March 02, 2022

How to have a church wedding at Elmore

How to have a church wedding at Elmore
Steph Newton
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We are so very lucky with wedding options at The Court, it's not just civil ceremonies which are easily put together here... Just a mile down the road is St John The Baptist church, known as the prettiest in England.

The lovely Richard and Liz of Elmore church will be joining us at our upcoming wedding fair to talk to you all in more depth about church weddings, but for those of you who can't attend here's a little Q & A with them on getting married in a church, the requirements, and how it's done...

It's not as complicated as you might have thought!

England's prettiest church is Elmore in Gloucestershire. Here is is with greenery and white flowers at entrance for a wedding
Eve Dunlop

Church wedding requirements

You might have already had a little Google and been a bit worried by the complicated requirements of marrying in a church outside your Parish, but Vicar Richard is here to put your mind at ease...

Requirements can sound complicated, and we have many couples calling who have already decided it's going to be too complicated! But the best thing to do is get in touch with us as soon as possible for a chat as 99% of the time it's not.

Once we've had an initial chat we then arrange a face to face meeting with myself either in person if possible, or if not over Zoom.

At this meeting we can fill out the application form together and that takes care of any initial concerns straight away and sets you well on the way to getting married here in the church!

Church entrance decorated for a wedding at elmore in Gloucestershire UK
Steph Newton

Do we have to be baptised or christened?

Richard: Quite simply, no!

It is your legal right to get married in your Parish church (and once you've attended 6 times you are considered part of the parish... We'll get onto that later.)

You do not have to be baptised, Christened, or even part of the same religion.

We welcome all who wish to marry here, and we would like to make it as easy as possible

Bridesmaids and mother of bride walk up the path to the church holding bouquets in the air happily
Charlie Daily

How do we secure a church wedding date?

Liz: Available dates are the number one question couples have when they first talk to me about their church wedding.

We will happily book you in for your choice of wedding date- if it's available!

Realistically we're looking at 2024 now, especially if you also want your reception at Elmore Court of course.

It's best to start planning as early as possible, since the pandemic there has been a huge backlog in weddings for all involved, and dates have been booked up well in advance.

Once you have decided on your wedding date we will take a non refundable deposit to hold it for you.

Flower girl and page boy enter the church through beautiful door vicar and bride follow
Eve Dunlop

How to get married in a church outside your parish

Every church has different rules around this so do make sure you get in touch with your local church and the church you are planning to marry at to check, but for us at Elmore this is how it works...

You need to build a 'qualifying connection' with Elmore church- this sounds quite scary but actually all this means is that you need to visit the church 6 times!

This can be done in the lead up to your wedding day, it's a lovely way to get to know the church, the area and to really feel a part of the parish before marrying here...

You can attend any 6 church services.

We hold morning and afternoon services here at Elmore each month on:

1st and 3rd Sundays of the month at 9.30am.

2nd and 4th Sundays of the month at 4pm.

 

You'll then need to organise your own reading of the banns with your local church.

This usually happens around 2 months before your wedding day- You need to get your banns read 3 consecutive times, and after that you'll get a certificate which you can show us and you'll be ready to marry! 

*You should check all this through with your local dioceses as different parishes can vary*

England's prettiest church at a wedding ceremony in Elmore, golden light lights up the stained glass windows as guests sit waiting for the bride and groom to arrive
Eve Dunlop

What if we're based overseas?

If you are both British citizens then the same rules apply; you can build a qualifying connection by attending the church 6 consecutive times.

If you are not British citizens it's not through banns read- there is a different procedure and it has to be done via the council...

You'll need to obtain what's known as a superintendent registrar's certificate or SRMS which proves you are legally allowed to marry in the UK.

The best thing to do if you're unsure is just to get in touch with us here at the church by email and we can arrange a chat.

Couples travel from abroad to marry here often, sometimes due to family living here, sometimes they have a past connection with the parish of Elmore- but whatever the reason, we do always remind couples that a wedding is a legal ceremony, and there's nothing stopping you from having a lovely blessing in the church rather than the legal ceremony.

If you opt for a blessing, it can be conducted in much the same way as a wedding; the only real difference in wording is instead of 'promising' it is worded that you have already promised and now under the eyes of God you are blessing that promise...

This leaves you able to easily arrange a registry office wedding locally to you and then a blessing here with us.

We always try to say yes!

Bride and groom getting married in church in england
Steph Newton

What about second marriages in chruch?

If you've been married before this isn't a bar to being married in church.

You will need to show some paperwork- either a death certificate if your spouse has passed, or if you have divorced, you'll need to show your decree absolute.

If you have been married and divorced there is one extra step to your wedding planning- it's not a bar to having a church wedding though, just have a chat with us at the church about this and we will explain. 

Pretty church wedding bride and groom walk towards with stained glass window in background and atmospheric dim light
Eve Dunlop

What's a typical church wedding like?

We like to be flexible and accommodate couple's ideas, but here's a little idea of the typical timings of things:

The Rehearsal

On the day before the wedding (or a couple of days before) most couples like to do a rehearsal of the wedding service to feel confident in where to stand and sit and what to say on the big day.

Richard the Vicar will take the couple through the whole service and show them when to stand, sit and kneel during proceedings.

We will run through any last minute additions such as readings by friends and family, lighting candles for loved ones and music for the day. We can accommodate a lot of requests!

 

The big day

On the day there will be members of the church around to let in suppliers and meet and greet guests.

At 9am the florist will usually be let in to set up.

Members of the church are on hand to do odd jobs and show guests where to park.

Groomsmen give our order of service.

Guests enter church.

The Wedding service is still often held at midday but you can now legally hold a wedding at anytime between 8am and 6pm, so if you would prefer a candlelit church ceremony you can!

After the wedding service the couple and guests will head outside for confetti and photos before departing for Elmore Court.

 

 

Confetti thrown on bride and groom leaving church as a married couple in elmore UK
Steph Newton
Bride and groom in middle of wedding service at pretty church at Elmore in gloucestershire
Eve Dunlop
Bride and groom look lovingly at each other at their beautiful church wedding ceremony in England's prettiest church in Elmore, Gloucestershire
Steph Newton
Couple hold hands to sing hymn as part of wedding service in the church
Steph Newton
Candlelit church wedding with stained glass looking beautiful in elmore gloucester uk
Alistair Freeman
Beautiful church doorway looks out to guests waiting to throw confetti at a wedding in the uk
Steph Newton
Journal
Couple serious in their church service wedding in elmore
Eve Dunlop
Just married Bride and groom kiss outside prettiest church in England- Elmore in Gloucestershire
Ana Parker
Couple light candles as part of their church wedding service
Eve Dunlop
flower girl walking down aisle at church wedding in england
Eve Dunlop
Couple leave church as newlyweds from englands prettiest church
Eve Dunlop
pretty church entrance greenery for wedding
Steph Newton
Vicar walks down aisle at wedding church elmore
Bride and father walk towards church excitedly on wedding day
Ana Parker
Couple hold hands with vicar behind them at church wedding in elmore england
Eve Dunlop
Hymn as part of a wedding service
James Fear
Englands prettiest church to get married is in gloucestershire
Steph Newton
Happy newlyweds laugh and smile leaving church at elmore gloucestershire
Eve Dunlop
Signing the register at church wedding
Elmore church the prettiest church in the UK
England's prettiest church at a wedding ceremony in Elmore, golden light lights up the stained glass windows as guests sit waiting for the bride and groom to arrive
Eve Dunlop
Readings by family as part of wedding service in elmore church
Bride walking towards church at elmore
Steph Newton

Can we write our own vows?

You will need to say the legal vows as in all legal church weddings which are:

I (name) take you (name)
to be my wife/husband
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,
according to God’s holy law.

In the presence of God I make this vow

 

These vows are unique promises to be made in front of God which is part of what makes a church wedding so special.

If you are having a church blessing the words you will say are:

I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage.

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 

 

If you are going to have a reception at Elmore Court you could then have a further ceremony with your own vows to share in front of family and friends.

Beautiful church doorway looks out to guests waiting to throw confetti at a wedding in the uk
Steph Newton

Can we have a same sex wedding or civil ceremony in the church?

Very sadly from our point of view under current church law we are unable to conduct or bless same sex marriages in church.

A civil ceremony is a non religious legal wedding which we do not conduct in church.

Religious ceremony in church Vicar behind couple who are smiling holding hands in church
Steph Newton

How to start planning a church wedding

The best place to start is with a friendly chat.

Liz and Richard will be on hand to talk all things church weddings at our next wedding fair, so come and talk to them whilst they're here.

You can also visit the Elmore church website here.

Or get in touch with Liz and Richard on their dedicated weddings email here.

Confetti thrown on bride and groom leaving church as a married couple in elmore UK
Steph Newton

Thank you so much to Liz and Richard for doing this Q & A!

We hope it's been helpful and informative for you all. If you have any questions, please do get in touch with us (or them!)

Lots of love,

Team E 

xx

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