Your questions answered -
Where can I get married?
Many people like to marry in their local church. (You can visit www.achurchnearyou.com to find yours). We are always very happy to talk to couples who would like to get married here in the Parish of Jarrow, so do get in touch with us if that applies to you.
You can also marry in another church if you are on that church's electoral roll, or if certain other conditions apply - we know that you might be hoping to marry in a different church to the parish where you actually live, perhaps because it has special significance for you through family or other special connections. An engaged couple can now do just that if either of you can show just one of the following seven connections with the parish.
That one of you:
• was baptised in the parish concerned, or
• was prepared for confirmation in the parish, or
• has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months, or
• has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months
Or, that one of your parents, at any time after you were born:
• has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
• has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months
Or, that one of your parents or grandparents:
• was married in the parish
In all cases involving church services - i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage - this applies only to Church of England services. Even if you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, we want to help you explore whether it may still be possible for you to marry in your special church.
Talk to us well in advance to discuss the options open to you.
I’m not baptised. I don’t go to church. Can I still get married in church?
Yes! . Normally we'd like to get to know you a bit and might ask you to some preparation meetings or church services before you get married.
How do I book the church?
Booking is easy. Simply get in touch with the Parish Office - see the links on the left hand menu bar for details. There's even an application form you can download. We'll be able to book a time and date for you. Nearer the time, the priest who'll take your wedding will want to meet with you in person to discuss your plans and get to know you a little before the big day.
What if I want to be married in a different church?
If you are a regular worshipper in that church, it is usually possible to be married there. Just speak to your clergy.
If you are not a regular worshipper why not start attending? You will normally be expected to attend services for some time before becoming eligible to be married there.
If you have a good reason for wanting to marry in another church that is not acovered by the connections above, talk to the clergy of that church. You can apply for a Special Licence if they agree. To apply or find out more contact The Faculty Office, 1 The Sanctuary, Westminster, London SW1P 3JT tel: 020 7222 5381
We’ve decided to get married abroad but we would like a church blessing. Is that possible?
There is no reason why you shouldn’t do this, so get in touch and we'll discuss it with you. There is a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony and this can be adapted. There are no legal requirements or set fees (though a donation is always welcome!).
I’m divorced. Can I still get married in church?
The Church of England agreed in 2002 that divorced people could remarry in church under certain circumstances. We believe that marriage is for life, but also recognise that sadly, some marriages do fail.
Speak to the clergy about your situation and there may well be a way forward. We'll need to talk to you frankly about your past and your hopes for the future and there's a form that the bishop needs us to fill in - but after talking to you we'll be able to let you know whether we can remarry you. Even if it is not possible to do your wedding, we'll be happy to discuss a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony.
A helpful resource, "Marriage in Church after Divorce", is available on the Church of England web site. ( www.cofe.anglican.org )
I’m Church of England and he’s a Roman Catholic. Does that matter?
It doesn’t matter from the Church of England’s perspective. Anyone is welcome to be married in their local CofE parish church. (A complication would only arise if one of you has been married before.)
If one of you is a Roman Catholic and you want the Roman Catholic Church to recognise your marriage, you will need to seek the advice of your Roman Catholic priest about the permission required for marrying a non-Roman Catholic. Some clergy encourage couples in this situation to involve the Roman Catholic priest in the marriage service too. See www.interchurchfamilies.org.uk for more information.
What is marriage preparation and why do we need it?
You will never make such big promises to each other as you will in church on your wedding day. A church wedding uniquely offers time and space to think through these vows and the difference they will make.
You are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears. Churches recognise how seriously you take the commitment of marriage and offer an opportunity to talk through the big issues, sometimes as a group with other couples. Talk to us about the marriage preparation we can offer.
What are the legal requirements?
Unless you are getting married by Common or Special licence, the normal way is to have your banns read out in church on three Sundays during the three months before your wedding. You would be most welcome to join the church community for the service and to hear them read. The banns must be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as the church in which you are to be married if that is in another parish.
If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents’ consent to marry.
There are circumstances where some form of licence, such as a common licence or special licence, is more appropriate. The Team Rector will be happy to discuss with you what you need to do - contact him through the Parish Office.
There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced (See question above).
How much will it cost?
There is no doubt that the choices you make about your wedding day can make a huge impact on the cost. If you choose to marry in church, we want it to be a day that is personal and special for you, but that need not mean you spend a fortune.
The fees for marrying in church are modest compared to other costs you might incur (reception, dress, photographer, etc). The fees are partly set by the Church of England nationally, and partly by the Parish
Can we be involved in planning the service?
Absolutely, yes! The clergy will be happy to discuss the service with you, including the readings, prayers, etc. If you're having music, the organist will want to help you choose hymns and other music.
Should we have one or two rings?
It is entirely up to you whether you have one ring or two. A wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of the commitment you are making to each other.
Can I marry in any other colour than white?
Yes - any colour you want, really!
Do you have rehearsals?
Most people are glad of the opportunity to run through the ceremony and church is the only wedding venue where you can do this as standard practice.
The priest taking your service will invite you to meet in the church along with other people taking part in the service before the wedding, to talk to you all about what to expect. He or she will discuss this with you when you meet them in the months before your wedding day.
What about flowers in church?
We can do these for you at a reasonable charge. You can also do your own or engage your own florist - but do let us know! As there may be more than one wedding on a particular day, it's important that we keep the flowers to colours that won't clash with anyone's bridesmaids' dresses, etc.
May we marry on a Sunday?
Yes. Just talk to the Parish Office to make sure the day is free and that your wedding won’t clash with any normal services (there are fewer wedding 'slots' available on a Sunday due to regular services).
What happens if one of us lives abroad?
Marriage by Common Licence can take place on the basis of one of the couple living in the parish or regularly going to the church’s normal services without any action being necessary where the other party lives. The Team Rector can advise you about how to apply for a Common Licence.
What happens if one of us is a foreign national?
The Church of England has a responsibility to conduct marriages which will be recognised in the country the bride or groom comes from. This is done for the couple’s benefit not just for bureaucracy. If one of you is a foreign national the Diocesan bishop asks that your wedding should be conducted after obtaining a Common Licence rather than after banns. Again, the Team Rector can help you with the procedures.