Planning the ceremony

Couples usually meet with the pastor conducting the service beforehand to plan the ceremony and to discuss the meaning of marriage and love. In the meeting, you can plan the details of the order of service and complete the required paperwork with your pastor.

Before the service, you can also have a rehearsal with the best man, bridesmaids and any others who have a role in the ceremony.

Couples should notify the pastor of their choice of surname before the ceremony. You may choose to share one of your surnames, keep your original surnames or decide to use your birth surname before a shared surname. The chosen surname is the name that any children of the marriage will have.

You should also decide if you want an announcement of your marriage made public at worship and published in church notices. When a marriage is announced, the congregation can pray for the couple. The couple’s names can be announced at the service on the Sunday after a certificate of no impediment has been issued, or on the Sunday after the wedding.

The cantor helps you decide on the music for the ceremony by discussing your wishes and offering suggestions. Please note that the choice of music should reflect the religious nature of the ceremony.

The verger will be able to introduce you to any local practices, show you the building, and discuss decorations and customs. 

Good to know

The wedding ceremony usually takes place in a church or a chapel, but it can also be conducted at home, a reception venue or another suitable place.

A church wedding can be a very simple affair: all that is required is a pastor, the couple and two witnesses. If the couple wishes, the ceremony can be conducted at the parish office, with parish employees acting as witnesses.

The choice of wedding venue should take into account the sanctity of worship and the special character of the ceremony. The couple may furnish their chosen venue with an altar covered with a white cloth and with candles, some flowers and a crucifix. There may be a place to kneel in front of the altar, as there would be in a church. 

To book a church, contact the parish office of the relevant parish. Please note that the date and time of a wedding can be affected by other scheduled events and weddings. It is therefore wise to allow plenty of time when booking a venue, especially if the wedding is to take place in the spring or the summer. As a rule, parishes give priority to their own members in allocating venues and dates.