If you’re here because you’re interested in marrying in the Benefice, then congratulations! We look after all the administration for weddings from the Church Office, and are happy to talk it through with you there, so feel free to contact us. We will be asking you the below questions before we do anything else, so if you can have looked at them first, you’ll save yourself and us a bit of time!
The Church of England lays out rules for who qualifies to marry in a Church of England Church, which we have to abide by. Most of the rules are laid out here. Please do have a look if you’re in any doubt.
The main questions that we normally have to check are:
- do you qualify to marry at St. Mary & St. Michael’s, or at St. Lawrence’s?
- have you been divorced?
You have to be legally connected to the Church of Benefice in which you’d like to marry. You can marry in a Church of England church if you can show that one of you:
- has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
- was baptised (christened) in the parish concerned or
- was prepared for confirmation in the parish or
- has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months
That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:
- has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
- has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months
That one of your parents or grandparents:
- was married in the parish.
Please be aware that the Church’s Parish boundaries are not the same as the Council’s: use the Church Near You website to find which parish you live or lived in. If you qualify to marry at one of the churches in the Benefice, you qualify for both: for instance, you can live in Mistley, but marry in Bradfield, if that’s what you’d like to do!
Marriage after Divorce
The rules surrounding weddings for couples where one or both of the partners has been divorced have changed in the last 20 years. We are now able to discuss and explore the possibility of marriage after divorce, but it is taken on a case-by-case basis.
We therefore have a form prepared by the Church of England which we ask any couples seeking marriage after divorce to fill in and return to the Church Office. We will then arrange to meet with you and discuss your form and the details surrounding your marriage.
It is the duty of the Vicar performing the marriage to be happy to proceed with the marriage and they will therefore decide if they feel able to marry you.
If you’d like to proceed, please contact the Church Office, and let us know a) how you qualify, b) if you’ve been previously divorced, c) yours and your partner’s names, and d) your address. If at all possible, we will send you all of the relevant paperwork as soon as possible so that we can get on with organising the big day!