Congratulations on your decision to get married. Preparing for your marriage and the marriage service in particular is a very exciting time of your life with lots of decisions to be made.  Naturally we want to encourage you with your preparations, but as a marriage ceremony has legal implications, we have to make sure that you are entitled to get married at St Margaret’s before we agree to the arrangements for a marriage service to take place there. The outline of the legalities are set out below.

So what is the procedure about getting married at St Margaret’s? First, please fill in this booking form so that the details of the service can be recorded and the decision made as to which way you are going to satisfy the legal preliminaries for the service. You will be given a copy of the marriage service to look through and you will be encouraged to think about the music and hymns you will want and to make contact with the organist for your marriage service. Before the marriage service there may be one or two meetings with the person who will be officiating at your marriage service. You will go through the service and explore the meaning behind the words and the vows you will be taking. On the day before the marriage service itself there will rehearsal and it would be helpful if the best man, bridesmaids, parents of bride, and bridegroom are there as well as the couple themselves.

Legal considerations for Marriage

In order to get married in a church you will have to satisfy the necessary legal requirements. There are three prime routes and these are outlined below. The system has added complications if either person getting married has been divorced. These would need to be talked through on an individual basis.

Banns: This is the simplest route to get married in St Margaret’s. If you live in the parish or are on the church electoral roll then you should qualify for your banns to be published at St Margaret’s. Due to a change in the law in 2008, you can also get married by banns if: 1) you were baptised or confirmed at the church, 2) you or your parents either lived within the parish for six months  or attended worship for six months, 3) your grandparents were married at the church. Your banns of marriage are read at the main Sunday Service on three Sundays before the wedding. If no one objects, then a banns certificate should be issued. You will need your banns to be read in the parish church of both parties to be married and also the parish where you are getting married if this is different.

Common Licence: The grounds for getting married in a particular church have recently been extended by an act of parliament. If you want to know if you are eligible, then please contact the Vicar to check your particular circumstances.

Special Licence: Marriage by Special Licence cannot be assumed as an automatic right. You may apply to get an Archbishop’s Special Licence if you have a particular connection with a particular church building in which you want to get married. The most frequent use of a Special Licence in this Benefice is when someone wants to get married in a College chapel which they attended whilst at university.