How to Plan a Church Wedding
Planning a church wedding? If you have just got engaged and are starting to plan your wedding, one of the first things to decide upon will be where you get married. For several decades, the proportion of marriages in religious ceremonies in England and Wales has decreased and the proportion of civil ceremonies has increased. By 2011, less than 30% of marriage ceremonies were religious. The Marriage Act in 1994 increased wedding diversity, allowing thousands of venues from Arsenal's Emirates Stadium to One Mayfair to give couples even more to choose from. The choice was no more between church and drab register office. And a licensed wedding venue can easily accommodate ceremony, reception and wedding breakfast, where a church cannot. But in the last few years, the proportion of church weddings has started to increase. In difficult times, no matter how devout the bride and groom, the big moments in life seem more significant when celebrated in church. You can also include your favourite hymns.
If you're considering planning a church wedding in a CofE church
You must follow certain guidelines, although it appears that some priests are stricter about these than others. Naturally, if you already go to a certain church regularly and want to get married there, you normally have the right to do so. If this does not apply, one of you must have some connection with the church - you should fulfil one of these:
If none of this applies to either of you, perhaps have a word with your parents – they should:
- have lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months, or
- have gone to services in the parish church for at least 6 months
If one of your grandparents was married in the church, you also qualify.
Time to Speak to the Vicar?
If you feel ready to speak to the vicar, read on!
- The Church of England offers some (rather wordy) advice: go to www.yourchurchwedding.org and read up!
- Attend a service before you even think of talking to the vicar or priest
- Speak to the vicar; try to tell them as much as possible, as they will be conducting the service
- Make a list of things important to a church ceremony – will you need an organist for hymns, bellringers, confetti?
- Ask the vicar or the church authorities whether videography and photography are allowed
- Decide whether you are going to invite the vicar to your reception!
- Think carefully about your journey from ceremony to reception venue – and your guests’ journeys too!
- Plan your hymns
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