Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13: 4-7)
Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God. In the marriage ceremony, a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love each other, come what may. Everyone lives in a parish and belongs to a parish church. That’s the church you should contact for more information about getting married.
For all you need to know about getting married in Church, please visit YourChurchWedding.org which gives lots of information on church weddings. For specific information on getting married in St Augustine’s, please contact us directly.
For information on Banns, please click here.
The Marriage Service
Beginning the service
Traditionally, the bride and groom enter the church separately – the groom first with the best man, and the bride at the time set for the start of the service, on the arm of her father or another relative or friend (it does not need to be a man). However, the bride may enter alone if she wishes, or the couple may enter together.
The minister will welcome the congregation. Your family and friends have an important role to play as witnesses and supporters of your marriage.
The minister will then read an introduction explaining what Christians believe about marriage. He or she will also ask, as the law requires, if anyone knows any reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.
You will be asked to promise before God, your friends and your families, that you will love, comfort, honour and protect your partner and be faithful to them as long as you both shall live. The minister will also ask the congregation to declare that they will support and uphold your marriage.
Turning to each other, the bride and groom take each other’s right hand and make vows: ‘to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part’.
The couple then exchange a ring or rings as a ‘sign of their marriage’ and a reminder of the vows: ‘With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’
The minister will then declare that you are now husband and wife. The minister does not ‘marry you’; you marry each other. The minister just directs you in this and then tells everyone that you have done it properly.
In the prayers God’s blessing and help is asked for you. There may be a prayer for the gift of children, but every couple will have their own feelings about this, so it’s best to discuss the details with your minister. You may wish to help choose the prayers or to write your own.
Readings and talk or sermon
It is usual to have one or more readings (one of which should be from the Bible) and the minister will generally give a talk or sermon.
Signing of the register
After you have exchanged your vows, the bride, groom and two witnesses must sign the register. This is a legal requirement and the minister will give you a copy of the marriage certificate.
Music is important to a wedding – especially for the entry of the bride and the exit of bride and groom together. It is important to choose hymns which the congregation are likely to recognise, particularly if you don’t have a choir! If you decide to get married at St Augustine’s, the organist is always happy to meet with you to discuss music choices.
There are set fees from the Church of England for weddings, as well as fees (such as organist, choir, flowers etc) set by each church. The Church of England fees can be found by clicking here. Please contact us for the fees set by the Parochial Church Council.
A wedding is one day – a marriage is a lifetime
You have probably already spent many hours planning your wedding. There are so many things to think about – the dress, the cake, whom to invite, the honeymoon. All of these are important, but the wedding is just one day, while marriage should last for the rest of your lives.
Alongside the wedding preparations it is also important to spend time as a couple talking through your expectations of marriage. However much you think you have in common, you are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears. The minister who is taking your service will probably want to spend some time with you talking through these issues.
We hope that you have a wonderful wedding day and that it will mark the beginning of a long and very happy marriage.