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Guide to a Anglican Church Wedding Order of Service

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In order to arrange an Anglican Church wedding service, you will need to set up a meeting with your local Church Minister. At this meeting, the intricacies of your Church wedding service will be discussed and a choice of three wedding ceremonies will be offered to you; The 1662 Solemnisation of Matrimony, The 1966 Solemnisation of Matrimony and The 2001 Marriage Service.

The three options are broadly similar, although there are some differences. This article summarises how a typical Anglican Wedding Ceremony will run and, for those keen readers, also provides access to the full transcripts of each of the three Church wedding services.


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Anglican Church Order of Service



The Entrance of the Bride
The Church wedding service begins with the entrance of the Bride. The Bride enters the Church and makes her way down the aisle escorted by the person ‘giving her away’ (often her father) and preceded by her Bridesmaids.

The Introduction
Once the Bride arrives at the front of the Church, the Church wedding service begins in earnest with the Minister welcoming the whole of the congregation.

Optional Hymn/Reading/Sermon
Depending upon the preference of the couple and the approval of the Minister, a hymn may be sung at this point or one or more readings may be spoken. A psalm or sermon may also be included if requested.

The Marriage
The Bride and Groom stand before the Minister who will then introduce them and explain what marriage, and marriage in the Anglican Church, is all about.

The Declarations
The Minister asks the congregation if anyone present knows of a reason why the Bride and Groom may not lawfully marry and to declare it now. Assuming the Minister gets the all clear, the couple then make their promises that they will love, comfort, honour and protect their partner as long as they both shall live. Their families are then asked to make their promise that they will support and uphold them in their marriage and in years to come.



The Collect
The Minister asks the congregation to pray. Silence is kept and the Minister says the Collect asking God to bless the couple. The Collect is followed by at least one reading from the Bible and the sermon.

Optional Holy Communion
If the Church wedding service is to be combined with Holy Communion, this will occur here, or following the prayer for child-bearing if applicable (see 'Prayers' below).

Optional Hymn
Depending upon the preference of the couple and the approval of the Minister, it is possible to arrange for a hymn to be sung at this point.

The Vows
The Minister introduces the vows and the couple hold hands and make their pledges to one another. The wordings are determined by the Church wedding service the couple have opted for, and for the words themselves, check out our wedding vows article.

The Giving of the Rings
The Minister will receive rings from the Best Man, say a short prayer then the rings are exchanged accompanied by some words from the Bride and Groom.

The Proclamation
The congregation rises and the Minister proclaims to all that the couple are now joined in holy matrimony as husband and wife. The husband and wife then kneel together for the blessing.

Optional Hymn/Reading/Sermon
Depending upon the preference of the couple and the approval of the Minister, a hymn may be sung at this point or one or more readings may be spoken. A psalm or sermon may also be included if requested.

The husband and wife kneel before the holy table and prayers are said for the couple. The prayers may include an optional prayer for the gift of children and will conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

Optional Hymn
Depending upon the preference of the couple and the approval of the Minister, a final hymn may be sung at this point in the Church wedding service.

The Dismissal
The Minister will say a short prayer that speaks about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit being with the couple always.

The Signing of the Register
The Signing of the Register sometimes happens earlier in the Ceremony (after the Proclamation) but more commonly it occurs here. Music is played to the congregation as the Bride and Groom plus their two chosen witnesses sign the register and are issued with a legally binding marriage certificate.

The Recession
The Bride and Groom leave the Church as husband and wife accompanied by a celebratory piece of music. They are followed by the wedding party and finally the other wedding guests.

For those wishing to check out the full transcripts of the three Anglican Church wedding services, full versions of the 1662, 1966 and 2001 ceremonies are available below. To view the documents you'll need to have Adobe Acrobat Viewer installed on your machine, a free utility which is available to download by clicking here.




The 1662 Solemnisation of Matrimony 

(from the Book of Common Prayer)


The 1966 Solemnisation of Matrimony

(Alternative Services, Series 1)


The 2001 Marriage Service

(Common Worship: Services and Prayers for The Church of England)






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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