Wedding Guide - Legal Requirements

Connection

You can marry in a Church of England parish church if you can demonstrate any one of the following legal qualifying connections.

That one of you:

  • has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • was baptized (christened) in the parish concerned or
  • was prepared for confirmation in the parish 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

If you have no qualifying connection with our churches at the time you book your wedding you will be required to create one. You do this simply by attending Sunday worship in the church where you wish to be married at least once a month for a period of at least six consecutive months before your banns are read. In practice this means you need to have started attending about 8 months before your wedding day at the latest.

You should attend services in the church where you wish to married. Please remember to sign the wedding couples’ book when you come to church. It is important that you take this commitment seriously, because we are not able to marry you if you do not have a legal qualifying connection with our churches.

Freedom to marry

You must demonstrate that you are both legally free to marry each other. We will discuss the best option for you at your first meeting with the vicar. The possibilities are:

Banns

Most couples will marry after banns have been published on three occasions within the three months before the wedding. By law, banns must be published in the Church of England parish(es) where you live as well in the parish where you will marry. It is your responsibility to contact your local vicar(s) to arrange for your banns to be read where you live. When the banns have been read, your local vicar(s) will issue Banns Certificate(s) which should be sent to us at least two weeks before your wedding day. Please note that we cannot marry you without the appropriate Banns Certificates.

Couples wishing to marry by banns need to prove that they are citizens of a country in the European Economic Area. The most straightforward way to do this is by means of a passport.

Common Licence

A Common Licence may be recommended if:

  • One or both of you are British but live abroad.
  • One or both of you live in the UK but your home is not in England or Wales.
  • Your home address is likely to change during the time when banns would normally be read out.
  • Your wedding date is too soon to allow time for banns to be read.
Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate

If one or both of you are nationals from a country outside the European Economic Area, you will each need to obtain a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to enable you to marry. The vicar will advise you on the process.

Divorce

We recognise that some marriages do fail for all sorts of sad and painful reasons and in certain circumstances the Church of England accepts that a divorced person may marry again in church. We welcome applications from couples where one or both parties has been divorced and in such cases we follow the Bishop’s guidelines for re-marriage after divorce.  We need to have sight of your Decree Absolute before the wedding can take place.

 

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