Weddings

105Can we get married at St Johns?

Legally, you are entitled to get married in St Johns Church if either one of you lives in the ecclesiastical parish of St John the Evangelist, Upper St Leonards – or if you live in another parish but worship here at St Johns. You must have your banns of marriage read for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding – but before all this you need to get in touch with one of the Church Wardens, book the Church and get their advice on the arrangements.

If you are under the age of 18 you must have your parents’ permission to get married. There are certain guidelines on Church marriage if you have been divorced – see below.

How much does it cost?

This varies slightly according to your requirements, and fees (set centrally by the Church of England) do rise each year – but fees will be in the region of £425.

When can we get married?

The answer is almost any time between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. It doesn’t have to be a Saturday (although your guests might find a Saturday easier!). We try to avoid having weddings during the Church’s penitential seasons of Advent (before Christmas) and Lent (before Easter) – because weddings are times of celebration and we want to be able to “pull out all the stops” and celebrate with you.

Can we be married by a priest somewhere else?

No. At present you can only have a Church of England wedding in a Church of England parish Church.

What about the service?

Because of the legalities involved, an authorised service must be used – but there is flexibility about music, hymns, readings, the prayers etc. The service will reflect the couple being married.

What kind of preparation do you ask us to do?

A huge amount of preparation seems to go into the big day itself – but sometimes little thought is given to what happens afterwards and how you get on living together as husband and wife, and the differences that big day has made to your relationship. So, as part of the deal to get married at St John’s, you will be encouraged to look at marriage preparation – as opposed to wedding preparation! And no, there won’t be embarrassing questions that you have to answer to the priest – although you will be encouraged to be very honest with each other.

What if one of us is divorced?

The Bishops of the Church of England have fairly recently allowed the individual parish priest to be the judge of whether he or she will allow the marriage in church of a couple where at least one has been married before and there is still a living partner from that marriage.

The Church sees marriage as being for life. One reason it is seen as such – i.e. as a ‘sacrament’ or sacred thing – is that marriage is an illustration of how God loves us …He is always completely faithful; He never tires of us or forsakes us – and our calling in marriage is to reflect that. However, we are fallen human beings who often make a mess of trying to live life God’s way, and our relationships do sometimes fail. The loving, faithful God we meet in the Bible offers us forgiveness for failed intentions, unrealistic expectations, for broken promises; for the hurt and heartache of the past and a new start. But this is not to be taken lightly.

Here at St Johns we are willing to remarry people who have been divorced – under certain circumstances, following broad principles rather than a set of rules. If you want to know more about this, speak to Deacon Jill.

Two warnings

Getting married in Church doesn’t guarantee you a problem-free marriage! But it does serve as a reminder that there is a community here at St Johns who can and will:

  • Support you through good times and bad.
  • Pray with you and for you.
  • Help you to love.
  • Celebrate your high points and grieve with you during your low points. – you don’t have to be alone!

Good marriages don’t happen by accident – they happen because both parties are prepared to work at love – which may sound a strange idea, but love is much more than just emotional feelings.

What about the paperwork?

Sadly there is some paperwork to be completed – you can start the process now by downloading the application form for Banns of Marriage.

Banns of Marriage Application Form – (1,152KB)

Finally…

We wish you every happiness on your wedding day and in your life together afterwards. If there is anything we can do to help – perhaps to give information or answer questions or just listen, please do get in touch.