Marriage & Blessings
Marriage is a significant step in a relationship and your wedding day should be one of the most important and memorable of your life. Marriage is a sacrament of the Church -a visible sign of God’s love for us in which he bestows upon us his life giving grace. Through Marriage, God spiritually joins two individuals by means of their solemn vows, their shared love and His blessing, so that they may help the other to fulfil themselves and offer mutual support in good times and bad. Within the security they find in this union, their love may expound into their family, the surrounding community and wider society, enriching it through their generosity, sharing and Christian service. This is why marriage is so often referred to as the foundation of family life and the bedrock of society.
Getting married in the Box River Benefice
Our churches have many weddings every year. We are fortunate enough to be able to combine the most stunning holy and ancient venues with a deep and engaging ceremony and spiritual experience (and even a little light hearted humour along the way). A church wedding is always so much more than any alternative. A church wedding combines worship, ceremony, prayer and God’s blessing with civil and legal registration. In so doing, it implants all present into the long-standing Christian tradition of marriage, the traditions that have been the bedrock to British and European society for almost as long. We do all we can to make the occasion as enjoyable and meaningful as possible. We warmly welcome anyone who wishes to get married at our churches and we will work with you to ensure that your wedding is a happy occasion and a day to be treasured.
We also offer the opportunity to have your marriage blessed in a special service of blessing, if you were married in a civil ceremony or to have your marriage blessed and renew your wedding vows either after many years of marriage or following a particularly difficult period in your marriage which you and your partner have now thankfully overcome and you wish to acknowledge.
Wedding Blessings (Dedication and Affirmation after a Civil Marriage)
Sometimes couples get married elsewhere, but wish to have their relationship recognised by God in a Parish Church and for it to be enfolded by his grace, through prayer and affirmation. This is called ‘Dedication and Affirmation after a Civil Marriage’ or sometimes commonly referred to as a ‘Wedding Blessing’.
We warmly welcome all enquires regarding such ceremonies. Whatever your situation, it would be our privilege to explore the possibility of conducting a dedication and affirmation ceremony with you and your partner. We believe that God wishes to enfold every committed relationship in his loving care and protection. Such a ceremony in Church enables your union to be enfolded by God’s grace, which is important for the long-term health and commitment of every relationship.
All we ask is that you attend church in the lead up to your ceremony and afterwards, so that you stay in touch with the blessings God bestows.
If you would like to check eligibility, please see the section below.
Planning Your Wedding or Blessing
The Parish Priest (Vicar), the churches’ Wedding Administrator and our Organist will help you to plan your wedding service, and we will offer advice drawn from our experience to help ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible on the day.
A wealth of information can be found at: http://www.yourchurchwedding.org this can provide some helpful material when we look to tailor your wedding to your needs in a way that fits the ambience of our beautiful churches and the requirements of a Christian ceremony.
PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU BOOK THE CHURCH BEFORE MAKING ANY OTHER ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUR WEDDING TO ENSURE THAT THE DATE IS AVAILABLE. Due to popularity and conflicting demands, we regret that availability of the church and the Vicar cannot be guaranteed until you have secured your booking.
Next Steps and Fees
If you are interested in getting married at one of our churches, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, who will respond to your email as quickly as possible.
As a Church of England Church, we are required by law to charge statutory fees. There are also additional charges for a verger (who sets up the church and works behind the scenes during the service), an organist, bell ringers, the choir and heating (if required). There will also be an additional charge if you wish to make a professional video recording of the ceremony due to copyright law and performance rights.
In order to secure your wedding booking both partners will need to provide two forms of identification in person (either a Birth Certificate, Passport, Full Driving License, Utility bill; one of which should include a photo and one should confirm your address).
By law, you can marry at St Mary Magdalene or St Mary the Virgin if you can show that at least one of you:
1. has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months
2. was baptised in the parish;
3. was prepared for confirmation in the parish;
4. Are on the electoral role of the parish; or
5. has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months.
Alternatively you can also marry in our church if:
1. 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
2. if one of your parents or grandparents were married in the parish
1. If you are both UK citizens and are eligible for marriage in one of our churches, it is a legal requirement for your marriage banns to be called in the parish church. If one or both of you are resident in a separate parish, your banns will need to be called in that parish as well.
2. If you are under 18 years old you will need your parents’ written consent to be married and by law you cannot be married until you are 16.
3. A wedding can take place on any day of the week (subject to availability and agreement with the Vicar), but must take place between 8.00am and 6.00pm.
4. If one or both of the people marrying is a foreign national or if your marriage is to take place too soon for Banns to be read, then you will need to apply for a licence. The Vicar will advise you which licence is necessary. You will normally need to contact the Church to arrange your wedding at least 6 months before the date you hope to secure for your wedding. PLEASE ENSURE THAT YOU BOOK THE CHURCH BEFORE MAKING ANY OTHER ARRANGEMENTS FOR YOUR WEDDING.
5. The following relatives are not allowed to marry by law. If they do, the marriage will be automatically void even if they do not know they are related: a child (including an adopted child); a parent (including an adopted parent); a brother, sister, half-brother or half-sister; a grandparent; a grandchild; a brother’s, sister’s, half-brother’s or half-sister’s child.
6. If you are previously divorced then you will need to be prepared to speak honestly to the Vicar regarding the breakdown of your previous marriage. In order to book a wedding, you will also need to provide evidence of the legal dissolvement of your previous marriage, in the form of a Decree Absolute (the law does not allow any other documentation to be used).
If you are to be married in one of our churches, or if you are to be married at another Church of England church, and one or both of you are resident in our parishes, it is a legal requirement for your Banns of Marriage to be called. Banns will be called over three Sundays within three months of your wedding (these do not have to be consecutive, although they usually are). This will take place during the main morning service.
For your banns to be read, please follow the following steps:
1. To check if you live in the parish go to: http://www.achurchnearyou.com and type your postcode into the search engine.
2. If you live within the parish contact email@example.com to complete the form no later than three months before your marriage date.
4. The parishes’ Wedding Administrator will contact you with dates for the three Sundays on which your banns will be called. We ask you to attend the service to hear them read.
5. After the third reading of the banns, you will be contacted to arrange a time to collect and pay for a banns certificate. For the latest fees, please see the latest Parish fees table.
6. The certificate should be given to the clergyperson conducting your wedding before your wedding date.
May God’s blessing be upon you both as you begin planning your special day.
We hope to see you very soon!