Getting Married in Church

Congratulations! Our very best wishes to you as you contemplate your wedding here with us at Walpole St Peter Church.

We hope that the following information helps you as you make your plans.

The first thing you need to do is to contact the vicar, Barbara Burton (on 01945 781228, email: to arrange an initial discussion. However, before this please take a few minutes to read the information below. There are some things needed to ensure you are eligible to be married at the Church. Please note that you do not have to be christened to be married in a Church of England church – it is commonly thought that this is a requirement, but it is not.

Proving Identity

Weddings in the Church of England are covered by the law of the land and the clergy have authority to marry couples under certain circumstances. It is a legal requirement for both parties to provide photographic evidence of their nationality to the minister who will preside at their wedding or who will be publishing Banns. Usually this will be a passport (or for some European citizens a national identity card), and in addition they must produce something else proving their place of residence, such as a current utility bill or bank statement. If the bride and groom cannot both produce evidence that they are British/European nationals, the couple will need to apply for a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate. Please speak with the vicar if you are unsure where you stand.

Getting Married by Banns

All weddings in England and Wales are preceded by the giving of a formal public notice of the couple’s intention to be married. In a register office this involves a notice being displayed for 28 days before the wedding. In a Church of England church the notice is usually given by ‘Banns’. The word ‘Banns’ comes from an old English word meaning ‘proclamation’. Publishing the Banns involves the Vicar (or whoever is presiding at the service) announcing during the Sunday service of the couple’s intention to marry, and inviting anyone to speak if they know of a legal reason why the wedding should not take place. The Banns are published on three consecutive Sundays prior to the wedding, no earlier than three months before the wedding takes place. 

Your right to be married - You have a right to marry in St Peter’s Church if:

•You are both over 18 (or over 16 with parental permission)

• One of you has a qualifying connection (see below). This is a connection with the Church or the Church’s geographical parish boundary. If you want to check which Church of England parish you live in now, or have lived in, go to where you can enter an address or post code and be directed to the entry for the relevant church.

If one or both of you is divorced you can still be married in church at the sole discretion of the minister who must follow guidelines set down by the Bishops of the Church of England. If this applies you will need to have a conversation with the vicar about the circumstances of the divorce to see if re-marriage is possible at St Peter’s Church. 

The Qualifying Connections

After the 1st October 2008 you can marry in a Church of England church of your choice, subject to the conditions above, if you can prove one or more of the following connections:

1. You were baptised in the church.

2. You were confirmed in or from the church.

3. A parent or grandparent of yours was married in the church.

4. You have had your usual place of residence in the parish of the church for at least 6 months during your lifetime.

5. One of your parents has had their usual place of residence within the parish of the church for at least 6 months during your lifetime.

6. You have regularly attended public worship at the church for at least 6 months.

8. One of your parents has regularly attended public worship at the church for at least 6 months during your lifetime.

Fees for weddings

Fees for weddings are divided into national and local fees. The national fees are set by the Church of England and apply in every church in England and Wales. They are usually reviewed on 1st January each year. Please check with the vicar to get the latest fees.