Can we get married in church?
Even if we are not baptised and never go to church?
Even if we are already living together.
And if we have been divorced?
There are some circumstances in which divorced people can marry again in a church. Christians believe that marriage is for life, but everyone knows that there are circumstances in which marriages sadly come to an end. Any vicar would welcome a conversation with you about whether it will be possible for you to marry in church. However, he or she will ask some frank questions about your past and your hopes for the future before letting you know whether it is possible. A meaningful alternative is to offer you a service of prayer and dedication in church after a civil ceremony.
All these answers apply to an Anglican Church (such as the Church of England). Those who are active members of a Roman Catholic Church, a Baptist, Methodist or any other denomination may want to be married in the church in which they worship. Special circumstances apply in these cases and it may be that a Registrar needs to be present to fulfil legal requirements. But church leaders always enjoy talking to people about getting married, and it is best to start by having that conversation.
A wedding service in the Church of England costs a few hundred pounds. Of course, there are additional expenses if you want to have a reception, special flowers, a choir and so on. However, many find that the service is less expensive than any other part of the event.
Many people like to marry in their local church, but it is possible to marry in another church if you or a close family member have a strong connection to it. If you would like to know where your nearest church is, the Christian Enquiry Agency will find it for you if you click ‘Find out more’. Alternatively type ‘a church near you’ into a search engine.
What the Bible says about it
An extract from the Bible:
Those who live in love live in God, and God in them.
Where to find it:
1 John 4:16
About these words:
From a letter written about seventy years after Jesus, which tells us that all marriage has a divine quality.
And they said…
Troye Collins, captain of Great Britain’s paralympic rugby team, who married Lyn in 2007:
It was very important for Lyn to be married in church. It felt like God saying to her: ‘You are starting a new life and you can begin again.’ For someone like myself, not as religious, it turned out to be a very special day, everything we ever wanted and more.
From the marriage service of the Church of England (Common Worship):
Marriage is a gift of God in creation through which husband and wife may know the grace of God. It is given that as man and woman grow together in love and trust, they shall be united with one another in heart, body and mind, as Christ is united with his bride, the Church.
The gift of marriage brings husband and wife together in the delight and tenderness of sexual union and joyful commitment to the end of their lives. It is given as the foundation of family life in which children are nurtured and in which each member of the family, in good times and in bad, may find strength, companionship and comfort, and grow to maturity in love.
Marriage is a way of life made holy by God, and blessed by the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ with those celebrating a wedding at Cana in Galilee. Marriage is a sign of unity and loyalty which all should uphold and honour. It enriches society and strengthens community. No one should enter into it lightly or selfishly, but reverently and responsibly in the sight of almighty God.
George Eliot, novelist, 1819-1880:
What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?
Sign in a restaurant:
One of the greatest mysteries of life is how the idiot your daughter married can be the father of the most beautiful and intelligent grandchildren in the world.