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Guide to Arranging a Anglican Church Wedding Ceremony

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Arranging an Anglican Church wedding ceremony, be it in the Church of England or Church in Wales, isn't as tricky you may think. This article takes a closer look at precisely what you'll need to do prior to the big day.


 

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Arranging an Anglican Church Wedding

 

 

The first step to arranging an Anglican Church wedding ceremony is to schedule an appointment with the Minister of the Church the wedding to take place in. At the subsequent meeting the Minister will discuss your current circumstances and suggest the most suitable method for arranging your Church wedding ceremony from the four available options; Publication of the Banns, Marriage by Common License, Marriage by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special License or Marriage by Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate without License.


Let's take a look at each of the four options in a little more detail.



 

1. Publication of Banns
This is the most common method used for arranging an Anglican Church wedding ceremony. Essentially, the ‘publication of the banns’ is a phrase which is used to indicate the announcement of your intended marriage on three consecutive Sunday’s prior to the wedding, giving members of the congregation the opportunity to register any unlawful reason as to why the marriage should not take place.

A few points to note...

 

Weddingsday The final reading of the banns will need to take place within three months of the due date for the wedding, and if for any reason the wedding is postponed to a date beyond these three months, they will need to be read again. 

Weddingsday If the couple live in different parishes, the banns will need to be read in both parish Churches. Likewise, if the couple are to wed in a Church outside of the parish(es) in which they live, the banns will need to be read in both the Church in which the Ceremony will take place and also the parish Church(es).

Weddingsday The couple will be expected to attend each reading of the banns. Where the banns are to be read in more than one Church, it is customary for the couple to attend each Church at least once to hear their banns read aloud.

Weddingsday Each Church that is not holding the wedding but has published the banns, will issue a certificate that needs to be passed to the Minister who will officiate the marriage.

Weddingsday A small fee is payable for the reading of the banns to each Church that does so.

 

 

 

2. Marriage by Common License

Getting married by Common License is a method that is intended for marriages between two foreign nationals or between a foreign national and a British citizen. It is also recommended for temporary parish residents.


The application is submitted via the Church Minister to the Bishop of the Diocese in which the Church wedding ceremony is to take place.

A few points to note...

Weddingsday Whilst recommended for temporary parish residents, at least one partner must have lived in the parish for at least 15 days prior to the application for the license.

Weddingsday To meet the residential requirements, the residency must be bona fide. If it discovered that you have simply left some clothes at a friends house or booked into a hotel for fifteen days so that you can apply to marry in a Church in that parish, there is a possibility that the license will not be issued or that the vicar will refuse to solemnise the marriage.

Weddingsday Outside of the intended purposes of the Common License (mentioned above), there must be a good reason for requesting one - one partner working abroad preventing the publication of the banns, or a valid slip-up in the reading of the banns are two such examples.

Weddingsday At least one partner must have been baptised for the couple to be married by Common License.

Weddingsday Common Licences are quicker to arrange than banns, but more expensive. Banns do not need to be read and once approved by the Diocesan Bishop, only one full day’s notice is needed before the ceremony can take place.

Weddingsday A Common License will expire three months after the date of issue.



3. Marriage by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special License

Marriage by the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special License is rare. It is applied for only in exceptional circumstances (such as a couple living overseas who had strong and close links with the Church in question) or emergencies (such as a severe illness that has hospitalised one partner) and is issued by the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Once granted, the license allows couples to wed at any time and in any place with no need for any residency requirement.

A few points to note...

Weddingsday The Minister at the Church in question needs to support the license application and be prepared to solemnise the marriage.

Weddingsday At least one partner must have been baptised for the couple to be married by Special License.

Weddingsday A request for a Special License will be rejected if neither partner can demonstrate a long standing relationship with the Church in question.

Weddingsday A Special License will expire three months after the date of issue.



4. Marriage by Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate without License
Marriage by this method is also rare. Such certificates allow couples to marry in a Church of England/Church in Wales church without the need for the resident Minister’s permission and for the Church wedding ceremony to be conducted by someone who is not an ordained member of the Church (such as a friend or colleague who is a member of another Church, possibly even one overseas).

A few points to note...

Weddingsday The Church where the marriage is to take place must be located in the same district as the Register Office that issues the certificate.

Weddingsday There are certain residency requirements, and at least one partner must have lived in the parish for seven days prior to notice being given.

Weddingsday If approved, the certificate of authority will be granted three full weeks (21 days) after notice has been given.

Weddingsday The marriage must take place within 12 months of the approval being granted.



If you do have any questions on what you have just read, don't be afraid to ask your local Church Minister. They will be more than used to fielding such questions and will be more than happy to help


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Recommended Reading

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 wedding venues, florists, decor suppliers and more.

 
For friendly tips and helpful advice, take a look at our wedding ceremonies forum and ceremonial Q&A's or check out the rings for sale and the 'links to pages & websites you may like' below.

 

 


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