Thinking of getting married at St Thomas’?
We hope the whole occasion will be one of great joy as well as being a time for making heartfelt, sincere lifelong promises to each other in the presence of God, family and friends. The following notes are to help you as you make your plans. You can find more information about getting married in church at www.yourchurchwedding.org.
Can I get married at St Thomas?
You are normally entitled to get married in your local parish church. You can check which parish you live in by clicking here and entering your postcode. (Where the parish boundary follows a road on the map, one side will be in the parish and the other side outside).
If neither of you currently lives in St Thomas’ parish, you can still get married at St Thomas’ if you meet just ONE of the criteria below:
ONE of you:
- has, at any time, lived in this parish for a period of at least 6 months, or
- was baptised in this parish, or
- was prepared for confirmation in this parish or
- has at any time regularly gone to normal church services at St Thomas’ or at Keresley Village Community Church for a period of at least 6 months,
OR 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 at St Thomas’ or at Keresley Village Community Church for a period of at least 6 months,
OR YOUR PARENTS OR GRANDPARENTS:
- were married in the parish
You would need to provide some evidence that you meet one of these criteria.
If you don’t meet any of the criteria above, it may still be possible for you to get married at St Thomas’. Please talk to the vicar about the options open to you.
How do I book?
Come along to one of our Sunday services and have a chat to the vicar after the service, when you will receive further information and an application form. Complete the marriage application form clearly and fully and return it to us, please check for correct spelling of names etc as the information you provide will be used to complete the marriage register – the legal document recording your wedding. Along with the application form please bring a £100 deposit to confirm your booking. This is a non-returnable deposit, but will be deducted from the balance of your total fee. Please also bring proof of your identity and nationality – ideally a current passport.
Banns of Marriage
Most Church of England marriages require banns to be read out in church before the wedding can take place. Banns are an announcement in church of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.
Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as the church in which you are to be married, if that is somewhere else. You must have your banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. If you have booked a wedding at St Thomas’, we will read your banns during the 10.30am service on the relevant Sundays.
IF EITHER OF YOU LIVES OUTSIDE ST THOMAS’ PARISH you MUST arrange for your banns to be read in the parish church where you live as well. Contact the vicar of your local parish church NOW to arrange this.
After your banns have been read, you MUST obtain a ‘banns certificate’. This is a signed note from the minister to say that your banns were read and there were no legal objections. You MUST give this to the vicar at St Thomas’ before your wedding is allowed to take place, so please make sure you arrange this in plenty of time.
As well as being a legal requirement, your banns readings are special public occasions when people in church hear of your intention to marry. It’s an exciting and happy time, so you’re welcome to invite your family and friends to hear your banns too, if you’d like. After your forthcoming marriage is announced, the congregation may be invited to pray for you both. It can be quite special and moving to hear this, so do go along if you can.
You will need to show at the time of booking that you are both citizens of a European (EEA) nation by presenting, e.g. your passports. If you are not, or are unable to prove you are, you will have to get permission to get married in church via your local registry office rather than by having your banns read. This process will take longer.
Does it matter if I’ve been divorced?
We recognise that some marriages do fail for all sorts of sad and painful reasons. So in certain circumstances the Church of England accepts that a divorced person may marry again. There may be a way forward for you to remarry at St Thomas’, but you will need to explore this in detail with the vicar, who will want to talk frankly about your past and hopes for the future and will then be able to advise you. Even if it is not possible to get married at St Thomas’, we can offer a service of prayer and dedication after a civil wedding.
Preparing for your marriage
In the spring you will be invited to a marriage preparation day for all those couples planning to get married at St Thomas’ in the current year. During the day you will have the opportunity to meet with the other couples getting married, think about how the wedding service happens at St Thomas’, think about the words you will say in the service and what they mean, think about ways to make your marriage strong and lasting, and talk with the vicar or others from the church about your choices for your wedding service and ask any questions you want to: all in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
A rehearsal will also be arranged in church, usually during the week leading up to your wedding service.
You can also contact us at any time if you have questions or need any help in planning your church service. There’s no such thing as a silly question … except the one you don’t ask!
If you’re not already a part of St Thomas’ Church or Keresley Village Community Church, we encourage you to come along and join us for our Sunday services and other midweek activities, getting to know other members of the church and feeling part of the church community in the place where you want to get married.