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                                                            The                                                           Waterside                                                           Benefice -                                                      Weddings

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Church Weddings

We are delighted you are thinking of celebrating your marriage in one of our churches. We will do everything we can to make your day happy and memorable.

Just starting to plan? Click on our Contact Us Form and fill in as many details as you can. We know there will be much more to sort out and our Priest in Charge will be in touch as quickly as possible. She will arrange to meet you and there are forms of ID  you will need to have ready, such as Photo ID (passport or driving license) and evidence of Decree Absolute if marriage dissolved.   

The costs for a wedding are set out on this page. 

Which parish can we get married in?

You may get married in any parish provided it is:

The parish in which one or both of you reside. This means that when you give notice to the minister that you want to get married, you are actually living in the parish and that you occupy somewhere in the parish as a home. In other words, it’s the parish where you live permanently.

The parish in which one or both of you are on the church electoral roll. This is the Church of England electoral roll.

The parish in which one or both of you has a qualifying connection. You have a qualifying connection with a parish if:

*You were baptised in the parish by a Church of England service or form of baptism

* You have been confirmed by a Church of England service and your confirmation is entered in a register belonging to a church or chapel in the parish

* Your parent or grandparent was married in the parish by a Church of England service

* You have had your usual place of residence in the parish for at least six months

* Your parent has had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least six months during your lifetime

* You have habitually attended public worship at a Church of England service in the parish for at least six months

* Your parent has habitually attended public worship at a Church of England service in the parish for at least six months during your lifetime

*The Bishop has given a direction concerning marriages in the benefice. Often a parish is part of a group of parishes called a benefice. Sometimes the Bishop has given a direction that a couple who have a legal right to marry in one of the parishes in the benefice can marry in any of the other parishes in the benefice. The minister of the parish will be able to tell you if the Bishop has made a direction.

If you are not sure if you have a qualifying connection, discuss it with the minister you hope will be able to marry you.

How do we get married by banns?

Calling banns means that your names, your status (whether you are a single person, divorced or widowed) and the parish in which you reside are read out during the main service in the church on a Sunday.

Banns are published on three Sundays preceding the marriage, although not necessarily three successive Sundays, at a morning service or an evening service if there is no morning service.

Once you have decided which parish and which building you can marry in and you have spoken to the minister, you can ask the minister to publish your banns of marriage. He or she will provide you with a form to complete with your details or will arrange to meet you to obtain the information. If you have a qualifying connection with the parish, you complete a different form. If you are using this form you must also supply the evidence which supports your qualifying connection. The minister will also ask you both for documentary proof of nationality. The necessary documents are a valid passport or one or more of the documents set out at paragraph 2.8 in Guide book for the Clergy. Click on www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-the-clergy. If either of you is not a citizen of the UK, Switzerland or any country in the European Economic Area (and there is a list of EEA countries at 2.6 of the Guide), you can only marry after obtaining a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (see below).

What happens if the banns cannot be called?

This might happen if:

* There is no parish in England or Wales in which banns can be called. Perhaps you or your intended lives abroad or is not permanently resident in this country. In those circumstances there is no parish in which you or your intended resides in which banns can be called

* There is not sufficient time for the banns to be called on three Sundays

* You do not want your banns to be published

* One of you is not a citizen of the UK, Switzerland or any country in the European Economic Area. If any of these apply to you, you can obtain a common licence, a superintendent registrar’s certificate or a special licence but in the case of the last bullet point, the marriage can only be after you have obtained a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (see below)

How do I obtain a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate?

For this you will have to make a declaration that you have had your usual place of residence within the parish in which you intend to marry for a period of 7 days immediately before making your declaration.

This means you or your intended has actually lived there throughout the period either in your own home, that of a friend, a hotel, a B&B or elsewhere.

This process is dealt with by the Superintendent of Births Deaths and Marriages. Both you and your intended will have to make the declaration. You should contact your local superintendent registrar by telephone to make the appointment and agree the information that you will need to provide and the fee you will have to pay.

After you have both made a declaration, the superintendent registrar will put up a notice on his board for 28 days, after which you can apply for your certificate. You must give it to the minister who will conduct the service. The certificate is effective for 12 months.

If you are applying for a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate because one of you is not a citizen of the UK, Switzerland or any country in the European Economic Area you must both attend at a Designated Register Office. The notice period may be extended to 70 days. For more information, see paragraph 2.10 – 2.12 in Guidebook for the clergy which can be found here www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-the-clergy. In this case it is possible to obtain a certificate if one of you has a qualifying connection (see which parish can we get married?)

How do I obtain a special licence?

This is obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury

He is able to grant a licence for a marriage in any place and at any time, although in practice the licence will only authorise a marriage in a Church of England church or chapel.

You should contact the Archbishop’s Faculty Office at 1 The Sanctuary Westminster London SW1P 3JT telephone 0207 222 5381. 

What happens if one of us has been divorced?

It is possible for you to marry in church if you or your partner has been married before.

When one or both of you have been divorced, you can be married by banns or licence but it is at the discretion of each individual minister. The best place to start is to contact us by completing the contact form.  Our vicar will then get in touch to arrange a chat. He or she is likely to want to know about your previous marriage and its breakdown. The minister will also need to see the original Decree Absolute documents early on in any discussions.

A minister is not obliged to officiate at the wedding or allow the church or chapel to be used for the marriage. There will be a discussion with the Bishop before a decision is made on whether to officiate at the wedding or not.

If your local minister chooses not to take the marriage, you are welcome to approach other parishes where you have qualifying links.

For further clarification on Church of England marriage preliminaries, please contact either your local vicar or the Diocesan Registrar at the Truro Diocesan Registry, Malpas Road, Truro TR1 1QH. Telephone 01872-260744.

Alternative to Ecclesiastical Preliminaries - Notice of Marriage

If for any reason the vicar is unable to call your banns or issue a common licence, but agrees to allow your marriage to be conducted in the church, it will be necessary for you to follow the procedure for civil marriages called 'notice of marriage'. Notice of marriage must be given personally to the superintendent registrar at your local register office in lieu of banns. The vicar will advise you if your legal preliminaries need to be carried out by the local superintendent registrar. If this is the case it is helpful to get a letter from the vicar confirming that banns are not being read but there is agreement for you to marry in the church. Notice of marriage takes the place of banns and there cannot be publication of banns for one party and a notice of marriage for the other party.

Notice of marriage is the completion of official forms before the superintendent registrar in whose district you have the required residential qualification. Normally, the vicar will require that you do not give more than three months' notice from the date of your wedding. Sometimes the vicar will extend this to twelve months prior to the marriage, but you must check this before you see the superintendent registrar.

Giving Notice of Marriage to the Superintendent Registrar

For a marriage to take place in a Church of the Church of England on the authority of the local superintendent registrar, one of you must have a seven-day residential qualification in the parish or ecclesiastical district in which the church (where the marriage is to take place) is situated. The church must also be in the registration district of the superintendent registrar to whom notice is given. However, you may also marry in a church even if you do not live in the parish providing it is the usual place of worship of either both or one of you and that you are on the electoral roll.

It is a legal requirement that a notice of marriage is given separately by each person to be married. The notices must be given personally to the superintendent registrar of the district where you usually reside. If you live in a different district to the person that you are marrying, you must give notice at the Register Office in each district.

Once the notices are given, 28 clear days must elapse before the superintendent can issue the authorities for the marriage.

From 2 March 2015 the waiting period for a Notice of Marriage has been extended to 28 clear days for all couples.

The marriage may not be solemnised without the consent of the clergyman of the church in which the marriage is to take place or by any person other than a clergyman of the Church of England or Church of Wales.

The superintendent registrar of the district where you give notice will be able to tell you of the fees payable and advise of the documents you will need to produce, such as evidence of your name, age, marital status and nationality.

For further guidance or to contact the Superintendent Registrar, please telephone the Registration Information Service on 0300 1234 181.

Costs for Weddings

Compulsory costs  for Church of England weddings.

There is a required legal fee for marrying in a church. In 2021 it costs £541 if you marry away from where you live and £495 if you marry in your home parish. This is set by the Church of England nationally and is the same for every church.

This basic legal fee includes the cost of the vicar, the church, calling your banns, a banns certificate, the marriage certificate, lighting and all administration.

This required fee has ancient origins and ensures your church can maintain essential services like weddings, christenings, funerals and all kinds of other ministries for you and your community.

Optional extras:

The statutory wedding fee doesn’t include extras you may choose or decline, such as:-

Verger: This is normally the Churchwardens, whose job it is took after their church. They ensure it is clean, warm and tidy for your wedding. The welfare of people who use the church is also part of their role, as well as ensuring correct procedure and protocol for all events.  They will also assist with disability access if needed by your guests and guide people to find their seats, toilets or crèche if there is one. More about the overall ole of Churchwardens may be found by clicking on Churchwardens.

Additional heating in the church. We'll let you know if this applies to your wedding.

Organ: It is normal in the Church of England for the organist to be paid as part of the wedding. That applies even if you decide to use your own organist. Please discuss your musical requirements when our Priest in Charge visits you to discuss your wedding. You may be given contact details for the  organist for the church of your choice and it is important to discuss these details with the organist. Bear in mind that if your wedding is filmed, musicians like the organist can request an increase in their fee to take into account professional performing rights.  Check with the church what the local arrangements are.

Choir and bell ringers are optional extras. Please let our Priest in Charge know what you want when she visits you. The provision of bells is different in each of our three churches, so you should make sure you are specific about what you want. 

Flowers: Our churches have teams who look after flower arrangements for us. It is important that you tell the Priest in Charge what you'd like to do about flowers for the wedding when she visits you. She will give you the contact name and number for the person i/c flowers in the church of your choice, and you will need to make contact, even if you decide to make your own arrangements. Our flower people can often put you in touch with recommended florists. 

You do not have to have any of these extras, but many couples are keen to have at least some. If you choose them, they will cost extra. 

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