Can we get married in St Bartholomew's?
We enjoy celebrating weddings at St Bartholomew’s. But in the Church of England there are rules about who can get married where. It is not possible just to take a liking to a particular church and get married in it, unless you have a connection with it.
So the first step is to establish whether you are qualified to get married here. These are the rules, as updated by the Church of England Marriage Measure 2008.
Qualifying to marry
Rules about connection to parish
- You can get married in the parish church where you or your fiancé live. (See Our Parish to find out if your street is in St Bart’s parish). We shall need evidence of your address, in the form of a utility bill addressed to you.
- You can get married in the parish church whose electoral roll you are on, even if you do not live in that parish. To have your name entered on a church’s electoral roll, you need to attend that church on a regular basis for at least 6 months.
- You can get married in a parish church with which you have a Qualifying Connection.
A person has a Qualifying Connection with a parish if any of these conditions apply:
- they were baptized in the parish
- they were confirmed in the parish
- they had at any time their usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months
- they at any time habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months
- a parent of that person has at any time during that person’s life had their usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months, or habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months.
- a parent or grandparent of that person was married in the parish.
If you wish to seek marriage at St Bart’s though a Qualifying Connection, we shall need to see evidence of that.
Rules about previous marriages
Secondly, we need to know whether either of you has been married before. The Church’s teaching is that marriage is entered into with the intention that it be lifelong. But we recognise that marriages do sometimes break down. It is now possible, in certain circumstances, to have a church wedding if you have been divorced, but this is subject to our having discussed the subject of your first marriage and come to a satisfactory conclusion. Please do not assume that agreement to marry a second time is always forthcoming. We shall need to see your Decree Absolute.
Thirdly, we need to know what nationality you both are. If you are of British nationality, that marriage can take place after the traditional calling of banns. This is when your intention to marry is announced at the main Sunday service on three occasions, in this parish, and where you fiancé lives, if different. We need to see your passport as evidence of this.
If one or both of you is not a British citizen, you will need to obtain a Common Licence. This involves your swearing an affidavit before a priest specially commissioned for the purpose (a Bishop’s Surrogate). You swear that the facts you are alleging about yourself and your freedom to get married are true. This raises the level of evidence such that, if the information is subsequently shown to be untrue, you will have committed perjury. A Common Licence takes the place of calling banns, and is intended to ensure that your marriage is recognised internationally.
The minimum legal age for marriage is 18 (or 16 with written parental permission).
NB: whether it is advisable to get married at 18 is another matter!
If you believe you qualify to marry at St Bart's according to the above rules, please get in touch with us as described under "Preparatory meetings" below. We will need to consider these things as we organise your wedding:
Choosing a date
A marriage may take place legally on any day of the week, between 8.00 am and 6.00 pm. This does not mean you can get married any day you like; it is subject to our mutual agreement. Weddings do not take place at St Bart’s during Holy Week (from the Saturday one week before Easter up to and including the Saturday before Easter)
We do not rush into arranging marriages. The bishop has asked that no marriages should take place with less than three months’ notice. This is to allow plenty of time to go through the preliminaries mentioned above and to give appropriate preparation.
To start planning with us, either come to Office Hour at the church on Saturday mornings between 10 and 11 am, or ring 020 8778 5290 for an appointment.
At that first meeting we will talk through what is necessary in your case and agree a date for the wedding, if we are satisfied that it is the right thing to do.
About three months before the due date, we meet again, either to arrange the banns or the licence, as appropriate.
About the same time, you will be invited to a Marriage Preparation Session, usually on a Saturday morning, in the company of other couples also preparing for marriage.
Finally, we meet again for a rehearsal/final preparation in the week before the marriage.
The Church of England has decided the following fees, applicable from 1 January 2013:
|Calling of banns||£21.00 + £13 at the 'away' parish, if applicable|
|Parochial Church Council||£206.00|
At St Bartholomew’s the following fees are also payable:
# compulsory if anyone using a camcorder