We love weddings! It is a great joy for us at St Catherine’s to pray for and offer our love and support to couples wanting to make their commitment to one another before God and his people in Montacute.
Please read the following carefully – it will start your journey to a really happy and memorable day!
By choosing to get married in a church, couples are saying that they want God to be part of their wedding day and their marriage together, and in the service He will bless them and their future life.
We are delighted that you are planning to get married in one of our churches, and hope this leaflet will address your questions.
Deciding to get married is one of the most important decisions you can make in life. Marriage is considered a sacrament (a way to become closer to God) by Christians, as marriage is a faithful and lifelong loving commitment which reflects God’s own faithful and unconditional love for us.
Can I get married in this Church?
The first step is to contact Revd. Annie. Contact her as soon as possible so she can confirm the date and then she will help you to prepare for your big day. We have other ministers serving these parishes and depending on availability one of them will conduct the Service and preparation. Churches and ministers are often booked up for Saturdays a year in advance, so if you can, allow lots of notice to avoid disappointment. That first call will enable Annie to confirm that you are entitled to be married in the Parish either being resident there or by association or by attending worship regularly. Everyone who lives in the Parish is entitled to be married in their Church whether or not they attend church worship. Since September 2008 the ‘rules’ have been relaxed so that if you or your parents have ever lived here or are associated with the church you are also welcome to be married in church.
If either of you have been married before, Annie will meet with you to establish whether your circumstances fill the Bishops guidelines on re-marriage. Often there is no problem, but if we are unable to offer a full wedding, we are pleased to arrange a Blessing Ceremony in church.
Annie will discuss initial details and arrange to meet you face to face.
What are Marriage Banns?
The Banns of marriage are the public announcement in a Parish Church for three consecutive Sundays before the wedding date that a marriage is going to take place between two specified persons. Traditionally, this gives members of the public a chance to object to the marriage, but this is an extremely rare occurrence these days!
What sort of preparation is necessary?
We normally recommend at least three preparation sessions with the Minister who will be taking the service, prior to the wedding.
The first introductory session, which should take place as soon as possible, involves getting information for the banns etc. and discussion about dates. We will also give you information about fees and offer practical and help and contact details of people who can help with music and flowers etc.
The second session is a more detailed look at the question of marriage and what it involves, including the service itself and discussions about hymns, music, readings etc.
The third session is a rehearsal and takes place a day or so before the wedding itself, in the church.
Outside the face to face meetings, please feel free to contact Annie with any questions or worries you may have about the service or Christian marriage in particular.
They can advise on books and websites to help to plan your special day – including
What happens in the service?
As mentioned above, the Minister will spend some time with you explaining the details of the service, but here are the main elements:
- The priest welcomes everyone and reminds all present about God’s purpose for marriage.
- The bride and groom make their vows to each other before God and all present, using the words
“for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part;
according to God’s holy law.
In the presence of God
I make this vow”.
- Wedding rings are blessed by the priest with these words,
“ Heavenly Father, by your blessing
let these rings be to those who wear them a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, to remind them of the vow and covenant which they
have made this day through
Jesus Christ our Lord”
- The rings are then exchanged and the priest joins the couple’s right hands together and says:
“Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.”
- Then the priest blesses the couple
“….let their love for each other
be a seal upon their hearts
and a crown upon their heads….”
- There are readings from the Bible and the Minister gives a short talk.
- Prayers are said for the couple, including the Lord’s Prayer.
- Two or three hymns are sung
- Near the end of the Service, the wedding registers are signed.
The service should last about an hour, including some time outside the Church for wedding photographs to be taken.
After the wedding?
Couples often feel a special connection with the church where they were married and you are more than welcome to come and join us in any of the services and community activities that form a part of the life of the Ham Hill Village parishes. If not already resident in the parishes we can arrange to send you a monthly parish magazine. We specially welcome couples who have been married in the parishes to have their children baptised there also.
What to do next
You need to contact Revd. Annie to start the process:
Associate Vicar: Revd Annie Gurner
The Keep, 1, Castle St, Stoke sub Hamdon TA146RE 01935 824167 email@example.com
St Catherine’s wishes you every happiness as you begin the journey of your lives together. We will pray for you!