Weddings & Marriage Blessings
Church Weddings & Marriage Blessings
Our medieval parish churches have been a focal point for the meeting together of God with humanity for centuries - a kind of divine marriage in a spiritual sense. So they are very special places in which to celebrate the wedding of bride and groom.
If you want to bring an extra dimension to your special day - to underline the spiritual connection that exists between you and your partner - these ancient, sacred spaces can provide an ideal setting.
Who may get married in a Church of England church?
Every adult has a civic right to marry in their own local parish church (Church of England), regardless of religious identity. If you have been married before, and divorced, an interview needs to take place first with the Rector, to determine that marriage in church is a suitable option for you. But many people who have been previously married do re-marry in church, and find that it can a be a meaningful place in which to begin a new start in life, with God‘s blessing - a place of forgiveness and redemption.
It is not necessary to have been christened or baptised in the Church of England in order to marry in your parish church. (However, baptism, as an adult, may be a deeply significant preparation for marriage in church, for anyone who has not been baptised and christened, and can be arranged with the Rector quite easily.) You do not have to label yourself as Christian or even especially religious in order to get married in church: Some sympathy for the spiritual aspect of the church wedding service, and an agreement with the sentiment of the religious language used, is important, in order for the whole experience to be truly meaningful. This can form part of the discussion and preparation with the Rector prior to the event
Where may I get married?
Since the law was revised in 2008, it is easier for you to marry in a church where you have a special connection, even if you do not live in that parish. The Rector can give you more detailed advice about this.
The Rector may, by law, use only the church building itself in which to conduct the wedding service.
How much will it cost?
The basic cost of a wedding in church (2009) is £300, based on the standard Church of England rate, which includes the use of the church building, the minister’s fee, and a utility charge.
There are additional costs for organist (£50), bell ringers (£90), choir (£100), and verger / caretaker (£20).
The cost of flowers should be organised separately with a professional or amateur florist. The printing of a service leaflet should also be arranged separately with a professional printer, or produced at home on domestic equipment. The Rector will advise you as to the content and layout.
What music can we have?
It is traditional to have two or three hymns during the wedding service. The Rector may offer advice as to what is suitable. We have regular organists who are available to play at weddings. You may discuss with them directly what hymns you would like, and music for processing in and out of church, and the period of about ten minutes in church during which the marriage registers are signed.
There are local choirs available, through the Rector, who will gladly sing at a wedding, to assist the hymn singing, and to offer any special performance items, for instance during the signing. Additional costs will be incurred should the purchase of music manuscript be required.
If you have a friend whom you would like to perform some music in church, that may be agreed with the Rector.
Two of our benefice churches, St Andrew, Great Ryburgh and St Mary, Whissonsett, each house sets of six bells that may be rung for weddings. Most of the remaining churches have a bell that may be simply chimed.
We would like a marriage blessing
If you are already married, or plan to marry at a location other than the church, your marriage may be blessed in the church. The make up of this service may be tailored to suit your circumstances, and should be discussed with the Rector. Options include the planning of a substantial service that might include the reciting or renewal of wedding vows; the blessing of new or existing rings; or a simple, low-key blessing as part of a scheduled Sunday service, or as a separate event at any convenient day and time.
A marriage blessing service might follow on immediately from a civic wedding, or mark a special anniversary, for the young or senior couple!
The fee for a marriage blessing will be determined by the type of service that you request. As with a wedding service, bells and special music may be requested.
Meet the Rector
I will be delighted to have a no-obligation meeting to discuss your requirements and answer any particular questions you might have, before committing yourselves.
Revd. Robin Stapleford
Upper Wensum Rectory
The church wedding vows
I, (name), take you, (name),
to be my wife / husband,
to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part;
according to God's holy law.
In the presence of God I make this vow.
(Name) - I give you this ring
as a sign of our marriage.
With my body I honour you,
all that I am I give to you,
and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The traditional blessing
O Eternal God, Creator and Preserver of all, giver of all spiritual grace, the Author of everlasting life: Send thy blessing upon these thy servants, this woman and this man, whom we bless in thy Name; that they may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, whereof these rings given and received are tokens and pledge, and may ever remain in perfect love and peace together, and live according to thy laws; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
+ God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost, bless, preserve, and keep you; the Lord mercifully with his favour look upon you, and so fill you with all spiritual benediction and grace, that ye may so live together in this life, that in the world to come ye may have life everlasting.