I want to arrange a wedding

I want to arrange a wedding….


Today more than a quarter of all marriages in England between a man and a woman take place in the traditional setting of a Church of England church. You're welcome to marry in church whatever your beliefs, whether or not you are baptised and whether or not you go to church.


Where can we choose to marry?


There are rules and regulations about which church you can choose for your wedding. You can marry in your local parish church or in one where you worship regularly.


Do you or your other half live in the parish? You can find out easily by going to http://www.achurchnearyou.com/ and entering your postcode.


You can also marry in the church of your choice if you have a qualifying connection:

  • …either of you has previously lived in the parish for a period of six months or more;
  • …if either of you were baptised or prepared for confirmation in the parish;
  • …if either of you has ever regularly attended public worship in the parish for six months or more;
  • …if either or both of your parents has lived in the parish for six months or more during your lifetime;
  • …if either or both of your parents have regularly attended public worship there for six months or more during your lifetime;
  • …if either or both of your parents or grandparents were married in the parish.


In the Benefice of Alkham with Capel le Ferne and Hougham anyone with a connection to any of the three parishes can marry in any of the three churches of the Benefice.


If you do not have a qualifying connection it may still be possible for you to marry in the church of your choice if either or both of you are prepared to commit yourselves to attend services in the Benefice regularly (a minimum of once a month) for at least six months before the date of your wedding.


Can we marry at Capel Old Church (St Mary’s)?


St Mary’s Capel has been out of regular use for many years, and is now in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust. Couples wishing to marry there require both the permission of the Trust and of the Bishop in Canterbury, and an Archbishop’s Special Licence, so not the easiest or cheapest option, but perhaps a possibility for some. Find out more at http://www.visitchurches.org.uk/Ourchurches/Usingourchurches/Weddingsblessings/.


We are planning a civil ceremony, but would like to have a blessing in church to follow. Is that a possibility?


Yes, definitely. You can have your family and friends present to celebrate your future together, and the legal restrictions that apply to church weddings do not apply to blessings, so you don’t need to worry about qualifying connections, registration of the marriage and things like that. Do please understand that, at present, the rules stipulate that a service of blessing can only be held in church, not at an alternative venue.


What do we do next?


The first step is to contact the parish priest of the church where you want to marry – it costs the price of a phone call, and doesn’t commit you to anything! If you want to know more about marrying in one of our churches, please download, complete and return an application form, available here.


How can we find out more?


You can find the answers to most of your questions about marrying in a Church of England church by visiting http://www.yourchurchwedding.org  - and the answers to any other questions you may have by contacting the parish priest, who will be delighted to hear from you.