St Mary's is a beautiful location for a wedding. We have a gloriously situated church building, and we are delighted that couples wish to marry in our church. It’s important, of course, to plan the wedding day. But it’s also important to help couples ask some bigger questions, like: What’s marriage about? How will this change life for us? Where is God in this?
The marriage service says that marriage “is a gift of God… and a means of His grace”. At a wedding we’re celebrating, first and foremost, the love of a couple for each other and their desire to spend the rest of their lives together. But we’re also celebrating God’s love for people and for his world, and we’re saying that strong relationships and family life make society and the world a better place for us all to live in. St Mary's believes that marriage is important and aims to encourage and support it through a programme of marriage preparation and support for existing marriages.
The rules about marriage in a Church of England church (which are established by the government not the Church) are specific, and we can tell you more when you enquire. Recent changes to the law mean that it is now much easier for couples to choose to marry at St. Mary's. Previously, a couple had the right to marry in the parish church of a parish where one or both of them were resident or one or both of them have their names on the church electoral roll. The new law, provides for a couple to have the same right to marry in the parish church of a parish where one or both of them can show that he or she has a “qualifying connection”
The new 'rules' are shown below but If you’re thinking about getting married at St. Mary's, please contact the parish office first of all. You may also find the Your Church Wedding website helpful to visit.
The “qualifying connections” under the new laws are as follows:The person wishing to be married:
- was baptised in the parish; or
- has been confirmed and the confirmation has been entered in a church register book belonging to the parish; or
- has at any time had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or
- has at any time habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months;
or that person’s parent has at any time during the person’s lifetime:
- had his or her 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;
or that person’s parent or grandparent was married in the parish.