FAQs about getting married at St. Albright’s

The legal bits

Qualifying to be married at St Albright’s

If one or both of you lives in the parish

If either of you lives in Stanway, you are entitled by law to be married at St Albright’s after Banns have been called.

Banns of Marriage have to be read on three consecutive Sundays, and at St Albright’s, they are read during the Parish Eucharist at 10.30am. We will let you know the dates beforehand.

Although you don’t have to be present to hear them called, you may enjoy hearing your names read out in church.


If only one of you lives in the parish and your partner lives in another, you can get married here, but your Banns have to be called both at St Albright’s and in the parish where your partner lives.

It’s your responsibility to make sure that your Banns are called in the parish where you live if it’s somewhere other than St Albright’s. To prove that your Banns have been called in the other parish, we will ask you to give us a Banns Certificate, which you can get from the minister of that parish. This needs to be given to us at least one week before your wedding. You can find out which parish you live in by going to www.acny.org.uk/parishmap.php.

If you don’t live in St Albright’s parish

If neither of you lives in the parish St Albright’s, you can still qualify to get married by Banns if you either have a qualifying historical connection with the parish (which is explained below) or you qualify to go onto the electoral roll of St Albright’s by one or both of you attending public worship at this church regularly for at least six months. After the six months has elapsed, you can complete an electoral roll application form and return it to the Administrator to get onto the electoral roll. Your request will then be published in church and placed before the next monthly PCC (Parish Church Council) meeting.

Qualifying Historical Connection

A person has a Qualifying Connection with a parish if:

• that person:

1. was baptised in the parish. (This does not apply where the baptism formed part of a combined service of baptism or confirmation); or

2. had his or her confirmation entered in a church register book of a church or chapel in the parish; or

3. has at any time had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or

4. has at any time habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months;

5. a parent of that person has at any time during that person’s lifetime: had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months;

6. a parent or Grandparent of that person was married in the parish.

Evidence in the form of a statuary declaration will need to be produced before the wedding can be booked. (A form is available from the Rector)

Marriage by licence

Marriage by licence is for those who cannot fulfil the above requirements or who are foreign nationals. Please ask the Minister if you think you may need to be married by licence.

If one or both of you has been divorced

It is possible, under certain conditions to be married after divorce. The Minister will want to discuss with you how the previous marriage went wrong and the needs and concerns of any children from a previous marriage or relationship. If he agrees to marry you then you can be married by banns under the same qualifying conditions as above. He will need to see a certified copy of your Decree Absolute – a Decree Nisi is not acceptable.

If you are not members of the Church of England

People of all denominations have the right to be married in their parish church. If one of you is not a Christian, then it may still be possible for you to get married at St Albright’s but you must have the normal Christian service.

What form of Service should we have?

Three forms of Marriage Service are authorised by the Church of England, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the 1928 Revised Prayer Book, and 2001 Common Worship. The first two are written in an older form of English, and the difference between them and the last is not just the language used but, more importantly, in the emphasis of what marriage is for. It may be that some people are attracted to the ‘old’ language but the emphasis there is on the transfer of property, while the 2001 Service is based on the relationship of love between the couple – it is the one we recommend. Whether the words are old or modern, the service will be conducted with beauty, dignity and warmth.

Do we need to have an Order of Service sheet?

Copies of the full Marriage service are given to your guests as they arrive and collected at the end of the service. Most couples like to have a service sheet that guest can take away, but the printing need not be of the expensive kind, it can be photocopied.

The Order of Service includes details of the music and readings as well as words of hymns and any prayers that the congregation will say. The hymns you choose should be taken from those in the hymn books in the church. Words and the number of verses of hymns can vary so please be careful of versions downloaded from the Internet as they may be set to match different tunes. We can email you the words of hymns. Do please remember to print an extra 2 copies for use by the clergy and organist.

Does the bride have to be ‘given away’? If so, must it be done by her father?

The answer is no, it isn’t necessary for anyone to give the bride away. Sometimes a member of the family walks down the aisle with the bride; some couples these days meet one another just inside the entrance of the church and walk down the aisle together.

Do you have any advice about bridesmaids and pageboys?

If possible avoid having very young bridesmaids and pageboys. The under fives are easily overwhelmed by the occasion, making them either terrified or dominating of the whole proceedings. By all means have them dressed up and part of the photographs, but during the service we suggest they sit with their parents.

Should we have ushers?

Ushers are needed to hand out service sheets, any buttonholes, show people to their seats and generally look after people. After the service they are needed to check that no cameras and other belongings have been left behind in the pews. Our Verger will also be on duty at the wedding.

Does our marriage have to be witnessed?

Yes, by two people who are over the age of 18 and who understand English. Being present at the service, they sign the registers along with the bride, the groom and the officiating minister. Please note, the bride must sign in her maiden name. All signatures should be legible.

Will there be a rehearsal before our wedding day?

Yes, usually at 8pm at the church in the week before the wedding.

When should the bride, groom and ushers arrive?

The bridegroom and best man should arrive at least twenty minutes before the service. The ushers should also arrive at least thirty minutes before the service to give out service sheets. While it is traditional for the bride’s party to sit on the left and the groom’s on the right, this does not have to be the case; it is usually easier to have everyone sitting together. The bride and bridesmaids, page boys etc. should arrive no later than five minutes before the Service. This gives time for photos to be taken on arrival and to have a quiet moment in the porch to calm last minute nerves! If you are using cars between home and church, please remember to allow plenty of time in case of traffic hold ups. Although many people see it as 'tradition' for the bride to be late, if she is, If the we may well need to shorten the Service because of other commitments we may have that day, and in some circumstances cancel the service.

Can photographs be taken during the marriage service?

Your official photographer will need to speak to the clergy before the service to agree where photographs are allowed.

Guests are not permitted to take photographs during the service. This is a very special and sacred moment in your lives and the flashing and clicking of cameras is distracting in a very intrusive way. There will be an opportunity for informal pictures and brief, formal poses with flash if wanted during the signing of the registers. Once the Service is over, photographs can be taken of you leaving the church and – of course – outside.

Are we allowed to have the service recorded by video camera or tape recorder?

Yes, provided your video and/or audio recordist has undertaken a copyright agreement with us before the Service. This means collecting a form from us and returning it signed before the wedding. There is a charge for this to cover the copyright fee of the organist . The video recordist should arrive in good time before the wedding so he or she can discuss with the clergy, where it is best to stand.

How long will the church service last?

Usually between 35 and 45 minutes, depending on how many readings and hymns you have. Great care is taken over the timing of Services so it is extremely important that you arrive on time.

Can our guests throw confetti?

Confetti is not permitted inside or outside the church, you may use rose petals provide they are natural and undyed .We recommend the use of bubbles as a good alternative to confetti.

Is there room for parking?

Parking is available in the car park of St Mary’s School next door to the church. Please do not park in Church Lane or outside the church.

Marriage Preparation Course

We consider marriage preparation an essential part of a wedding at St Albright’s and expect all couples to attend. In the case of second marriages attendance is mandatory. Our Marriage Preparation Course is usually run held on a Saturday in February.

Readings & Music for your Wedding

There is a space in the wedding service for two readings, one of which must be from the Bible. Frequently, couples choose to have one Biblical reading and one non-Biblical. Here are some suggestions for Bible readings.

Old Testament

  • Genesis 1.26-28
  • Song of Solomon 2.10-13, 8.6-7
  • Jeremiah 31.31-34

New Testament

  • Matthew 5:1-10
  • Mark 10:6-11
  • John 2:1-14
  • John 15:1-8
  • John 15:9-12 (and possibly verses 16-17 also)
  • Romans 8.31-35, 37-39
  • Romans 12.1-2, 9-13
  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Colossians 3: 12-17
  • Philippians 4:4-9
  • 1 John 3:18-24
  • 1 John 4: 7-12

Wedding music

Music is always a matter of personal taste. At St Albright’s, we are keen to help you choose music that is right for your wedding. Whether you decide that the music should be simple, or more elaborate, the choice of hymns and entry and exit pieces are very much up to you in consultation with the Minister. CDs of wedding music are available in the shops and may help give you some ideas. Hymns and tunes can also be found on the internet. However, be warned, some are American web sites and some of the tunes and words they give may be unfamiliar!

If you have no idea what you want or are totally confused by what is available, we can suggest suitable pieces.

Before the Service starts, the organist will play about ten minutes of music as the guests arrive. Please let us know if there is something you would particularly like to be played at this point.

We recommend that you choose a short processional piece for the entry of the bride and something suitably happy and jolly for when you leave the church. We don’t advise popular film or pop music because it really doesn’t suit a church service and can spoil the occasion.

You might also like to choose music to be played or sung during the Signing of the Registers - a piece lasting about six or seven minutes is enough.

Some couples have a soloist at their wedding. This may be a singer, or perhaps a instrumentalist. Please tell us if this is the case, as they will generally need to rehearse beforehand. If you want your own organist to play (rather than ours) the full organist’s fee is still payable to St Albright’s. Your choice of organist is subject to the approval of the Minister.

Above all, enjoy choosing your wedding music. Don’t be shy of having something that is well known - or very different - we will carefully consider your suggestions. We are here to help and to make sure your music enriches your wedding service. Do please ask us for any help you may need.


We normally provide two flower arrangements (a contribution to the cost is included in your fee). But we would be delighted if you wish to decorate the church for your wedding yourself. Here are a few guidelines to ensure that flowers enhance the service rather than dominate or obscure, and are safely positioned.

Please remember that the church is a place of worship so we ask that all flower arrangements should be left in church after the wedding for the glory of God. The only time wedding flowers may be removed immediately after the wedding service is during the penitential seasons of Lent and Advent (when flowers are traditionally discouraged) or by prior arrangement with the Rector.

You will need to consult with our Flower rota organiser about colour schemes, especially if the is more than one wedding on the same day. If a wedding takes place immediately before one of our church’s festivals, the colour scheme will be dictated by that festival.

Flowers may be put in the following places
A pedestal arrangement either side of the Chancel steps where the bride and groom are married. These arrangements have to be moved after the service, before Sunday, and so they must not be too big because they have to be carried by one person.

Larger pedestal arrangements may be placed on the left of the altar and in the doorway at the back of the church.

Pew ends can be placed on any of the pews if they are the ‘hook over’ type. On no account may pew ends be pinned or taped to the pews with any kind of sticky tape as it damages the wood.

Flowers may NOT be put in the following places:

On or in front of the altar
On the font

There are several pedestals in the church which florists and families are welcome to use. If a florist wishes to bring in special pedestals for the occasion, the florist must arrange to return later in the week to collect them.

Video recording the service

If permission is granted to record the service, the following conditions must be observed:

1. The camera (or cameras) shall not intrude or interfere with the conduct of the service in any way.

2. The church sound system shall not be altered or changed in any way. This includes moving any of the fixed microphones.

3. If the video recording includes sound recording and radio microphones are to be used, they must have frequencies which avoid the channels used by the church system.

4. It is possible to make an audio cassette recording of the service using the church sound system. Prior arrangements must be made and a suitable recording medium supplied.

5. Alternatively, it may be possible to supply a feed from the church amplifier, provided arrangements are made well in advance and the systems are compatible.

Please note that the church accepts no responsibility for any problems with the recording.

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