Are you thinking of getting married and would like to find out more about having a church wedding? We’ve compiled various resources and links to help you make your decision and help you plan your special day.
Today more than a quarter of all marriages in England take place before God in the traditional setting of a Church of England church. You’re welcome to marry in church whatever your beliefs, whether or not you are baptised and whether or not you go to church.
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.
You’ll find everything you need to plan your church wedding, from the legal aspects of marriage to a ceremony planner, and many frequently asked questions on the Church of England wedding website.
You’ll want to spend some time getting to know the church you choose, and of course getting to know the person that will be marrying you. Most churches will offer some form of preparation, which will enable you to do this. By attending some services before your big day you can get to know the people who will hopefully be able to support you in your marriage when you have returned from honeymoon and are living your married life.
Once you have chosen the church do make sure to contact the vicar quickly as some churches do get booked up early.
You’ll want to create a service that is meaningful and personal to you, so your choice of hymns and readings will be important. For various resources, including a wedding service planner:
Frequently asked questions about getting married in a Church of England church
National Church of England wedding resources
Wedding books and resources
Services of blessing and thanksgiving
If you have a civil ceremony, you can still ask your vicar for a blessing, officially called an Order of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage. Your vicar will happily help you plan the service to make sure it is best suited for your circumstances. You can choose what style you would like; lots of guests, special clothes, beautiful flowers and a big reception, or a simple service with a few close loved ones. It’s up to you. You can have it straight after the civil ceremony, or at a later date.
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. It includes readings, hymns and prayers and the chance to bless the rings and renew wedding vows.