Church Weddings in The UK – Everything You Need to Know

It has become increasingly common for people to select various locations to conduct their marriage ceremony. Other than choosing beautiful places, they also often choose locations that hold significance and meaning to the couple, the families and their relationships.

However, many people prefer the traditional church wedding. If you are in the United Kingdom and are wondering about the requirements needed for a church wedding, then there are a few things you will need to consider. Here are some answers to the common questions and concerns that you might have about church weddings in the UK.

Legal and Traditional Requirements for Church Weddings

The first requirement that you need to understand is about the legal requirements and age restrictions. Except for Scotland, a church wedding ceremony requires couples to be at least age 17 or 18 for churches in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England. If you are 16 and 17, you will need your parents’ consent to be married in England and Wales. However, in Scotland, they will just require you to have two witnesses during your marriage ceremony.

Church weddings should occur between 8 am and 6 pm and would require you to have at least two witnesses. Also, marrying in the churches of England requires you to have “your banns read” for three weeks during the Sunday Services before allowing you to be married. This just means that the notice for your wedding will be read out every Sunday for three weeks. This tradition’s purpose is to announce the intended marriage in the church and allows raising objections if there are any. However, if you want to skip this part, you will have to obtain a general license at a local registrar for £200. It might take longer for non-British citizens to obtain this license.

Religious Requirements

In some areas of the United Kingdom, other rules and requirements might be imposed, especially concerning some spiritual aspects. There could be some church residency requirements in churches in England and Wales, and this requirement is stricter in Northern Ireland churches. Booking requirements are also different if you would be married in Catholic churches than with the Church of England. There are formation requirements and seminars for Catholic couples. At least one of the marrying pair must be Catholic for you to be married in their church in addition to getting a special dispensation for marriage and getting your banns read for three weeks. Although churches are religious dwellings, you need not be a religious person or a practicing churchgoer to be married there.  Many vicars are open to marrying couples that identify as non-religious or not quite religious as they believe in people having complex and varied spiritual beliefs.

Other Concerns for Your Church Wedding

It is necessary for you to book weddings in advance to avoid missing your desired date or clashing with the peak wedding soon. Besides, you also have to think about religious seasons where wedding ceremonies might not be held like the Lenten season. Another consideration that you have to make if you are thinking about church weddings is that self-made vows are not needed or is not encouraged during the ceremony. There is already a traditional ceremony with the vows required set in it. Typically, churches allow you to decorate the interior with your own decorations and flower arrangements. Church weddings usually cost £500 in the United Kingdom.

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