Getting Married in Church


Norm-HeadshotHello, my name is Norman Smith and I am minister here at Granton Parish Church. We have put together this guide to getting married in church, and hope that you find it useful. We’d be delighted to hear from you if you have any questions.

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A Big Step

For most people, the decision to marry and the choice of whom to marry is the most important decision they are ever likely to make. For many this is reflected in their desire to be married in Church.

A Marriage—Not Just a Wedding

Marriage was God’s idea: one of the best gifts to human beings since the beginning of the world. Marriage is a commitment between a man and a woman to love and care for one another, and is designed to last for life. Such a commitment brings many wonderful benefits: trust, companionship, comfort, care, love, fun-to name but a few.

Today more than one marriage in three ends in divorce, so a lifetime’s commitment to one another is not easy. In getting married you are promising to love each other, not only when you are young and healthy and when love and romance seems easy, but for life. You are promising to love each other even when you may not feel like it – in bad times as well as good.

At your wedding you will be committing yourselves to working through any difficulties that may arise and to making your marriage work.

A Church Wedding

Like all church services, the marriage service is first and foremost about worshipping God. It involves singing to God in the hymns, speaking to Him in the prayers, and learning from Him in readings from the Word of God – the Bible.

We would like you to come to church when you can so that your big day will be as meaningful as possible. If you are seldom or never in Church, a service of worship will not have the same meaning and so the wedding service will also mean less. If you want to take your vows in the presence of God, and to ask for His help in keeping them, then it is right for you to be married in Church.

Your wedding service should be a special time for you, in a setting which is friendly and familiar. If a couple have never been in the church together and the minister is a complete stranger, then they will find the experience is more remote and impersonal. A cold, formal ceremony read straight from a book would be a poor way to mark your big day. It is much better that minister, bride and groom know and trust each other, and that the couple feel that they belong in a church.

So to help you become happy and at ease worshipping together, and to ensure that you have a meaningful wedding service, you should try to make coming to church a priority. Come when you can, so that you might learn more about the God whose help you are asking for.

In Granton we encourage you to think about one of the Alpha courses we run throughout the year which are introductions to the Christian faith. This will give you a deeper understanding of what Christianity is about and will further develop your sense of the importance of your wedding day. You can find out more about the Alpha Course at uk.alpha.org/

Marriage is Special

The sexual aspect of marriage is very beautiful. Like marriage itself, it was God’s idea. Christian teaching is that sexual relations are to be enjoyed only within the love and commitment of marriage. This is not adhered to by many people today, who perhaps want the privileges of marriage without the responsibilities.

Yet couples who choose to live together often come to realise that they would like to have the security and commitment that come with marriage. Many of us realise that in many different areas of our lives we do not live up to God’s standards. But the Christian message (the ‘Gospel’ or Good News) is that God can give us a new start and enable us to change.

Marriage and true love go hand in hand with faithfulness. Of course, unfaithfulness between marriage partners is widely portrayed in TV dramas and soaps as something which is normal and even glamorous. Yet the reality is very difficult. When trust is broken, anguish and trauma are never very far away. To enjoy the benefits of a loving and faithful marriage is a far better way.

On behalf of everyone at Granton Parish Church we wish you all God’s blessings on many years of faithful and happy marriage.

GETTING MARRIED

You wish to be married. You wish to be married in Church. This means that you want to make yours a Christian Marriage.

In Christian Marriage there are three parties to the contract – the Bride, the Groom and GOD. To seek Christian Marriage implies that you know and love each other and God, and that you wish his teaching to be the foundation on which you will build your life together.

Do you have to be a member of the church to be married in the church?

The simple answer is No. Non-members can be married in Church if the Minister believes that the vows of Marriage can be taken conscientiously by both Bride and Groom.

How do I set about arranging my marriage in church?

At the earliest possible time you should consult with the Minister and fix the date and time.

What are the legal requirements?

Marriage Notice: You are required to complete a “Marriage Notice” obtainable from the Registrar’s in whichever district the marriage is taking place. For Granton that is Leith.

The completed forms require to be submitted to the Registrar’s Office preferably six weeks before the date of the marriage. The minimum period of notice is 15 days. A fee is payable to the Registrar in respect of each marriage notice.

You will be required to bring your birth certificates and any documents relating to your previous marital history. Up to date information is available by following the link below:

Registrar information

There is also a Fee for a copy of the Marriage Certificate and is payable at the time of handing in the marriage notices.

Marriage Schedule. This form, which is signed at the Marriage Service by the Bride and Bridegroom, the Minister and two witnesses (who must be at least 16 years of age) is issued by the Registrar after the receipt of the Marriage Notices. You will be advised by the Registrar of the date on which to collect the Marriage Schedule. This will be no more than 7 days prior to the date of the marriage.

The marriage schedule must have been given to the Minister of the Wedding before the service. Failure to do this will prevent the marriage taking place as planned. It is best to bring it along to the rehearsal

The marriage schedule signed by all the necessary parties must be returned to the registrar within three days after the marriage.

What about Music?

If you are choosing hymns its best to think about whether your guests are used to singing or not. While some hymns have very nice words their tunes make them quite difficult. There is a Wedding Section in the Church Hymn Book and other suitable hymns can be found in Mission Praise. Feel free to discuss music choice with the Minister.

Other non religious music has been used for processional marches; however do bear in mind that your service is taking place in a Church and not all music is suitable. If you wish non religious music please clear that with the Minister.

Usual practice at weddings is to have a processional piece for the bride entering, 2 hymns and a recessional when bride and groom process out. Other configurations can be agreed with the Minister.

What about an Organist?

If you are marrying in a church, that church will have a resident organist. This person is retained by the church to offer musical accompaniment at all services taking place in that building. They are normally the person who plays at weddings and will expect to play.

Should you wish to have another person playing music in the church, you will still need to pay the residents organist’s fee because they are considered resident musician and the person coming in is effectively taking work away from them.

Am I allowed to video in the Church?

Yes, however there are added complications. Due to Copyright issues, any payment to the Organist is doubled when a video is used.

Although this is your big day, it is also a service of worship so placement of the video camera needs to be carefully thought out. The Minister knows the church well and can advise you on what works best. Please speak to the Minister at the rehearsal to go over procedures for videoing, this will avoid any issues arising on the day.

Can the church be used for Photographs?

Again the answer is yes and again we would ask your Photographer to respect the fact it is a Church. Good practice is for your Photographer to identify themselves to the Minister on the wedding day so they can confer on where to be at what time to get the best shots. We do not allow any flash photography during the service as it takes away from the worship. After the service you may use the Church for photo’s if you wish.

There are going to be children at the wedding.

We welcome all people to our Church especially children and they do add a lot to a wedding. However if they are over excited on the day they can detract from the service. It is our aim for people to concentrate on the Bride and Groom, young folk who run around too much can take away from this. We recommend you prepare for any children attending by having pens and colouring in books for them. This will keep them occupied and keep the day memorable for the right reasons.

How much does it cost?

While on your wedding day you may not see many people round the church, a good team of people have already prepared the church to make your day special. Our costs have tried to reflect this.

Normal costs are £200 or £260 if a video is being used. If you could please bring any monies with you to the rehearsal and to make cheques payable to Granton Parish Church. That would be appreciated.

Anything else?

Sadly in today’s world not everyone approaches their wedding day with the seriousness it requires and it has been known for people to turn up for the ceremony under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

If you are not in a condition to lucidly and clearly take your vows then the minister cannot proceed with the wedding. Please respect the occasion and what it stands for.

We hope your day will be a very special one. Getting married in church is one of the most significant moments a person can experience.

Should your wedding be cancelled for any reason we would appreciate being informed.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of getting married in Granton Parish Church.