Christianity and Marriage
A wedding ceremony marks only the beginning of a marriage and is a public witness before God to the love that two people have for each other. Getting married in church makes certain themes clearer: the concept of a covenant between the couple reflects the relationship between God and the world; the idea of the ‘sacrament of marriage’ reflects the miracle of what God is doing in human lives as the couple make promises to each other.
Marriage after Divorce
At St Mary’s we understand that some marriages fail and we try to help people rebuild their lives in new relationships. If you have been divorced and would like to discuss the possibility of being married a second time in church please do not hesitate to speak to one of the clergy. You will need to do this before we can confirm the booking your wedding service.
Civil Partnerships & Same-Sex Marriage
The law around civil partnerships is still fairly new and it is not legally possible to marry same-sex couples in church, much as the Vicar might wish to be able to. At St Mary’s we try to do all we can to help people celebrate their relationship together including special services of prayer and dedication after a Civil Marriage.
Office Hour: For all Enquiries
One of the clergy is available in Church each month for the arranging of baptisms. Forthcoming dates are:
21st January 2019
11th February 2019
18th March 2019
15th April 2019
between 6.30 pm and 7.30pm for any further enquiries and initial contact. Please telephone the Parish Office (020 7228 9648) for more details.
Everyone resident within the parish boundaries has a right to be married by banns at St Mary’s so long as there is no legal impediment. You do not need to have been baptised. It is also possible to be married at St Mary’s if you can show that you have a historical connection with the Church (e.g. you used to live in the parish, your parents or grandparents were married here; or you were baptised at St Mary’s.
Church Members are also able to be married at St Mary’s. Becoming a member means worshipping here regularly (at least twice a month for 6 months) and applying to go on the Church Electoral Roll (which isn’t the same thing as the local government electoral register). You have to be baptised.
The Church of England
Marriage in the Church of England can be authorised in a number of ways.
I. Banns are the easiest and most commonly used method. They involve notice of your forthcoming wedding being read out in both the bride and the groom’s parish churches on three Sundays in the period three months before the wedding. If you both live in the same parish that is all that you need to do but if one of you lives in another parish banns will have to be called there too. It is customary for couples to attend the calling of their banns. These will take place during the main act of worship on Sundays. Attendance will help you feel more comfortable with the church surroundings and this will have obvious benefits in terms of your nervousness on the big day.
II. Licences are a quicker method than banns but more expensive. A common licence is usual where one or both people are foreign nationals, and a Special licence allows people to be married without the usual requirement of living in the parish or belonging to the Electoral Roll.
III. Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate. This is becoming a more common way of getting married for those where Banns or Licences are for some reason difficult. We now encourage many foreign nationals (especially Non-EU or non-Commonwealth Citizens) to use this route.
Full details on each of these ways of getting married can be obtained at Office Hour.
Read more about Marriage in the Church of England here
The text of the 1928 (old language) wedding ceremony here
The text of the modern language (Common Worship 2000) wedding ceremony here
The text of the 1662 (very old language) wedding ceremony here