Frequently Asked Questions About Weddings

Who can get married at St Paul’s?

We would love to welcome you for a church wedding at St Paul's and the good news is that you can marry in our church regardless of your beliefs, whether or not you are christened and whether or not you have been a regular churchgoer.

Because getting married gives you a whole new legal status with many benefits, there are some legal requirements you need to meet to get married at St Paul's. You can get married at St Paul's if you or your fiancee meet any of the following criteria:

  • you live in our parish  
  • you are on the the electorall roll of St Paul's
  • you are able to demonstrate that you have a qualifying connection to our parish.

Qualifying Connections

You have a Qualifying Connection to our parish if:

one of you:

  • has at any time lived in our parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • was baptised in our parish  or
  • was prepared for confirmation in our parish or
  • has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in St Paul's, Birkenshaw or St Luke's, East Bierley for a period of at least 6 months or

one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

  • has lived in our parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • has regularly gone to normal church services in in St Paul's, Birkenshaw or St Luke's, East Bierley for a period of at least 6 months or

one of your parents or grandparents:

  • was married in our parish

And did you know that if you move house, you’re immediately connected to the church there? That means you can marry in the church of your new parish.

In all cases involving church services - i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage - this applies only to Church of England services. Even if you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, we want to help you explore whether it may still be possible for you to marry in our  church.

Can we get married at St Luke’s, East Bierley?

Unfortunately St Luke’s is not licensed for weddings so it is not possible to get married there although St Paul’s is of course available as an alternative.

Can we get married at St Paul’s if one or both of us are divorced?

At St Paul's we wish you a lifetime of love that grows within God’s protection. But 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 in church and this has been the case since 2002. If one or both of you are divorced please contact our Vicar Danny Walker who will be happy to discuss whether it is possible for you to be married at St Paul's. Even if it is not possible to do your wedding, we may offer a blessing service after a civil wedding.

We are a same sex couple, can we get married at St Paul’s?

Unfortunately not. Church of England ministers cannot by law carry out or bless same-sex marriages, but we are still there for you. At any time you are welcome to come and pray with us, or ask us to pray for you.

How much does a wedding cost at St Paul’s?

Our basic charge is around £485 which covers the building, the priest and the calling of banns. You can then tailor your wedding package by adding the services of our organist and choir for which additional fees are payable.

What are banns?

Banns are where notice of your wedding is given in church according to a legal custom. On these occasions, everyone in church will be praying for you.

Banns are called during the morning service on the first three Sundays of the month before your wedding.

We warmly invite you to join in worship with our regular congregation as you prepare for your wedding and in due course hear your banns being read. A warm welcome awaits you at our services.

If you both reside in this parish the banns will only have to be called here.

However if one of you resides in another parish you will need to make arrangements to have the banns called there as well. (You can find the details of the nearest church to where you live on the website www.achurchnearyou.com or alternatively we can help you to identify your parish church) The other church will make a small charge for calling the banns and after they have been called they will give you a banns certificate which you need to bring with you to your wedding rehearsal.

Can we write our own vows?

The official vows cover all those things we hope for from a good marriage and are legally binding, so they cannot be changed. However, there may be some special, additional things you and your partner want to say to each other in this setting.

Some couples have done this by writing something as an additional reading, or using poetry or an extract from a book to say those things in a personal way. our vicar can advise you on how your ideas could work well as part of the service.

Can a vicar from a different church take our wedding?

Occasionally, couples have a member of the family or a friend who is a vicar, or know a vicar very well from a parish where they used to live, such as where they grew up.

As people move and live in different parts of the country more than they used to, the vicar who you’d love to take your wedding may be based elsewhere.

It is usually fine for a different vicar to come in to our parish and take a wedding, so long as they are a Church of England vicar. Our Vicar will be happy to discuss this with you.

For legal reasons, a minister from another denomination (eg Methodist, Baptist, URC), is not able to do a Church of England wedding. But they can be involved in other ways, for example by doing the readings, prayers, or even the talk/sermon.  Please talk to our Vicar if you would like a minister from another denomination to be involved in the service.

We live abroad, can we still get married at St Paul’s?

If you are both British nationals living abroad, or if you are both British nationals but just one of you lives abroad, you can apply for a Common Licence to marry at St Paul’s provided that you have a qualifying connection to our church.

Our Vicar will help you with the Common Licence application so you need to contact him first.

We don’t go to church, can still have a church wedding?

We would love to welcome you for a church wedding at St Paul's and the good news is that you can marry in our church regardless of your beliefs, whether or not you are christened and whether or not you have been a regular churchgoer.

Anything Else...

For any questions about weddings at St Paul's that we have not answered here please contact our Vicar Danny Walker on 01274 683776 who will be happy to help.