Legal Requirements for Weddings

Legal Requirements for Marriage in the Church of England

We welcome the opportunity for you to make your solemn promises to each other not just in front of your family and friends but also in the sight of God and with God's blessing.

You do not have to be a regular churchgoer to get married in the Church of England, neither must you have been baptised. But to be married in the Parish church you must fulfil one of the following:


1.        You or a close relative has or is living in the Parish.

2.        You regularly worship at the Church or are able to worship with us regularly in the six months before your wedding.


There are four ways of legally getting married in accordance with the rites of the Church of England:

1.  By publication of banns:

This is the most common way. Banns are usually read out in the parish church (or churches) on three consecutive Sundays during the three months prior to the marriage at the church you are being married in and at the churches in the parishes you live in. It is your responsibility to contact all the parish priests concerned to organise this. Publication of the banns of marriage means the public announcement by a minister or priest during Divine service that two people wish to marry, and an invitation to anybody who knows just cause or impediment to the union to declare it.

2.  By common licence.

3.  By special licence issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

4.  By the authority of a superintendent registrar's certificate without licence.

I will be able to let you know the most suitable method according to your particular circumstances.

For further information about the legal requirements for marriages in the Church of England, please read our article Marriages in England and Wales.