Can we get married at St John’s?

We are often asked about whether people can get married at St John’s. As a proprietary chapel in the Church of England, we function differently from most other Church of England churches. Our weddings are subject to the same laws as other Church of England churches, but our wedding licence is designed for those who either:

  • regularly attend St John’s or
  • have a close connection with it through e.g. previous regular attendance, or a parent or grandparent having previously been a member of St John’s. Unfortunately merely living nearby is not a close connection.

What is regular attendance?

Regular attendance is measured over a period of at least six months. If you wished to start coming to St John’s in order to marry here you would need to come regularly on Sundays more than once a month on average for at least six months before we could book the wedding. We would be delighted to welcome any couple who wished to do that.

What about local residents?

Unfortunately under the law of England and Wales there is no right to marry in a proprietary chapel simply through living nearby. This is different from other Church of England churches where there are a wide range of ways in which you can prove a qualifying connection with a church in order to marry there, including simply living in the parish without necessarily attending the church (see www.yourchurchwedding.org for more details). The reason this is not possible at St John’s is that we have no parish.

How do you support couples before and after their wedding?

We believe marriages work best when they are founded on the love that God has shown us in Jesus, and we want to help couples understand that love as they prepare for their marriage. We encourage those investigating Christian faith to attend Christianity Explored or one of our similar courses. We work closely with wedding couples to ensure they are well prepared for the wedding and also for all the changes that marriage will bring to their lives. We are here to support couples before and after marriage in prayer and in any other way that we can.

Can you read our banns?

We are additionally sometimes asked if we can read people’s banns of marriage when they are marrying elsewhere. In the same way as with weddings themselves, we can only do this for those who are already regularly attending the church or who are marrying here. As we are not a parish church, this does not replace the legal requirement for banns to be read in the church of the parishes where you reside and also where you will marry.

I have another question!

We’d love to hear from you if you want to discuss any aspect of this further. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Senior Minister Tom Watts ([email protected]) if you would like to do this.

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