Wedding – FAQs

Can I get married in the Churches of the Parishes of Waterhead and Clarksfield?

At the moment, English Law says that just about anyone is entitled to be married in a Church of England church wherever you live. But there are very strict rules concerning which church.

Please speak to us and we will check if you are eligible.

If it is not possible for your proposed marriage to take place in one of our Churches, we are happy to discuss other alternatives with you, such as a Service of Prayer and Dedication after a civil ceremony that has taken place in, for example, a local Hotel.

How do I book the Church?

As soon as you have decided that you would like to get married in one of our churches, get in touch with us to see if we are the available on your preferred date. Click here for our contact details. Usually, one of our priests will wish to meet with you in person to discuss your plans.

How do I arrange a marriage service in the Churches of Waterhead or Clarksfield?

Phone us or write to us. To obtain our contact details, click here.

Can the church help me with my wedding preparations?

Yes! If you need advice or help, please contact us here.

Alternatively, the Church of England hosts a website to help you plan the church wedding of their dreams. The new website contains useful case studies of real weddings, information about the ceremony and marriage, a wedding planner, tips for choosing church music, and a church finder.

What are the legal requirements?

It is easiest to get married after your banns have been read out in our church on three consecutive Sundays. These Sundays must occur during the three months before your wedding day. (Banns are a public announcement of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.)

Please note that banns need to be read in the parish where each of you live as well as at the church in which you are to be married (if that is another parish). In some cases, there may be an alternative to banns – see the Church of England website or our own summary of the eligibility rules.

If you are under the age of eighteen, you will need your parents’ consent to marry.

There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced, as below.

How much will it cost?

The fees for a marriage cover the publication of the banns, certificate of banns (if necessary), and the marriage service itself (including heating and lighting, the priest and verger’s time, legal considerations such as paperwork, elementary cleaning, etc.). These fees are fixed centrally by the Church of England. Please click here for cost details.

Under the 2021 Marriage Act, the Church no longer issues your wedding certificate. You order it online from the Oldham Registrar’s office. Please click here for the necessary link.

Can I choose what kind of service I want?

You can customised just about every element of the service. The main exceptions are those parts of the service with a legally-defined form of words.

Talk over the options with us. For example, you can choose to have a modern-language service or one expressed in more traditional language.  There are usually one or more readings from the Bible included in the service – we can help you select the one that suits you best. There will also be some prayers, which you may help choose, or you may write some of your own. You may also decide to have someone other than the minister reading the prayers. It’s your choice.

Click here for a selection of appropriate Bible passages.

The minister will probably give a brief talk or sermon during the service.
If you have friends or family members you would like to involve in the service, for example by reading or playing a musical instrument, please discuss this with us at an early stage of your planning.

Which hymns and songs can I have?

We can advise on suitable hymns and songs, as well as music for coming in, going out and during the signing of the register. If you want to set out the words and/or music on a printed service sheet, you will need to comply with the copyright laws – consult us about this.
Click here for a selection of popular hymns for a church wedding. Do not worry if the list does not include your personal favourites: it is merely intended to illustrate the breadth of choice available.

Should we have one or two rings?

A wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of the commitment you are making to each other.

It is entirely your choice whether you have one ring or two — or none.

Can we video the service?

Yes! Our Churches permit marriage services to be recorded on video. We may need to charge a small fee to cover copyright issues. Please discuss your requirements with us.

What if one or both of us are divorced?

The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognises that, sadly, some marriages do fail and, if this should happen, it seeks to be available if you want us to help. The Church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in a church during the lifetime of a former spouse.

We are usually willing to conduct such a marriage in our churches. It is always wise to make an appointment to speak to us before setting a date. We will want to talk to you frankly about the past, your hopes for the future, and your understanding of marriage (a form and explanatory statement Marriage in a church after divorce may be downloaded from the Church of England website. (You will need Adobe Acrobat to read this file.)

If for any reason it is not possible for your proposed marriage to take place in  our  Churches, we are happy to discuss other alternatives with you, such as a Service of Prayer and Dedication after a civil ceremony that has taken place in, for example, a local Hotel.