Christianity is the world's largest religion and is also the dominant religion here in the UK. For those couples for whom the Christian faith is a big part of their lives, a Church wedding is an obvious and fitting choice.
A Christian Wedding
Christian wedding ceremonies have declined in popularity in recent years in favour of the more popular civil weddings, but many still view marriage within one of the many churches across the United Kingdom as both a more romantic and more appropriate way to begin married life. If truth be told, it is not where or how you marry, it is the spirit of love and commitment that counts, but the history and architecture of a traditional church is perceived by many to be one of the most romantic venues that a couple can tie the knot in.
Christian Wedding Laws
The Church of England, Church in Wales, Church of Scotland, Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox Churches and Free Churches (Baptist, Methodist and United Reform Churches) all have a strong presence within the country and the rules for Church weddings are broadly similar for all, albeit with slight differences.
Generally speaking, you have the right to marry in a parish church of the town in which you reside or that in which either the Bride or Groom are on the electoral roll (the Church of Scotland does not follow this rule). Recent changes in the Church of England have seen these rules relaxed somewhat, and a couple are now free to wed in any CofE church with which they have a 'qualifying connection' (for more advice on this, check out our Arranging an Anglican Wedding Ceremony guide).
A Christian wedding ceremony must take place between the hours of 8am and 6pm (again, the Church of Scotland differs on this, and allows marriages at any suitably agreed time) and needs to be solemnised in the manner as advised by the Church in question (typically this is the publication of the banns, but within the Roman Catholic Church for example a common license or Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate is needed instead).
Christian Wedding Ceremonies
Christian wedding services are quite similar in all of the churches, but do differ in certain ways. Typically they all involve hymns, prayers, readings, a sermon, an exchange of vows and exchange of rings and the signing of the register (a Catholic service may also involve mass and Holy Communion) and tend to last between 30 and 45 minutes (depending upon the number and length of the hymns, readings etc.).
You can expect a Christian wedding service to cost a few hundred pounds, although the inclusion of a choir, organist and campanologists (bell-ringers to you and me!) can take the cost up higher – plus you should also consider any floral or other decorations when determining the final cost.
For more advice on each of the main Christian wedding ceremonies here in the UK, including vows, orders of service, faq's and more, check out the following guides available on our site:
Anglican Church Weddings - covers both Church of England & Church in Wales
Baptist Church - coming soon
Catholic Church Weddings
Church of Scotland - coming soon
Greek Orthodox - coming soon
Methodist Church - coming soon
United Reform Church - coming soon
For those couples looking for advice and Christian wedding reading, hymn and music suggestions, a further series of articles can be found on Weddingsday.
For those of you wanting to find out more, we've a whole host of other wedding ceremony articles on our site packed full of expert information and helpful advice, not to mention our online wedding directory that's filled with loads of civil wedding venues, decorations, florists and more.