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 by Banns.

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.

A Banns Application form can be downloaded here and it would be helpful if you completed the form and brought it to your first interview.

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 priest 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 form and return it to the Rector 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 Rector 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 Rector 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 priest. 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. If the bride is late, we may well need to shorten the Service because of other commitments we may have that day.

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 over a five week period on a Sunday evening lasting about two hours for each session.

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

Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’

So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’

Song of Solomon 2.10-13, 8.6-7

My beloved speaks and says to me:
‘Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away;
for now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtle dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs, and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.’
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death, passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire, a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love all the wealth of one’s house, it would be utterly scorned.

Jeremiah 31.31-34

The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt – a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.

Tobit 8.4-8

When the parents had gone out and shut the door of the room, Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, ‘Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grant us mercy and safety.’ So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe.

Tobias began by saying, ‘Blessed are you, O God of our ancestors, and blessed is your name in all generations for ever.  Let the heavens and the whole creation bless you for ever. You made Adam, and for him you made his wife Eve as a helper and support. From the two of them the human race has sprung. You said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; let us make a helper for him like himself.”

I now am taking this kinswoman of mine, not because of lust, but with sincerity. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.’ 

And they both said, ‘Amen, amen.’

New Testament

Matthew 5:1-10

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and he taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst in the cause of righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’.

Mark 10:6-11

Jesus said, ‘From the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate’.

John 2:1-14

On the third day, there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’. And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come’. His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you’.

Now, standing nearby, there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water’. And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward’. So they took it.

When the steward had tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (although the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now’. Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

John 15:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes to make it bear more fruit. You have already been cleansed, by the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me, you can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch, and they wither. Such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples’.

John 15:9-12 (and possibly verses 16-17 also)

Jesus said to his disciples, ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and I abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

(you may also wish to read verses 16-17)

‘You did not choose me, I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that my Father may give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my commandment to you: love one another.

Romans 8.31-35, 37-39

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who dies, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 12.1-2, 9-13

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect. Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honour. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels,
but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal.
And if I have prophetic powers,
and understand all mysteries and all knowledge,
and if I have faith so as to remove mountains,
but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away all my possessions,
and if I hand over my body to be burned,
but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind.
Love is not envious, or boastful or arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful.
It does not rejoice in wrongdoing,
but rejoices in the truth.
It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends.

But as for prophecies, they will come to an end.
As for tongues, they will cease;
as for knowledge, it will come to an end.
So faith, hope, love abide, these three;
and the greatest of these is love.

Colossians 3: 12-17

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another; and if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ reign in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Philippians 4:4-9

Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received, and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

1 John 3:18-24

Little children, let us love in deed and in truth, and not merely talk about it. This is our way of knowing we are committed to the truth, and are at peace before him, no matter what our consciences may charge us with; for God is greater than our hearts and all is known to him. Beloved, if our consciences have nothing to charge us with, we can be sure of this; that God is with us and that we will receive at his hands whatever we ask. Why? Because we are keeping his commandments, and doing what is pleasing in his sight. His commandment is this: we are to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and we are to love one another as he commanded us. Those who keep his commandments remain in him and he in them. And this is how we know that he remains in us: from the Spirit that he gave us.

1 John 4: 7-12

Beloved, let us love one another because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten of God and has knowledge of God. The one without love has known nothing of God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed in our midst in this way:he sent his only Son to the world, so that we might have life through him. Love, then, consists in this: not that we have loved God, but that he has loved us, and has sent his Son as an offering for our sins. Beloved, if God has loved us so, we must have the same love for one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet if we love one another God dwells in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.

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 Rector. 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 Rector.

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.

Hymns for the Wedding Service

Alleluya, sing to Jesus
And did those feet (Jerusalem)
At the name of Jesus
Be still for the presence of the Lord
Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
Come down, O Love divine
Father, hear the prayer we offer
For the beauty of the earth
Give me joy in my heart (Sing Hosanna)
Glorious things of thee are spoken
Guide me, O thou great Redeemer
I cannot tell (Londonderry Air/ Danny Boy)
I the Lord of Sea and Sky
Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us
Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy
Love divine, all loves excelling
Now thank we all our God
O Jesus, I have promised
O worship the King
O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness
Praise, my soul, the King of heaven
Seek ye first the kingdom of God
Tell out, my soul, the greatness of the Lord
The King of love my Shepherd is

Favourite Wedding Music

There are CDs available with recordings of wedding music which may help you to make a choice before discussing music with Rector. Below is a list of favourite wedding music. Please note that while our organist can play most of this music it may not sound the same as on a CD, due to the limitations of our organ. If you want a particular piece to sound the same as the CD you might like to consider playing the CD through our sound system.


Title (Composer)

Bridal March from Lohengrin (Wagner)
Te Deum Prelude (Charpentier)
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (Handel)
Trumpet Voluntary (Clarke)
Gavotte (Boyce)
Trumpet Tune and Air (Purcell)
Jesu, Joy of man's desiring (JS Bach)
March from Scipio (Handel)
Sheep may safely graze (JS Bach)
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor (JS Bach)
Air and Suite No. 3 in D (
JS Bach)
Ave Maria (Schubert)
St Anthony Chorale (Haydn)
March from Occasional Oratorio (Handel)
Largo from Serse (Handel)
Wedding March (Mendelssohn)
Badinerie, Second Orchestral Suite (JS Bach)
Siciliano, Second Flute Sonata (JS Bach)
Nimrod from Enigma Variations (Elgar)
Chanson de Matin (Elgar)
Toccata (Symphony No. 5) (Widor)


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 C90 cassette 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.