Celebrating a Wedding in your Parish Church
Today more than a quarter of all marriages in England take place in the traditional setting of a Church of England Parish Church. We are pleased to be able to offer our three beautiful Churches for Weddings, Blessings of a Marriage and for services to Renew Wedding Vows.
Hardwicke Church is a beautiful country parish church in a rural setting where many weddings take place every year. At Elmore Church we work closely with Elmore Court, a lovely wedding venue, to provide either a Church Wedding or a Wedding Blessing after a civil marriage ceremony at the Court. Longney Church is also available for Weddings or Wedding Blessings as is most appropriate.
Everyone in England lives in a Church of England parish and that's the church you should usually contact for more information about getting married. Wedding ceremonies are arranged through the Parish Priest who is able to process the whole application in house, taking care of the legal preliminaries as well as the Christian celebration.
Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God to be celebrated in Church along with with family and friends. In the marriage ceremony, a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love each other, come what may, and seek God's blessing on their married life together.
Those who wish to be married at St Nicholas, Hardwicke, St John the Baptist, Elmore or St Laurence, Longney should normally either be on the membership list (Electoral Roll) of the Church they wish to be married in or actually resident within that Church Parish.
The rules also provide for a couple to have the same right to marry in the Parish Church with which one or both of them can show that he or she has a "qualifying connection" which may be one of the following :
1. The person concerned was baptised in the parish; or has been confirmed and the confirmation has been entered in a church register book belonging to the parish, or has had his / her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months, or has habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months.
2. The person's parent has at any time during the person's lifetime: had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months or habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months.
3. That person's parent or grandparent was married in the parish.
If these "qualifying connections" do not apply then the only practical alternative is to qualify by church attendance for at least 6 months and/or become a member of that church, please contact the Vicar for more information.
Marriage after Divorce
If this is to be a marriage after divorce, there are guidelines that the Church of England has issued for the advice of couples and clergy. It may be legally possible for you to be married in one of our churches but only if you are either members of the Church concerned, already qualify by church attendance for at least 6 months or are at present actually resident within that Church Parish.
If none of the above are the case, it is not possible to marry you here under English law since, at present, the Church of England does not readily issue licences for marriage of divorcees. We may however be able to offer a Church Blessing after a Registry Office Wedding (see below).
Blessing a Wedding Ring
From time to time and sadly a Wedding Ring may be lost and a replacement obtained. At such a time, some couples wish to revisit the Church where they were first married or a Church of their choice for prayers to be said recalling their Wedding Vows and making an opportunity for blessing the new Wedding Ring.
The blessing ceremony can be quite simple with just the couple involved or more elaborate with guests, hymns and readings. This can take place by arrangement quite quickly if required. Please contact the Vicar to arrange such a ceremony.
Celebrating a Wedding Blessing Ceremony
Other possibilities may include a Wedding Blessing after a Civil Marriage (see below) or a service in another (non Church of England) Church or Chapel. If you need advice on how to proceed or wish to ask questions or want to discuss this further then don't hesitate to contact the Vicar.
If a full Wedding Service is not possible for personal or legal reasons, it may still be possible for a Wedding Blessing (Prayers after a Civil Wedding) to be celebrated in any one of our three Churches.
Typically a Wedding might take place at a Registry Office or a licensed Wedding Venue in the morning and the couple and their guests would come to Church immediately afterwards for their Wedding Blessing Service. Such a Service includes many of the parts of a full Wedding Service but not the legal pre-requisites nor the register signings and is available whether or not you actually live here.
One tradition which is becoming more popular is to include a Church Celebration as part of a Wedding Anniversary weekend. Renewal of Wedding vows is a lovely way to mark the occasion by giving thanks to God for your relationship and pledging yourselves together for the future. This celebration can also contain many elements of the Wedding Service and sometimes involves bridesmaids, best-man and family members who were present at the original wedding ceremony many years ago.