Weddings at Elmore church blossom with hotel partnership

Published: Monday April 17, 2023
Wedding at Elmore Church Image by The Curries
Image by The Curries https://www.thecurries.co/

The wedding season is upon us and churches across the Diocese are preparing for one of their busiest periods. St John the Baptist Church, nestled in the village of Elmore, has found its partnership with a local hotel is bringing more couples to consider a church wedding.

When the current owner of Elmore Court, Anselm Guise, took ownership of the family manor in 2013, his vision was to transform it into a premium hotel and venue, offering exclusive-use hire for weddings and parties. Anselm knew Richard’s predecessor at St John the Baptist, the Revd Andrew James, well and, as part of his new wedding venue offering, was happy to recommend the church at Elmore to couples.

Priest-in-Charge the Revd Richard Martin says, “The partnership we have with Elmore Court has been excellent for introducing couples to Elmore through a church wedding. We see a high number of couples come to us having been introduced by the hotel. The process is very natural and when the hotel is speaking with couples about their reception, they mention our church and ask if they would like to be put in touch with us. We, too, suggest Elmore Court to couples who approach us looking for a venue to hold their reception.

“Anselm’s vision has been a true success story,” says Richard. “They now hold a wedding fayre twice a year and they always invite us to have a table there to speak to couples who might be interested in getting married at church. The venue has always been accommodating; it’s become a very happy arrangement.”

Elmore Court was originally established as a home in the 13th century and has views over the Cotswolds and River Severn. The prestigious venue attracts couples from predominantly large cities, working in areas such as the commercial sector, the Armed Forces and public services, who are looking to have a rural wedding.

Richard says, “The connection we make with couples offers a wonderful opportunity to not only get to know more about their relationship but also about their occupations. I recently spoke to a couple who were both A&E doctors in the NHS and we had some really interesting conversations about their work. Some people have a set idea about what kind of wedding they want, but most people find it useful to dig a bit deeper and explore and reflect on their faith and what the marriage service means to them, and how they want the service to be remembered in years to come.”

St John the Baptist Church is a Grade I listed building and the link with Elmore Court just a mile down the road makes it an attractive location for wedding for couples living out of the county. The church sees around 20 weddings a year and Richard says they are now fully booked for 2024 and are taking bookings for 2025.

Richard says, “Couples are often pleasantly surprised to learn that they do not have to live in our parish to be married here. We welcome all who wish to marry here, and we aim to make the process as easy as possible. It is people’s legal right to get married in their parish church and once a couple has attended six times they are considered to have made a ‘qualifying connection’ and are part of our parish. They also do not have to be baptised, Christened, or even part of the same religion.

“What we find is that the couples enjoy visiting us and form a lasting connection to the church. We hold an informal evening service on the Sunday nearest to St Valentine’s Day each year to celebrate the couples who have married or are going to be married at Elmore, and see a large number attend. We have a wonderful team here, offering refreshments and a warm welcome that our wedding couples seem to really appreciate. Some have even come back years later to have their child baptised, which is always lovely to be part of.”

Elmore Court website has a page dedicated to weddings in church, offering more information about what is involved, directing people to contact the Revd Richard Martin: Want to get married in church? Here’s how (elmorecourt.com)

 

 

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