Getting married is one of the most important commitments we make in life.
You wedding day is very special as it marks the beginning of this new way of life together. There are all sorts of decisions to be made about how your wedding day is to be celebrated.
For generations people have come to St Bartholomew’s to be married. Getting married in church has been important to so many because it allows a couple to make their promises to each other in the sight of God and receive God's blessing.
According to the Bible, marriage is a gift from God where man and woman become one flesh. Marriage is intended by God to be a creative and fruitful relationship. We believe that God's blessing will enable husband and wife to love and support each other in good times and in bad. It is a lifelong commitment and may lead to the care and upbringing of children. Either way, for Christians, marriage is also an opportunity to seek God's help and care for life together.
Getting married at St Bartholomew’s
The information provided here will help you to explore whether it is possible to be married at St Bartholomew's and offers some useful information and links to help you in planning your wedding.
Some questions that need to be addressed
NOTE: Couples MUST provide a current passport as proof of nationality!
1 Do we have a qualifying connection to get married at St Bartholomew’s?
You are entitled to get married in any parish church if you can show that:
one of you
has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or was baptised in the
parish concerned or
was prepared for confirmation in the parish or
has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of 6 months or
that one of your parents, at any time after you were born:
has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months or
that one of your parents or grandparents:
was married in the parish.
2 What is the situation if one of us has been previously married?
The marriage service makes it clear that marriage is for life. However, some couples find it difficult to maintain their relationship for better or worse and marriages do break down.
At St Bartholomew's we wish to show care for those whose marriages have broken down, have been dissolved and wish to remarry.
You will need to discuss your particular situation with the Vicar when you meet.
3 What if one of us is a foreign national?
It is possible for people who are foreign nationals to marry in Church of England. Depending on your circumstances this can be a little complex and so plenty of notice needs to be given if you want to explore the possibility. If one of you can show a qualifying connection then discuss with the Vicar when you meet.
4 What if we have a qualifying connection but don’t live in the Parish of Woodhorn with Newbiggin?
When you marry in the Church of England, your Banns (a notice of intention to marry) are read at the main Sunday morning service over three weeks before your wedding. This gives an opportunity for anyone who wishes to raise a legal objection to your marriage taking place to do so. If one or both of you don’t live in the Parish, then you will need to ensure that your Banns are read in the Parish Church where you reside. There is usually a small charge for this.
If you are unsure of your local parish church, a helpful website is http://www.achurchnearyou.com/, where you can type in your postcode and it should give you details.
5 Age and Family relationships
You need your parent's permission to marry if you are under the age of 18.
You cannot marry a close relative.
6 What does it cost
The current (2019) cost of a wedding at St Bartholomew’s is £568. This includes the organist, verger, bells but not flowers. There is a small additional charge if you need to have your banns read in another church.
7 How do we go about arranging a wedding at St Bartholomew’s
Come along to the Church Centre on Front Street on a Saturday morning between 9.30am and 11.30am and meet the Vicar or someone who can take your details and advise about next steps and fix a date for your wedding.
You need to complete the Banns form with your personal details – you can download this document here and fill it in before you arrive or complete it when you meet the Vicar.
If one of you has previously been married, then you will need discuss your situation with the Vicar and show paperwork with your decree absolute before fixing a date for your wedding.
After all the preliminary plans are in place, you will need to agree a time to contact the Vicar in due course to begin to plan your wedding. You should do this at least 4 months before the date or even earlier if your situation is complex or you want to make preparations.
If necessary, you will need to make arrangements to have your Banns read at your local parish church if one or more of you don’t live in Newbiggin and collect the Banns Certificate so that the Vicar has it before your wedding day.
You will need to sit down and begin to plan your wedding. The following section has some resources to help you.
Planning your wedding
When you have booked your wedding, the minister taking the ceremony will arrange to meet with you to make more detailed plans. Decisions on matters such as a Bible reading, flowers, hymns and other music are usually made at this meeting.
The service consists of prayers, readings, hymns, and of course the declarations and vows that you say to each other. The minister will also say a few words about the meaning of a Christian marriage. The marriage is also registered during the service itself, usually at a table in the side aisle. However, the most important elements are the promises that are made.
We pray with God's help that these promises will be kept and that your marriage will be both life-giving and life-long.
Suggested Bible Readings for the Service
To help you with your choice of reading at the service you can find some of the more popular readings at this site http://www.yourchurchwedding.org/your-wedding/readings.aspx
Choosing Music for your Wedding
Music plays a very important part in your wedding. It is customary to have:
organ music played for the entrance of the Bride
organ music for leaving the church at the end of the service
2 to 3 hymns or songs during the service
either a piece of organ music or a soloist during the signing of the register
Some couples prefer to use music from CDs for different parts of the service. You will need to discuss this beforehand.
You can find a selection of hymns on this site and listen to them to help you make your choice.
If you want another hymn that is not on this suggested list then please discuss with the minister http://www.yourchurchwedding.org/hymns-media-player.aspx
Order of Service
Many couples like to have their own special Order of Service printed for the occasion. It is a special momento that helps to recapture the atmosphere and key moments of the service.
Here is a draft Order of Service and you can download a complete template that could help you design your own. Download a template here.
Remember that you need to agree your particualr order of service with the minister who is organising your wedding before it is printed to ensure that the essential elements of the service are included.
A typical order of service
Welcome and Introduction
A prayer is said together
Preface and Declarations
The Marriage Vows and the Exchange of Rings
Signing of the Register