There is more flexibility in the wedding service these days. The Book of Common Worship (the current service book used by the Church of England) has a number of different wording options. The ‘uncomfortable’ “obey” wording in the Vows can be omitted if desired and there are options for exchanging rings and alternative Blessings and Prayers.
The vicar will have a thorough run through the service with you to sort out your preferred choices. You can view a copy of the service CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL SERVICE TEXT which gives all the options along with guiding notes.
Service of prayer and dedication
Many people who have a civil wedding, whether in the UK or abroad, feel they would like to dedicate their marriage to God in church soon afterwards.
It is a simple service, open to anyone. The words of the service acknowledge the commitment you have already made and ask for God’s blessing and guidance in your new life together. Because it is not a marriage service, banns are not required, there is no exchange of rings and there is no signing of the Register.
Many couples have opted for this service where one or both of them is remarrying after divorce.
CLICK HERE FOR BLESSING SERVICE TEXT
The Church also offers a Service of Thanksgiving for Marriage, which may be used for a number of different occasions including renewing marriage vows or to celebrate a special anniversary.
CLICK HERE FOR THANKSGIVING SERVICE TEXT
Beginning the service
Traditionally, the bride and groom enter the church separately – the groom first with the best man, and the bride at the time set for the start of the service, on the arm of her father or another relative or friend (it does not need to be a man). However, the bride may enter alone if she wishes, or the couple may enter together. The minister will welcome the congregation. Your family and friends have an important role to play as witnesses and supporters of your marriage. The minister will read an introduction explaining what Christians believe about marriage. They will also ask, as the law requires, if anyone knows any reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place.
DeclarationsYou will be asked to promise before God, your friends and your families, that you will love, comfort, honour and protect your partner and be faithful to them as long as you both shall live.
The minister will also ask the congregation to declare that they will support and uphold your marriage.
Turning to each other, the bride and groom take each other’s right hand and make vows:
‘to have and to hold
from this day forward;
for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish,
till death us do part’
The couple then exchange a ring or rings as a ‘sign of their marriage’ and a reminder of the vows:
‘With my body I honour you,
all that I am I give to you,
and all that I have I share with you,
within the love of God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.’
The minister will then declare that you are now husband and wife. The minister does not ‘marry you’; you marry each other. The minister just directs you in this and then tells everyone that you have done it properly.
In the prayers God’s blessing and help is asked for you. There may be a prayer for the gift of children, but every couple will have their own feelings about this, so it’s best to discuss the details with your minister. You may wish to help choose the prayers or to write your own.
Readings and talk or sermon
It is usual to have one or more readings (one of which should be from the Bible) and the minister will generally give a talk or sermon.
Signing of the register
After you have exchanged your vows, the bride, groom and two witnesses must sign the register. This is a legal requirement and the minister will give you a copy of the marriage certificate.
After signing the register in the vestry you will make your grand exit, arm in arm as Husband and Wife.
Most weddings at St Nicolas are taken by the Vicar. However sometimes they maybe taken by other clergy, either as a special request or if our own Vicar is unavailable. Whoever is taking your service will be in touch with you some months before your wedding date to arrange meeting you both and talking about the options which are available to you for your wedding service.
Once you know who is taking your service please get in touch with them if you have any questions you need answered. They will be expecting to meet you both several times to go through the various details necessary as you prepare for your wedding. Our hope is that, by the time your wedding day arrives you will have a clear idea of what is going to happen in the service, and that you won’t be worrying about “what you have to do and when you have to do it”!
You have several options when it comes to the floral decorations for your wedding.
You can accept whatever the flowers happen to be in Church on the day of your wedding. There are normally some floral decorations in Church, though in Lent (6 weeks up to Easter) and Advent (4 weeks up to Christmas) we don’t have flowers in Church for Sundays.
You can arrange for your own choice of professional florist to prepare decorations for the Church. Because of the liaison work required by this, we have to charge a facilities fee of £25 if you choose this option.
OPTION 3 The Church’s own team of flower arrangers are prepared to arrange for some modest extra displays for your wedding. If you are interested in this option then contact Mrs Fiona Uden (see below)
Please note that (for reasons of health and safety) we are aware there is a problem with the use of candles in flower arrangements – therefore all use of candles needs to be approved in advance. In particular, all use of small candles placed on (or near) the floor is forbidden.
There is plenty of choice in the music you can have at your wedding. You may want traditional wedding music, or you may want something a little different.
In the first instance, please contact our Director of Music, Neil Matthews, 01628 639796, and he will confirm who is the organist for your wedding.You can have up to three hymns at your wedding. Choose hymns that you think your guests will know they don’t have to be on the theme of marriage but make sure that the words are not inappropriate (for instance, “Fight the good fight” may not be the best choice!).
Above all, make your musical arrangements in plenty of time.
What about a choir? Of course, you can choose not to have one, but if you do want a choir you have three options
The Church Choir is of a good standard and members of it are usually available to sing at weddings. You need to be aware that whilst we shall use our best endeavours to provide you with the Church Choir when you have booked it, the members of the Choir are volunteers who only receive expenses for singing.OPTION 2
Some people are happy to book the Church Choir but feel it would be helpful to boost their numbers with some additional experienced singers. This can be arranged through our Director of Music though, obviously, there is an additional cost involved.
Some people wish to book a professional choir to sing at their wedding. We are happy to arrange this for you. If you need advice on this option, please speak to our Director of Music who will be able to give you advice and guidance.Any of these choir options will provide a good lead in the singing of hymns, and they will also sing (by arrangement) during the signing of the Registers.If you are thinking of having a visiting soloist sing at your wedding then you will need to talk to the organist about this so that arrangements can be made for them to rehearse with the soloist.Our Organists:
Neil Matthews 01628 639796 Director of Music
Gillian Dibden 01628 661182