Wedding Information for Frensham
We are delighted to know that you are considering being married at the Church of St Mary the Virgin. If you wish your wedding to take place at Frensham you will need to fulfil the Church of England requirements for Parochial Church weddings (see below). If this is the case we will need to plan the service with you and help you to prepare for the occasion.
Church of England Requirements
Before we can conduct a wedding at the Church of St Mary the Virgin we need to be satisfied:
That one of you:
- lives within the parish of Frensham or has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
- was baptised in the parish
- was prepared for confirmation in the parish or
- has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in one of the two churches for a period of at least 6 months or
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 one of the two churches for a period of at least 6 months or
That one of your parents or grandparents:
- was married in the parish or
- is buried in the Church graveyard
That there are exceptional circumstances for you being married in Frensham, ie. you attended St Mary's Church of England (Aided) Infant school, Edgeborough Preparatory School and More House School.
If you believe you satisfy the requirements and would like us to be involved in celebrating your marriage, please complete the Wedding Request Form.
A Few words from the Rev’d Jane Walker…
Christian marriage is also called Holy Matrimony because, in the church, it is what is called a ‘Sacrament’. The word sacrament means ‘the disclosure of a mystery’. So in the sacrament of Holy Matrimony, the mystery of God’s love and blessing surround and infuse both the bride and groom who then enter the mystery of the relationship called marriage. The status of Holy Matrimony is the imitation of the relationship which God the Creator has with creation – that is a relationship of total togetherness of body, mind and spirit. However, we are all on a journey of reconciliation with God, realising and learning on the way that God is in us and through us always. We may be aware of this or not. This may be a revelation! So living is about learning that the presence of God is within all things and brings a depth to life together with meaning and purpose. Therefore marriage is really special and important not just for the bride and groom but also for society as a whole!
During the service, God is made present and is known through the telling of Christ’s teaching in a Bible story together with the liturgy (service words), devotional prayer and blessings. Everyone is encouraged to be part of this journey of prayerful learning.
Holy Matrimony is a public declaration. Your marriage ceremony conveys something important to the world at large about your hopes and aspirations for your marriage, and about your understanding and your commitment to being married.
Firstly, it suggests that you believe that there is a spiritual dimension to your relationship which is central to your commitment to one another.
Secondly, it suggests that the Christian ideal of a life-long loving and exclusively faithful relationship is what you aspire to.
Thirdly, it suggests you have a realistic view about the enormity/gravity of the promises you will make to each other, and acknowledge that you need God's help to keep those promises faithfully.
It is these underlying features of a marriage service in Church that make it distinctively different from a registry office wedding, in which there is no acknowledgement of a deity or of God’s binding love and blessing. Registry office marriage is simply legal marriage and does not concern itself with the holistic spiritual union which deepens relationship.
That is why in the church ceremony the legal part of marriage takes part after the sacrament as firstly you are married spiritually by the joining of hands and saying your vows in the presence of God. Accordingly, in the words of the church service, your families and friends publicly witness the promises you make to one another [and the giving and receiving of ring(s)] and pray for your future together.
The service as a whole acknowledges that the Trinity (which is the dynamic living relationship Father, Son and Holy Spirit demonstrating true ‘marriage’) has a place in your joint and joined lives. It encourages you always to remember that regardless of where or how healthy your relationship is with God, his love for you is limitless and God’s commitment to you is infinite and eternal.
Needless to say, it is our privilege and pleasure to convey God’s and our love to you on the journey to and through the marriage ceremony. We truly do get almost as excited as you!
What we have noticed is that those who have to make a qualifying connection by attending for a minimum period of six months, learn so much of what I have written above and are so relaxed at church that it makes their wedding day much less stressful and more connected and joyful. So may I respectfully suggest that if you are interested in being married in Frensham that you commit to attending church regularly. I write this because so many couples have commented about the difference attending church makes and that they learnt so much along the way. Many return regularly and also bring their new babies for baptism! We sincerely hope you will come and be part of God’s love and life at St Mary’s Church as your marriage progresses and your family grows..
With love and blessings, Jane (Vicar).
What You Need To Do and When
1. The first thing to do is to establish that you fulfil our requirements, and then complete and submit the Marriage Request Form. We would prefer at least 4 months’ notice.
2. An initial meeting will then be arranged with yourselves and the Vicar to confirm the time and date, and to ensure that a Priest is available to conduct the wedding and that it doesn't clash with prior bookings for the church. Do not confirm your reception bookings or have relatives book flights, etc until the date and time have been agreed.
At this time you will also be asked to complete a Banns form. This is a formal request for information about each of you which includes information on your names, ages, nationality, occupations, fathers' names and occupations, etc. It asks whether you have ever been married or baptised, and in the latter case where the baptism took place. You will need to provide this information. It is a formal requirement to see your passports. Please could you photocopy the information page and bring it to the initial meeting.
3. If either of you is not a British citizen/subject, you will be required to obtain a Common Licence permitting the marriage to take place, provided one of you has a qualifying connection to the Benefice of Frensham. In exceptional circumstances if neither of you have a qualifying connection, then a Special Licence is required from the Diocesan Registrar in London. This is a legal requirement and is in place of the reading of the Banns (see below). You will be advised how to proceed with this, if necessary.
4. If either of you lives outside the Benefice of Frensham you will need to complete a Banns form for the Vicar of the parish in which you reside. Your marriage cannot take place without a certificate from that Vicar saying your Banns have been read on three consecutive Sundays in his/her church.
5. Your intention to be married is announced in church (the reading of the Banns) on three consecutive Sundays during the three-month period before your wedding. It is requested that you attend Church on at least two out of three Sundays when your Banns are read.
6. You will be invited to the marriage preparation day, given for all wedding couples, where the Vicar will discuss aspects of the marriage relationship and what marriage could mean for you. For your wedding service you will be able to choose hymns or songs (usually 3) and a Bible reading and any other readings. The Vicar will help you understand the order of events on the wedding day, the content of the ceremony and the depth of meaning of this holy sacrament. After this, you can prepare your order of service, but it is requested that a draft be agreed by the Vicar and the Organist before printing. Ideally, this should happen at least three months before the wedding. Click here to download a draft Order of Service
7. The wedding rehearsal will be the evening before your wedding day at 6pm. It is helpful if other members of the bridal party are present for this rehearsal (ie. best man, bridesmaids, 2 witnesses, whoever is giving the bride away, anyone doing a reading, ushers, photographer if able). Please bring your orders of service.
8. On the day itself, you may well be nervous; this is quite normal! Hopefully, we will have set your anxieties about the service at rest and you can enjoy the occasion. You need not worry that you will forget what to do since we and your attendants will guide you through each part.
The signing of the Marriage Registers takes place after the Marriage Right and is an essential part of the legal requirements. This takes place in view of the congregation. You will require two witnesses who must be adults.
Photography, Music, Flowers
What it Costs (2021)
There are standard fees which are payable for the use of the church, the reading of the Banns, the clergyman's time, the organist, choir and the verger's skills.
Reading of Banns £31
Marriage Service £464
Marriage Certificate n/a as of 4.5.21
Total Fixed Fees £495
Verger’s Fee £40 (positions ‘no parking’ cones, rolls out wedding carpet,
gives out orders of service, helps direct late-comers
into church quietly, stops members of the general public
coming in during the service, helps set the church up for
the wedding, helps tidy up afterwards)
Banns Publication & Certificate £46 (only required if you are to be married elsewhere and require
your Banns to be read in St Mary’s)
Heating £25 Winter time only
Organist £125 (there is an additional Performance Rights fee of £75 if service is
The Organist's fee applies whether or not engaged for the wedding.
Bells (subject to availability) £180
Flowers See Wedding Flowers
Fixed Fees prepared by the Archbishops’ Council and valid from 1 January 2021
If any of your guests need wheelchair access, this is available via the Church Hall entrance behind the bell tower at the West side of the church.
Safe Travelling and Parking
Please make your guests aware of our guidance on safe travelling and parking
Wedding Request Form
If you have read the Wedding Information and believe you satisfy the requirements, please complete the Wedding Request Form here.