Congratulations on your forthcoming marriage. We are delighted you are considering getting married in church.
Why would we choose a church wedding?
Many people choose a church wedding because of the beauty of the building and the fact that people have been getting married in that place for hundreds of years. The words of the service are very beautiful and you can personalise parts of the service. A church wedding is a really special occasion, and that is helped by the fact that before your wedding you build a relationship with the place, the person who will take your wedding and the people who meet in that building. Many people also feel that their marriage is blessed by God when they get married in a church.
How much does a church wedding cost?
Generally, the cost is much the same as a civil ceremony elsewhere. The basic costs are fixed by the Church of England – you can check them by contacting us or searching on the internet. If you would like bells, an organist, a choir, flowers or other extras then there is a charge for those. Our wedding booklet tells you how much those will cost. There is a small cost for the verger (the person who gets the church ready and clears up afterwards) and heating if required. No-one wants a chilly wedding!
Does one of us have to live in the Sandridge parish?
No, however if you neither you nor one of your parents live in the parish you will need to establish a Qualifying Connection. There are lots of ways to establish one of these and they are detailed on the website mychurchwedding. Some couples do this by attending church roughly once a month for six months.
What is the difference between a wedding and a marriage?
The whole event, including any reception, is called a wedding and the ‘marriage’ happens as part of that. The marriage is the part of the service involving the promises and oaths couples make to one another, and is the legal part of the wedding.
Who is allowed to get married in a church?
Most couples can get married in a church, although of course some people may prefer not to. We offer a Christian ceremony and people committed to other faiths, for example, might need to give that some consideration. Currently the church is not able legally to marry same sex couples. If one or both of you are divorced then you just need to have a chat with the vicar to make sure you can get married in church.
Can we get married any day?
There aren’t too many rules about which day you can get married, but generally churches do not offer weddings over the busy Christmas and Easter periods. You also have to get married in daylight!
What are banns?
Sometime in the three months before your wedding, your names are read out at our Sunday morning service for three weeks. This is a very ancient practice. If either of you live in another parish, the same thing also happens in your parish of residence and you are given a certificate to prove this has happened. If either of you does not hold a British passport or you want to get married quickly, then you will need to organise a licence instead.
Do we need to attend classes?
At St Leonard’s we don’t currently run classes, instead you will have at least one meeting with the vicar.
What is a Marriage Document?
This is a form that needs to be completed before the wedding. It is then signed at the end of the service and taken to the registry office. They input the information and a digital marriage certificate is issued a few weeks after the wedding. You can then pay for paper copies of your marriage certificate.
How many people can be invited?
You need at least two people to act as your witnesses, so the smallest wedding would be six people. The most we can fit into the church is around 150, but it would be quite cosy.
Can we choose our own music and readings?
Absolutely. One reading needs to be from the Bible, but it is great to personalise the service. Usually, people ask guests to read and sometimes perform the music, write the prayers or contribute to the service in some other way. Recently, I had a bride who walked up the aisle with her dog! It was a very well-behaved one.
Can we broadcast or record the wedding?
Yes, although we have no Wi-Fi so you need to arrange that yourself. Videoing a wedding requires a licence.
Can we have a blessing instead or renew our vows?
Please just contact the vicar to talk about either of these.