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Getting Married in Church

Can I get married at St Bartholomew's?

The answer's almost always a yes!

Yes, if one of you lives in our parish (go to http://www.achurchnearyou.com and type in your postcode!)

Yes, if one or both of you normally worship here (or are willing to start).

Yes if you can show you have a “qualifying connection” with this church. www.yourchurchwedding.org/youre-welcome/more-churches-to-choose-from.aspx

That covers nearly everyone who asks - and it’s the law; you don’t have to be a churchgoer, or to have been baptised.

But what if……?

...one of us is divorced? In line with C of E policy, a minister will be happy to talk things over with you, and come to a decision fairly quickly whether or not to agree to a wedding (or a service of blessing after a civil marriage).
www.yourchurchwedding.org/youre-welcome/marriage-after-divorce.aspx

...we’re marrying abroad? You could consider having a Service of Dedication for family and friends once you’re “back home” – please ask for more details

The first step – make contact

Of course, the date and time have to be agreed, so (before you firm up other plans) please get in touch with us:

(actual bookings need to be made in person at the Sunday service, as above; we may ask for a deposit, returnable at our discretion)

Getting ready for the wedding:

There are lots of ideas and useful links on the C of E website:

http://www.yourchurchwedding.org/

You need to begin making plans in earnest about six months before the big day; if we haven't been in touch by then, please do so yourselves.

GETTING READY - YOURSELVES

A wedding is for life, not just for a day, and we believe that everyone should have the opportunity to think about what that life involves.

We hold a welcome morning for couples once or twice a year (please check for dates, but we’ll contact you) on a Saturday when you can meet the Vicar and other “key players”. We then make arrangements to meet you as a couple and offer some preparation (and a final rehearsal – this will be conducted by whichever minister is taking your service); please ask for more details.

 

GETTING READY - LEGALLY

Apart from checking your identity (which the law now requires), the only thing necessary is to have your “Banns” read out in church – we will agree the dates; if either of you lives outside Great Harwood parish, you must arrange for them to be “called” in the C of E church where you live. If you don’t know which this is, simply type your postcode into www.achurchnearyou.com There’s a small fee, and a certificate to collect.

 

GETTING READY - YOUR SERVICE

We like your service to be the way you want it; some parts (like the vows, which most couples think are the most important bit) are laid down; for the rest, you don’t have to stick exactly to the traditional pattern, and the "extras" can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. We’ll explain more at the Welcome Morning.

You can involve other people, choose your music and a special Bible reading, and print your own service sheet (we normally use a modern-English service; if you prefer you may use the 16th-century words of the Book of Common Prayer).

GETTING READY - YOUR GUESTS

Your guests might appreciate knowing:

  • Public Transport: the main bus stop is in Town Hall Square about 5 minutes away.
  • Parking: there is on-street parking around the church but please ask guests to park considerately (we aim to reserve space for the bridal car).
  • Accessibility: the church has a ramp available, a loop system, and a wheelchair-friendly toilet (but level access to this is by an outside path).

GETTING READY - YOUR FINANCES

Weddings can work out very expensive, and you need to think how much you (and your families) really want to spend! Fortunately, church fees and "extras" are usually one of the smallest items on the total bill.

It is national church policy to keep church fees at an affordable level. If you are in a position to do so, we hope you will make an additional donation, which can be Gift-Aided (we supply an envelope). We will also invite members of the congregation at your service to make a gift-aided donation, but there is no obligation on you or them to do so.

The “typical” wedding at St Bartholomew’s costs £680 (in 2017).

This is made up of:

  • a standard fee (approved by Parliament) – part of this helps pay clergy, part of it goes towards the building and administration
  • a small charge for heating, averaged over the year to cover the extra cost to us
  • payments to people (organist, choir, verger) involved in your service, which we collect for them

It doesn't cover the cost of flowers - but our team are very good value!