We want to help you make your wedding day really special

If you are planning to get married come and talk to us about a church wedding! We'd love to help you celebrate in a really special way. The first step is to contact us to make an appointment to meet the vicar, to discuss your options and talk together about whether it is possible - legally and practically - for you to get married at St Matthew's Church.

How do I find out more?

If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask. Click here for a useful web site with masses of extra information about getting married in church, or check out the information below.

Some of your questions answered

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.

Many people like to marry in their local church. Visit www.achurchnearyou.com to find a church in your area if you do not know one already. Any one is welcome to marry in their local Church of England church.

You can also marry in a church if you are on that church's electoral roll - this means becoming a "member" of that church, usually after attending regularly for a while.

However, we also recognise that people might like to marry in a different church because it has special significance for them through family or other connections. An engaged couple can, therefore, marry in a church if either of them can show one of the following connections with the parish:

That one of you:

  • Was baptised in the church concerned or
  • Was prepared for confirmation in the parish or
  • Has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • Has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the chosen church for a period of at least 6 months or

That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

  • Has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • Has regularly gone to normal church services in that parish church for a period of at least 6 months or

That one of your parents or grandparents:

  • Was married in that parish church

Please note - in all cases involving church services, i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, Confirmation or marriage, this applies only to the Church of England services.

Even if you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, we want to help you explore whether it may be possible for you marry in your specially chosen church. Talk to the vicar well in advance to discuss the options open to you.

Yes! There is a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony and this can be adapted. You may have hymns, readings, music and flowers at an agreed cost, but there are no legal requirements of charges for this service.

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 we also recognise that, sadly, some marriages do fail. Speak to the vicar of your chosen church about the situation and there may be a way forward. 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. Even if it is not possible to do the wedding, they may offer you a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony.

The normal preliminary to getting married in the Church of England is by banns. This gives official public notice that you intend to be married in order to check that there are no legal reasons to prevent the marriage. You will be told which churches need to call the banns, and it is good to be at that service at least once if you can. Banns are called on three consecutive Sundays.

If you are under eighteen you must have permission from your parents.

There are some circumstances when some other form of licence, such as a common licence or a special licence, are more appropriate. Your vicar will discuss what you need to do.

The legal fees for publication of banns, the marriage service and the marriage certificate are set by the Church of England nationally. Your chosen church will add extra charges to cover items such as the organist, heating and so on. Please ask the vicar of your chosen church for details.

Marriage by Common Licence can take place on the basis of one of the couple living in the parish or regularly attending the church without any action being necessary where the other party lives. Your vicar will know how to apply for a Common Licence.

If one is a national of a country outside of 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 that their marriage will be recognised. There are now stricter rules applied by the Civil Registry office to prevent 'sham' marriages.

For more information about your wedding at St Matthew's please contact:

Revd Matt Hird
14 Sydenham Road

Tel: 01902 471889.
Email: [email protected]