Can I get married in Church?
In order to be married in church, one of the couple must:
- live in the parish (see the map of the parish boundaries) or
- be on the church electoral roll for the parish as a regular worshipper or
- have a ‘qualifying connection’ with the parish. This includes baptism or confirmation in the parish, residence (past or present) of parents, or marriage of parents/grandparents in the parish. (full guidance on these connections and other legal requirements may be found here)
If none of these applies then the marriage cannot legally be carried out by the vicar in the church by the normal method of reading Banns. The two options would then be:
- Perform the legal side of the marriage at a registry office (usually a day or two before) and have a ‘Blessing of a marriage’ service in church. This service is very similar to a wedding service except that no registers need to be signed since that has already been done at the registry office.
- If there are ‘significant links’ with the parish, which are not covered above, you can apply for an Archbishop’s Special Licence from the Faculty Office in Westminster. You will need to demonstrate these links by providing a letter to support your application. The licence application costs in the region of £350.
If either of the couple has been divorced, please also see the page about remarriage after divorce.
The ‘preliminaries’ before the wedding will depend on the nationalities of the couple:
- Both are British citizens – banns of marriage are read in church.
- Both are EEA (see countries in the EEA) or Swiss citizens – a common licence should be obtained through the church.
- One or both of the couple is neither an EEA nor a Swiss national – civil preliminaries should be followed through the local Registrar.