Congratulations on your intention to marry.
Marriage is a wonderful institution, gifted by God to enrich the lives of the two people to be married and to provide a stable environment in which children can be nurtured. This does not mean that you do not also have to work with each other, through good times and difficult times, in order that your marriage will be all that you want it to be.
The Church will play its part in helping you to prepare for your wedding day and for your future life together. To be eligible to marry in the Church of England the law requires certain factors to be in place.
a) one of you must live in this parish or be on the Electoral Roll of the PCC, or have a significant family link to the parish (contact Parish Office for further details.)
b) you must both be over the age of consent,
c) you must not be within the prohibited degrees,
d) If either party is divorced, marriage in this parish may be possible providing the applicants follow the procedures adopted by the Bishop’s Council.
Preliminary meeting with Parish Administrator
By reading this you may have already made your first contact about celebrating your wedding at St Laurence’s. If not you are invited to make an arrangement with the Parish Administrator. She can be contacted during office hours on 01257 231360.
The Administrator will check that you were eligible to marry in St Laurence’s. If everything is in order, a date and time for your wedding will be booked in the Parish Diary. You will be given forms to complete, information about fees etc., and an appointment for a half hour meeting with a member of the clergy. You can now begin to tell family and friends the date of your wedding. You may also want to start making arrangements for your reception, cars, dresses etc.
First meeting with clergy
This half hour meeting will involve you in giving some basic details about yourselves. The legal requirements and house rules will be explained. A banns application form will be given for you to complete.
Further meeting(s) with the clergy
About three months before your wedding the Administrator will contact you to arrange an interview with the Rector or Curate to discuss the practical details relating to your wedding. The interview will last about one hour. It will include looking at the religious significance of marriage and clarify some legal and other details about the ceremony. The banns application form can be returned at this meeting. Further meetings can be arranged if you wish.
As required by law, banns will be read in Church on three successive Sundays.
A rehearsal will be arranged a few days before the ceremony. The only two people who need to attend are you as the couple, but other participants are welcome to come. (Family, best man, bridesmaids etc.)
The ceremony will last about forty minutes but the bride should allow five minutes before the wedding for photographs. A further twenty minutes will probably be spent after the ceremony for photographs in the Church grounds.
If you still live in the parish you are invited to attend and of our church services. When children are born, you have made a commitment in your wedding to bring up your children in the faith. Baptisms can be arranged and St Laurence’s has a Saturday Club and Youth Club plus other activities.