The parish church of St Giles in Shipbourne offers a beautiful setting for your wedding; a special place to celebrate your marriage within an act of worship that acknowledges the presence of God and offers his blessing on your vows.

 Choosing between a church wedding and a civil ceremony.

Everyone has the right to be married in the parish church where they live, or to choose a civil ceremony at the nearest Registry Office. A civil ceremony is completely secular, without hymns, prayers or sacred music. If you choose to be married in the Church of England the service will be conducted according to the Anglican rite. It is possible to follow a civil ceremony with a service of blessing in church; but this is only offered within an on-going and meaningful pastoral relationship between you and the church.

Legal preliminaries to a wedding.

Whatever your choice, there are legal preliminaries that must be completed before the ceremony can take place. For most church weddings this involves ‘calling banns’ on three consecutive Sundays in the month prior to your special day. If one or both partners lives in another parish you must arrange for banns to be called there, too, and to collect and submit a certificate issued to say that banns have been read and that ‘no impediment was alleged’.

If you do not live in the parish of Shipbourne, you may be able to claim a ‘qualifying connection’ and be eligible to be married at St Giles’ Church ‘after banns’. For example, you can earn a qualifying connection by worshipping regularly in the parish, at least one Sunday per month, for a period of six months prior to booking your wedding. You may also claim a qualifying connection by showing that one partner was baptised and/or confirmed at St Giles, or that one partner has, at one time, lived in the parish for at least 6 months, or that one partner has, at one time, attended worship for at least 6 months, or that one partner’s parent has lived or attended worship for at least 6 months, or that one partner’s parent or grandparent was married at St Giles.

If one or both partners are from Scotland or Europe, it is recommended that you complete your legal preliminaries by another route, to be married ‘by Common Licence’. Partners of other foreign nationality are required to complete the preliminaries at the Registry Office in order to obtain a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate.

The Rector would be pleased to meet you to discuss your hopes; he is also duty bound to check your nationality, so please bring your passports.

All the trimmings!

Within the scope of what is permitted there is room for you to choose processional music, hymns and readings. We can arrange for our organist and robed choir to be present on your day. Likewise, our bell-ringers can be booked, and we can help with flowers or liaise with your florist. Once the wedding is booked, Debbie Mason is happy to help plan these details and facilitate the deposit and fees that are payable through an invoice from our Parish Treasurer.

Please contact Mrs Debbie Mason: 01732-851219 or [email protected]

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