Your marriage in the
Church of England

Getting married in church is a sign to your friends, family and most importantly to each other that you are ready to make a public declaration of love and commitment in front of those who love you and are part of your life together, including God.

During the service you will make vows promising to love each other throughout your lifetime and stick together through thick and thin. The priest will ask for God’s blessing on your marriage and there will be readings, hymns, prayers and a short talk.

All you need to plan your church wedding, from the legal aspects of marriage to a ceremony planner, and including frequently asked questions, visit www.yourchurchwedding.org

If you have decided to get married in church it makes sense to spend some time attending the church you have chosen and getting to know the person who will take your service. They will probably offer you some kind of preparation in order to help you as you start your married life. When the honeymoon is over – and it will end at some point – the church community should be able to offer you support and help too if you need it.

If you are not sure which is your local church click here to find out.

Just a few things about weddings you may not know...

...Christian marriage is considered to be a sacrament - a channel through which God communicates his grace (generosity) to human beings. Other sacraments (Latin for holy thing) include the special services such as baptism, confirmation or ordination and in all those cases the priest or vicar (or deacon or Bishop) is the minister of the sacrament. In a wedding it is the couple who are the ministers and the priest is there to assist with the service and bless the wedding.

...Jesus performed his first miracle at a wedding in Cana and in Genesis we read that God created a man and then immediately realised it was not good for him to be alone and Eve was created to be his wife.

...If you choose to get married in a non-Church setting such as a Hotel or Registry Office your ceremony is not allowed to have any religious overtones at all. So no hymns or readings from the bible, no prayers or blessings. However if you have a civil ceremony we can offer you a service of blessing in church. Link to bottom of page (LINK). As well as sounding different the traditional and contemporary services used in Church of England wedding ceremonies have different emphasises on the reasons to marry. In the Book of Common Prayer (the older one) it gives these reasons in this order: to create children; to give a proper focus for sexual love and as a gift from God for the mutual society, help and comfort of each to the other. The more contemporary Common Worship says (in order) it is: a partnership between two people which is a gift of God, to enjoy sexual union and to create a safe place for the creation of children in which all can grow into maturity.

You can find out all the practical information about getting married in a Church of England church at www.yourchurchwedding.org. The website has the service for you to consider, details of fees and a useful frequently asked question section.

If you have already decided you want to get married and you know in which church do contact the vicar as soon as possible to book the date. Some churches can get very booked up. Phone numbers of churches can be found here.

Click here to read our suggestions suitable hymns and readings. (LINK)

Services of Blessing and Thanksgiving

If you are to be married in a civil ceremony you can ask your vicar for a service of blessing, officially called an Order of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage. Your vicar will be very pleased to help you plan the service and will advise you about how it is best suited to your circumstances. It will be a special service and may follow straight after the Civil Marriage itself. You could have lots of guests, special clothes, flowers and a reception or you can have a simple service with a few loved ones.

During the service you can have your rings blessed, affirm your commitment to one another and the priest will pray for your marriage. As you are already married rings are not exchanged and you are expected to come into church together. Click here (LINK) to read the full text of the service.

A Service of Thanksgiving can be held to celebrate an anniversary, after a time of separation or difficulty in a marriage or when a number of couples reaffirm their vows together. The text of the service can be read here (LINK). It includes readings, hymns and prayers and the chance to bless the rings and renew wedding vows.