How To Book a Church Wedding
It can be baffling when it comes to finding venues for your wedding. You need to make sure that both the church and your chosen venue are available on your selected date and they need to be relatively near to each other so it’s easy for your guests to drive between them.
This is why I’m here to advise you on how to book a church wedding, including finding the church and how much it might cost.
How to find a church for your wedding
Unfortunately, you can’t just pick any church and get married there. There are certain rules and regulations that have to be followed.
Firstly, the church has to somehow be connected to you and your family. You qualify to automatically get married at a church if:
- one of you has lived in the parish for at least six months
- one of you was baptised at that church
- either of you has attended regular church services for at least six months
- one of your parents has lived in the parish for at least six months
- one of your parents has regularly attended church services
- your parents or grandparents were married in the parish
This does give you quite a few options. If you’ve moved home to a different parish, you’re automatically eligible to get married at your new local church.
It also means that even if your parents got married 100 miles away in another church, you are also eligible to get married there.
And if there was a church you really wanted to get married at, but you don’t have any other connection to it, you could attend services once a month for at least six months to make you eligible.
What do you need to get married in a church?
Once you’ve found a church, there are some more regulations you need to follow. You’ll need to meet with the vicar and show them your passport as proof of nationality.
The vicar will also need to see your connection to the church. This could be a letter that has your address on it (if you live in the parish) or your parents’ marriage certificate as proof that they got married there. If you’re attending services for six months, you should sign a guest book every time you go so the vicar has proof that you attended.
Finally, the vicar will need you and your partner to partially fill in your wedding certificate. You’ll need to note your full name, address, date of birth, etc. The form will also ask for your father’s name and his profession. The part where you sign is left blank until the wedding day.
Remember! If you live in one parish and are getting married at a church in another parish, you need to meet both vicars.
As the wedding day gets nearer, you need to have your banns read out. These should be read out at least two or three months before your wedding day, and should be announced over three consecutive weeks. You should make sure that the church does this, as it’s your responsibility. If your banns aren’t read in time before the wedding, you may need to pay £200 for a Common licence in order to get married.
Your banns will need to be read out by both churches (if your parish one is different to where you’re getting married).
If you’re confused at any point, you should get in touch with your vicar as they’ll be able to help you through the whole process.
How much does a church wedding cost?
Church weddings can cost more than you might think.
The 2019 legal fee that you need to pay in order to get married at a church is £540. This is the basic fee and can go up if you want additional extras, including heating, a verger (who ensures the church is kept clean and tidy and can hand out Order of Services), an organist, bell ringers or the choir. If you want extra copies of your marriage certificate, then this will also cost more.
The bells usually cost around £100.
The choir usually costs around £100.
This means that your church wedding could cost over £1000 if you want all of the additional extras.
Things to think about before you book a church wedding
Double check with your vicar that you can take your church flowers to the reception venue after you’ve got married.
You should also check that there’s enough seating for all your guests, and that it’s accessible. You don’t want the bridesmaids to have their view blocked by a large column. Ask about disabled access.
You should ask to speak to the organist about the hymns you want. Some hymns have the same words but different tunes so liaise and make sure you both know which version you want.
Finally, you’ll need to speak to your vicar about the photographer and videographer to make sure they’re happy for them to take pictures – it’s respectful. The vicar will likely want to speak to both the photo- and videographer on the day of the wedding.
with CLAIRE BOON and SARAH MACKLIN of BOUQUET & BELLS
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Jayne & Richard got married at fairytale venue Peckforton Castle in January 2020.
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