A marriage service, wherever it is held, is a public declaration of your love and commitment for each other.

If you choose to get married in church, there is an added dimension – you are also declaring your love and commitment to God and inviting Him to bless your marriage & be part of your relationship. Including God in your marriage doesn’t mean that you will avoid all the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that His love will sustain you. You will also have the support and encouragement of the Christian Church family.

What do Christians believe about marriage?

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.

The Bible compares married love with the love Jesus has for his followers. He expressed his love by being prepared to sacrifice himself, even to die for the people he loved. This is amazing, unconditional love. Jesus never said “I love you, but..” In our marriages we can try to follow his example by loving our partners in this self-sacrificial way and put their needs before our own. No one says it’s going to be easy!

The marriage ceremony gives you a new legal status as husband and wife and a new stability within which your relationship can flourish and grow. Christians believe that marriage offers the right place for the fulfillment of our sexuality and that it provides a stable and secure environment for bringing up children.

Largely taken from The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, 2004


You must have your banns read out in church during the 3 months before the wedding. This is usually done over 3 consecutive Sundays. Banns are an announcement of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.

Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives, as well as at the church in which you are to be married if that is another parish. You will need to collect a Banns Certificate from them before your wedding day.

When your banns are announced this is what will be said:

“I publish the banns of marriage between John Smith, bachelor of the parish of St Martin’s, Low Marple, and on the electoral role of this parish, and Jane Brown, spinster of this parish. This is for the first time of asking. If any of you know any reason in law why these persons may not marry each other you are to declare it.”

To date no one has!


If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents’ consent to marry.

If one of you is divorced

The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognises that, sadly, some marriages do fail and, if this should happen, it seeks to be available for all involved. The Church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church during the lifetime of a former spouse.

You will need to discuss your personal situation with us. We will want to talk to you frankly about the past, your hopes for the future and your understanding of marriage.

If it is not possible for your wedding to take place in church, we will consider other alternatives with you, such as a Service of Blessing after a civil ceremony.

For the Church of England Wedding site click here

Those wanting access to further material on this matter can read the Bishop of Winchester’s speech to Synod on 9 July 2002 available at www.win.diocese.org.uk. Various other material can be ordered from

Signing of the Register

After you have exchanged your vows, the bride, groom and two witnesses (usually the bestman & chief bridesmaid) must sign the register. Tis is a legal requirement and we will give you a copy of the marriage certificate.