Getting Married at St. James’ Church
How exciting that you’re thinking about getting married! At St James’ we aim to support couples – both spiritually and practically – as they prepare for their wedding and we try to conduct the service in a way which both reflects the importance of the occasion but also cherishes the individuals and families involved: a wedding at St James’ is, we intend, both a holy and a very happy occasion!
Frequently asked questions
Do I have to be a Church member in order to get married at St James’?
No – just as Jesus did not make such distinctions, nor do we. The marriage service in Church, however, is a Christian celebration and will normally include an address by the priest with reflections on the event from a Christian point of view. At least one of you should have been baptised (‘christened’) but if not we will happily discuss the matter with you and it need not prevent you going ahead. We hope, however, that your experience of the Church here both before and at the wedding will lead you to continue feeling a part of this or some other church.
Can I get married at St James’ if I do not live in the parish?
It is now easier for couples to be married in a church other that their local church. If you do not live in the parish you may have connections with St James’ that mean you qualify to have your marriage conducted here. You can read more by visiting here
What are ‘banns’?
Calling ‘banns of marriage’ is the normal preliminary to a church wedding so that, in principle, if there was any legal impediment to your marriage a member of the public could raise it. In practice it is often a significant way-mark to help you prepare for the ‘big day’ knowing that you have the support of others in the community. Over three Sundays during the three months prior to the wedding, ‘banns’ will be read at the main Sunday service in Church. Banns also need to be read in the parish where you or your fiancée live, if this is not Alderholt, and you will need to arrange for this to be done.
How much does it cost?
Most of the fees charged are according to an annual act of Parliament. They are not so much a ‘payment’ for the service as a means of helping preserve the continued availability to all of the Church and its ministry both nationally and locally. The Vicar is paid an annual stipend and does not receive anything from fees. Current prices can be found here
Can I still get married in Church if I am divorced?
Yes. The vicar will discuss your previous marriage and the circumstances of its ending, but the church believes in second chances, forgiveness and healing, so divorce is not an obstacle.
Can a civil partnership be celebrated in Church?
Sadly not at the current time. We can offer “prayers of support” – please chat to the vicar for more information.
Can I renew my marriage vows in Church?
Yes – we conduct several such occasions each year. They can vary from very small events involving just the couple with perhaps the immediate family, to big events with a full church and hymns and music arranged. Please contact the clergy who will be glad to help you explore what is right for you. The fees in this case are usually about half those of a ‘normal’ wedding.
For lots of helpful information and guidance about weddings, you might like to look here
And download our 2023 Wedding booklet below
What do I do next?
If you wish to go ahead we would be delighted to hear from you in the church office.