to view Wedding Informationclick here to view information on Baptismsclick to view information on our funeral and memorial services