Churches have always been a special place for momentous events in people’s lives, and getting married in a church is the perfect way to start your married lives together. A Church wedding provides the perfect opportunity to make a public commitment to each other, in the presence of God, supported by friends and family, and to ask God to bless your marriage. At St. Leonard’s, we consider it a great privilege to share in your marriage preparations, and to work with you to make your Wedding Day truly special.
Are we the right church for your wedding?
If you live in the parish, you have an automatic right to be married here at St Leonard’s. You can find out if we are your parish church by using the Church Finder Tool. You can also marry here at St Leonard’s, even if you don’t live in our parish, if you are on our electoral roll. This is a list of our members and people need to have been regularly worshipping here for at least 6 months before they can apply to be on the roll.
However, in the situation that you neither live in the parish nor are on our electoral roll. But would still like to be married at St Leonard’s, particularly if it has special significance for you. This may be possible if you have a ‘qualifying connection’ with the church. Our Vicar Mthr Sandra can talk this through with you or click on the link to Find Out More.
To assure a marriage is legal, as pertaining to both UK Civil and Church law. There are certain aspects of a church wedding that must be followed and fulfilled.
Reading of Banns
The reading of banns is an announcement made in the church, of your intention to marry, and this forms an opportunity for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Most Church of England marriages require banns of marriage to be published before the wedding takes place. Banns need to be read in the parish where both the bride and groom live, as well as the parish church in which you are to be married if that is somewhere else. You must have your banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. This is often done over three consecutive Sundays but does not have to be. You won’t need to arrange banns until about four months before your wedding date. Read more about it here
If there is not enough notice given for the banns to be read before the marriage is due to take place, or in the case of the marriage of people who are not nationals of a country within the EU, or if one or both of you does not live in England or Wales, it is recommended that the Licence procedure be used rather than banns. If this is the case, you may require a Special Licence, Common Licence or a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to marry in church. Our Vicar, Mthr Sandra will advise on which of these would be most appropriate for your wedding.
Guidelines for divorcees
There are special guidelines on marriage in the church if you are divorced. There may well be a way forward, but please speak with the Mthr Sandra about your situation to explore the possibilities for you. Read more about it here
At a wedding, the promises made between a bride and groom in Church are probably the biggest and deepest promises they will ever make. Marriage preparation sessions are with our Vicar Mthr Sandra, and allow an opportunity for both partiers to get to know each other; this really makes a big difference on the Day. Marriage preparation allows us to help you not only to plan your wedding service together but also gives you the time and space to think through the vows you will make during the service.
The Church recognises how seriously couples take the commitment of marriage and we want to support you all that we can. Marriage preparation sessions help you as you look beyond the Big Day to your married life together.