Wedding couple

So you want to be married in one of our churches?

The decision to be married is one of the most important you will ever make. Whether you are a regular church goer or not, being married in Church is for many people something that makes the occasion extra special. You will be making your vows in a place where people have made such promises over many centuries – a place steeped in history – as well as in the sight of God.

We are delighted that you are considering being married in one of our four beautiful churches, and will do all we can to make you feel welcome and at home here. In most cases, we hope to be able to say ‘yes’ to your request, and then to guide you through the process.

This page contains information that we hope will be of use to you in exploring whether this is the right place for your wedding and in planning your wedding here. It covers the following topics:

Select a category below for more information.

Who can be married in these churches

The right to be married in Church.

If you are British and have not been married before (or if a previous marriage ended with the death of your spouse) then a man and woman usually have the right to be married in the Church of England. Contrary to popular belief, you to do not have to be a regular church goer, or baptised, although you do have to accept that the form of service used will be a Christian service, authorised by the Church of England.

This right is to be married either in the parish church in the place where you live, or in a church with which you have what is called a ‘qualifying connection.’ What this means is outlined below.

If you have been married before and divorced.

If this is the case, then you will need to speak to the Priest-in-Charge, and to the person who you want to take the service (if this is a different priest). A priest has the right to refuse to marry in Church those who have been previously married and divorced, which means that some churches may allow this whilst others do not. In this Benefice, the policy is that we are willing to agree to your marriage in church, subject to a few preliminary enquiries, and to the agreement of the priest who will take the service. You will be given an application form which explains the Church’s position on this issue and asks for some details of your previous marriage. If it is not possible to agree to marry you in Church, it is usually still possible to have a Church Blessing after a civil marriage. The service is very similar to the marriage service.

What if I don’t live in the parish?

There may be many reasons why you choose to be married in a different church to the one nearest to your home. You may do this if you have some connection with the church in which you wish to be married. There are a number of circumstances that would constitute such a connection, which are listed below.

What is a qualifying connection?

You are deemed to have a ‘qualifying connection’ with a parish if one of you:

– was baptised in the parish

– was confirmed or prepared for confirmation in the parish

– now lives or has in the past lived in the parish for at least 6 months

– has habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months;

Or if the parent(s) of one of you:

– has regularly attended services there for at least 6 months since you were born

– has lived in the parish for at least 6 months since you were born

– was married in the church – this also applies to the church where your grandparents married.

What if I have no such connection?

Then we can create one! Many of the conditions relate to the past, but the expectation that you attend the church for at least 6 months (and are thereby eligible for membership of the electoral roll of the Church) is one that is about what happens now. Provided you are thinking about this soon enough, we are willing to marry you in one of these churches if you attend worship at least once a month over a period of 6 months. Our service times and places are noted in this pack. Even if you have another connection, we would love to see you in the weeks before your wedding, and it will help you to be familiar with the church building before the big day.

If either you or your partner is not a British national

You can still be married in the Church of England subject to some specific preliminary checks which take the place of the calling of banns. This is for legal reasons, to ensure there is no reason why you cannot be married. There is a local clergy person (called a ‘Surrogate’ as they are doing this on behalf of The Chancellor of the Diocese) appointed by the church to deal with these enquiries. In this area, it is The Revd Christina Bennett in Henfield. She can be contacted on or on 01273 492222. The forms must be completed within 3 months of your wedding – but contact her in advance so that this can be arranged, and any potential problems can be identified.

You will still need to have a qualifying connection as outlined above.


You are welcome here. The church does not belong to the priest or only to those who attend regular services; it is for everyone – including you.

If this talk of conditions and qualifying connections puts you off or is hard to understand, contact us at and one of the team will respond.


What will it Cost?

Fees for Weddings and Wedding Blessings 2017

Fees for weddings are set nationally, and subject to increase each year by a small amount. So please note that if you are planning a wedding a year ahead, these rates may well be slightly increased. Please note that these fees do NOT include payment of the organist, any choir, or for flowers in the Church.


Banns have to be read in the place where you are to be married and also in the place (or places, if you live separately) where you live, if this is different. Each will charge £29. In addition, the parish or parishes in which you live will charge £14 for the certificate that will be given to you to say that banns have been read there.

Marriage Service.

The cost of the marriage service is £455, plus £4 for the marriage certificate (£10 if you need a copy at a later date). These fees are national ones set down by law.
The fee for the certificate may increase from April 2019
The cost of the banns adds another £30 to this.   Total £489 in 2019.

You will also have to budget for an organist (£80- £90 – this may be doubled if there is a video) and for flowers (see separate sheet about how these can be arranged and the costs if we do them).

If you will want to video record the ceremony, you will need to obtain a licence for this, and show a copy to the person conducting the service. You can obtain this on line. Go to then the tab at top ‘I am using music’ and then ‘Music licenses for recorded music’, then ‘CDs and Vinyls’ ‘then click ‘Limited Manufacture Licence’ which says it is for weddings amongst other things. You will have to enter your details. Prices for 5 copies of a Limited Manufacture licence are currently £24 (but see website for details).

We also ask for £10 to attend the marriage preparation event (£5 each to cover lunch) – payable on the day, please.


Paying the fees.

Fees should be paid before the service takes place. Fees for Banns for the church/es in the place where you live must be paid to them before a certificate will be given. Our fees can be paid to the Priest in Charge in cash, by cheque, or on line (ask for details). In 2019, this is £489 (£455 + £4 + £30 for the banns).

If a retired (unpaid) or visiting cleric takes the service, then the fees need to be split between the vicar and the church: £227 to the priest concerned and £269 (service, banns and one copy of marriage certificate) to the Church concerned ( Edburton PCC).

Blessing of Marriage – an alternative applicable in very few situations

This service is very similar to a full marriage service, and involves a similar amount of time (in terms of preparation etc) from the point of view of the person taking it. In this Benefice, it has been agreed that we will ask for a donation of £250. There are no other fees (e.g. banns). Organist, flowers and other charges will apply as for a wedding service. The whole amount is payable to the Church (e.g. Poynings PCC).

What are Banns?


Banns are an old fashioned way of finding out whether there are any objections to your marriage. They date from the time when everyone in a community knew about everyone else, and when they all went to church on Sunday. Nevertheless, they are still a legal requirement before you can be married in the Church of England, except where a special licence is obtained
The newer version of the wording is as follows:
I publish the banns of marriage between
Timothy Smith of St John’s, Hove and
Jane Jones of St Andrew’s, Stoke of Trent.
This is the first/ second/ third time of asking.
If any of you know any reason in law why they may not marry each other, you are to declare it.
A prayer is then offered for those whose banns have been read.

Where they have to be read

Banns must be read in the place – or places – where you live, and in the place where you are to be married. In this Benefice, we do not have a service every Sunday in each church, so they are read at least once in the actual church where you will be married and twice in that or another church of the Benefice, depending on the dates.

This can mean that three sets if Banns are required. It is your responsibility to approach the vicar/s of the church/es where you live to arrange for him or her to read the banns there. A certificate will be given to you (for a fee) and this must be given to the priest taking your wedding before you can be married. We can help you to identify your nearest church and the contact details for the vicar if you wish – alternatively look on the Church of England website ( and insert your postcode into ‘a church near you’.

How often and when they are read

Banns must be read three times at the main Sunday service within 3 months of your wedding. The Sundays do not have to be consecutive, and it is usually wise to leave a week or so between the last reading of the banns and the actual wedding date. Banns in the place where you live are often read a bit sooner so that the certificate is ready for collection.

Do I have to be there?

No, but many couples like to be. We will tell you when and where they will be read and if you wish to be present, you will be most welcome. But the banns are valid whether you attend or not. They are often read at the start of a service, so don’t be late!

Planning the service

The starting point

We will provide you with a pack, in which you will find a copy of the standard order of service for a wedding. If yours is to be a wedding blessing, please ask and we will give you the standard order of service.

Making the service your own

Whether yours is a wedding service, or a wedding blessing, the standard order of service is then adapted to suit you – by adding your chosen music, hymns and readings. Also, certain aspects of the service (but not all) can be adapted. For example, some couples like to include the traditional words of ‘giving away’, whilst others do not. Additional prayers can be included – for those who have recently died, for example.
These are things that the Priest taking your service will discuss with you. You will need to have several meetings to sort out the details.

What if I want a different priest to take the service?

Perhaps you have a relative or friend who is a priest qualified to take a wedding service in the Church of England? This is not usually a problem, and can make for a service that is very personal. Please discuss this with the Priest in Charge early in the process, and we can decide together who will take which parts of the service for you.

Things you will need to consider

The following is a list of things you are likely to need to choose:
– 2 readings (one must be from the Bible)
– 2 or 3 hymns
– entry and exist music
– who will be your witnesses
– music during the signing of the register

To help you get started

Often people need some help choosing Bible readings and hymns. This pack includes a sample of Bible passages that are suitable for a wedding and a list of hymns and music that you might consider. There are also a number of secular readings that have been used. ‘Bride’ Magazines sometimes give away free CDs of wedding music – use these or the internet to listen to some examples. All this – and any special requests – can then be discussed with the Priest taking your service. A useful ‘Ceremony Planner’ facility is also available online at – follows links through  ‘weddings’.

Marriage preparation

Why do I need any preparation?

Getting married is about more than planning one day. Apart from planning the details of your service, the Priest taking your service is likely to offer some form of ‘marriage preparation’. However long you and your partner have been together, getting married is a big step for you both, and it is worth spending some time thinking about what it means in the long term as well as planning the details of the wedding day.

Forms that Marriage Preparation may take.

Forms of marriage preparation vary – in larger parishes this is often arranged on a group basis. Each priest, and each parish, is likely to do things differently.

This Benefice has joined with other parishes in the local area to offer a morning event for all couples with weddings booked in the coming year. This is in addition to the meetings that you will have with the priest to plan your own wedding.

This Marriage Preparation event is held twice a year – probably in February and May. It will be on a Saturday morning (10am – 12.30 followed by a sandwich lunch) and will take place in a local church (not necessarily the one in which you will be married.) Through work in pairs and small groups, we will look in a fairly light-hearted but also thought provoking way at some common issues within marriage. As some popular TV shows demonstrate, there is often a lot we don’t know about our partner, however long we have been together. Apart from being fun, we hope that this session will help you to begin to explore a variety of issues with each other – exploration that is of course a life long process. We will also ask you to reflect together on the meaning of the vows that you will make during the service. We do encourage you both to attend this event for which a small charge (£5 each to cover refreshments) will be made.Marriage Preparation dates for 2017 are Saturday 4th March and Saturday 20th May

Resources available.

There are some good books available to help you to think about Christian marriage and what it means in today’s context. The following book is recommended:
Parsons, Rob (1997) The Sixty Minute Marriage, Hodder and Stoughton

A final word…

It may not seem very appropriate to think about this when you are just planning your wedding, but do remember that RELATE will offer counselling to couples at all stages of a relationship. Planning a wedding can itself be something that drives people apart – do seek help sooner rather than later if you need it.

Practilaties: Organist, Flowers, Bells and Parking

Coming Soon

Orders of service, Rehearsal, Photography and confetti

Orders of Service

 These are the sheets given to your guests which list the hymns and show what is happening in the service. You need to arrange for these to be printed by a local firm (though many people do their own). They should be available at least a few days before the wedding, and brought to the church the evening before – or for the rehearsal, whichever is sooner.

Examples are available on request – some include a minimum (the parts of the service and words of hymns) whilst others may include the words of the readings and list of people involved in the wedding. We can offer advice on the minimum that should be included.

The words of hymns are copyright, but the churches have paid for a license to enable you to reproduce them for your wedding. To comply with legal requirements, service sheets must contain the following sentence to acknowledge this:

            ‘Hymns are reproduced under CCL licence no ……..’

For Edburton and Poynings, the license number is 2433146

For Pyecombe and Newtimber, it is 2433153. 


A rehearsal will usually be held one evening in the week before the wedding. The ‘key players’ should be there if possible – such as Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Best Man, Ushers, Bride’s father and anyone reading in church. Not all priests hold a rehearsal.

The rehearsal is a chance to walk through what will be happening in the church, and may help to alleviate some nerves! It also gives you a chance to hear how your voices carry (or not!) and so to maximise the day itself. It helps if the orders of service are available for the rehearsal.


 You should discuss your plans for photos with the Priest taking the service. In relation to photos during the service, we are usually able to agree a programme with you and your photographer that is not too obtrusive. If you want to have a video – whether taken by a professional or a family member, please see the advice given on Sheet 2 ‘What will it cost?’ You will need to obtain a licence, and organists’ fees may also be increased.

Of course you may take photos of any kind after the ceremony outside the church.


Biodegradable, please, and outside the church, away from the porch.

NB metallic confetti and streamers are NOT allowed, please advise your guests.

Bible Readings suitable for a Wedding

Old Testament and Apocrypha

Genesis 1:26-28Genesis 1:26-28
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

26 God said, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures.” : . 27 So God created humans to be like himself; he made men and women. : . : ; . 28 God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth.

WP-Bible plugin

Genesis 2:18-24Genesis 2:18-24
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

18 The Lord God said, “It isn't good for the man to live alone. I need to make a suitable partner for him.” 19-20 So the Lord took some soil and made animals and birds. He brought them to the man to see what names he would give each of them. Then the man named the tame animals and the birds and the wild animals. That's how they got their names. None of these was the right kind of partner for the man. 21 So the Lord God made him fall into a deep sleep, and he took out one of the man's ribs. Then after closing the man's side, 22 the Lord made a woman out of the rib. The Lord God brought her to the man, 23 and the man exclaimed, “Here is someone like me! She is part of my body, my own flesh and bones. She came from me, a man. So I will name her Woman!” a man...woman: In Hebrew the words “man” and “woman” are similar. 24 That's why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person. : ; ; ; .

WP-Bible plugin

Romans 7:1-2,9-18Romans 7:1-2,9-18
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

An example from marriage 7 1 My friends, you understand enough about law to know that laws only have power over people who are alive. 2 For example, the Law says that a man's wife must remain his wife as long as he lives. But once her husband is dead, she is free 9 Before I knew about the Law, I was alive. But as soon as I heard that command, sin came to life, 10 and I died. The very command that was supposed to bring life to me, instead brought death. 11 Sin used this command to trick me, and because of it I died. : . 12 Still, the Law and its commands are holy and correct and good. 13 Am I saying that something good caused my death? Certainly not! It was sin that killed me by using something good. Now we can see how terrible and evil sin really is. 14 We know that the Law is spiritual. But I am merely a human, and I have been sold as a slave to sin. 15 In fact, I don't understand why I act the way I do. I don't do what I know is right. I do the things I hate. : . 16 Although I don't do what I know is right, I agree that the Law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing these evil things. The sin that lives in me is what does them. 18 I know that my selfish desires won't let me do anything that is good. Even when I want to do right, I cannot.

WP-Bible plugin

Romans 8:31-35,37-39Romans 8:31-35,37-39
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

God's love 31 What can we say about all this? If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? 32 God did not keep back his own Son, but he gave him for us. If God did this, won't he freely give us everything else? 33 If God says his chosen ones are acceptable to him, can anyone bring charges against them? 34 Or can anyone condemn them? No indeed! Christ died and was raised to life, and now he is at God's right side, right side: The place of power and honour. speaking to him for us. 35 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, suffering, and hard times, or hunger and nakedness, or danger and death? 37 In everything we have won more than a victory because of Christ who loves us. 38 I am sure that nothing can separate us from God's love—not life or death, not angels or spirits, not the present or the future, 39 and not powers above or powers below. Nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord!

WP-Bible plugin

Romans 12:1,2,9-13Romans 12:1,2,9-13
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

How to live the new life of love Christ brings new life 12 1 Dear friends, God is good. So I beg you to offer your bodies to him as a living sacrifice, pure and pleasing. That's the most sensible way to serve God. 2 Don't be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. Rules for Christian living 9 Be sincere in your love for others. Hate everything that is evil and hold tight to everything that is good. 10 Love each other as brothers and sisters and honour others more than you do yourself. 11 Never give up. Eagerly follow the Holy Spirit and serve the Lord. 12 Let your hope make you glad. Be patient in time of trouble and never stop praying. 13 Take care of God's needy people and welcome strangers into your home.

WP-Bible plugin

Ephesians 4:1-6Ephesians 4:1-6
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

A new life in unity with Christ Unity with Christ 4 1 As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. : . 3 Try your best to let God's Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. 4 All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God's people. 5 We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. 6 There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.

WP-Bible plugin

Colossians 3:12-17Colossians 3:12-17
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

12 God loves you and has chosen you as his own special people. So be gentle, kind, humble, meek, and patient. : . 13 Put up with each other, and forgive anyone who does you wrong, just as Christ has forgiven you. : . 14 Love is more important than anything else. It is what ties everything completely together. 15 Each one of you is part of the body of Christ, and you were chosen to live together in peace. So let the peace that comes from Christ control your thoughts. And be grateful. 16 Let the message about Christ completely fill your lives, while you use all your wisdom to teach and instruct each other. With thankful hearts, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. : . 17 Whatever you say or do should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks to God the Father because of him.

WP-Bible plugin

Ephesians 3:14-21Ephesians 3:14-21
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

Christ's love for us 14 I kneel in prayer to the Father. 15 All beings in heaven and on earth receive their life from him. receive their life from him: Or “know who they really are because of him.” 16 God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers 17 and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. Stand firm and be deeply rooted in his love. 18 I pray that you and all God's people will understand what is called wide or long or high or deep. what is called wide or long or high or deep: This may refer to the heavenly Jerusalem or to God's love or wisdom or to the meaning of the cross. 19 I want you to know all about Christ's love, although it is too wonderful to be measured. Then your lives will be filled with all that God is. 20-21 I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will for ever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen.

WP-Bible plugin

Jeremiah 31:31-34Jeremiah 31:31-34
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

The new agreement with Israel and Judah 31 The Lord said: : ; ; ; ; . : . The time will surely come when I will make a new agreement with the people of Israel and Judah. 32 It will be different from the agreement I made with their ancestors when I led them out of Egypt. Although I was their God, they broke that agreement. 33 Here is the new agreement that I, the Lord, will make with the people of Israel: : . “I will write my laws on their hearts and minds. I will be their God, and they will be my people. 34 “No longer will they have to teach one another to obey me. I, the Lord, promise that all of them will obey me, ordinary people and rulers alike. I will forgive their sins and forget the evil things they have done.” : .

WP-Bible plugin


Matthew 5:1-10Matthew 5:1-10
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

The sermon on the mount 5 1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on the side of a mountain and sat down. sat down: Teachers in the ancient world, including Jewish teachers, usually sat down when they taught. Blessings Jesus' disciples gathered around him, 2 and he taught them: 3 God blesses those people who depend only on him. They belong to the kingdom of heaven! They belong to the kingdom of heaven: Or “The kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” 4 God blesses those people : . who grieve. They will find comfort! 5 God blesses those people : . who are humble. The earth will belong to them! 6 God blesses those people : . who want to obey him who want to obey him: Or “who want to do right” or “who want everyone to be treated right”. more than to eat or drink. They will be given what they want! 7 God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy! 8 God blesses those people : . whose hearts are pure. They will see him! 9 God blesses those people who make peace. They will be called his children! 10 God blesses those people : . who are treated badly for doing right. They belong to the kingdom of heaven. They belong to the kingdom of heaven: See the note at .

WP-Bible plugin

Matthew 7:21,24-29Matthew 7:21,24-29
English: Contemporary English Version (UK) - CEV-UK

A warning Jesus continued: 21 Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. Two builders Jesus continued: 24 Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25 Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. 26 Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn't obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. 27 The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash. 28 When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. : ; . 29 He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses.

WP-Bible plugin


Psalm 67

1 God be gracious to us and bless us *
and make his face to shine upon us,

2 That your way may be known upon earth, *
your saving power among all nations.

3 Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.

4 O let the nations rejoice and be glad, *
for you will judge the peoples righteouslyand govern the nations upon earth.

5 Let the peoples praise you, O God; *
let all the peoples praise you.

6 Then shall the earth bring forth her increase, *
and God, our own God, will bless us.

7 God will bless us, *
and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

Psalm 121

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills; *
from where is my help to come?

2 My help comes from the Lord, *
the maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not suffer your foot to stumble; *
he who watches over you will not sleep.

4 Behold, he who keeps watch over Israel *
shall neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The Lord himself watches over you; *
the Lord is your shade at your right hand,

6 So that the sun shall not strike you by day, *
neither the moon by night.

7 The Lord shall keep you from all evil; *
it is he who shall keep your soul.

8 The Lord shall keep watch over your going out
and your coming in, * from this time forth for evermore.


Suitable non Biblical Readings for a Wedding


Would you marry?
Then you must give everything you have.

Would you marry?
Then everything you have will be what you gain.

Would you marry?
Then you must walk unafraid in a strange land.

Would you marry?
Then be sure that you’ll recognise all you see.

Would you marry?
Then you will become an open book.

Would you marry?
Then you will become a tale yet to be told.

Would you marry?
Then you must sing a different song.

Would you marry?
Then two voices will sing as one.

Mary-Ann Tracey (1934 – )

These I can promise

I cannot promise you a life of sunshine;
I cannot promise riches, wealth or gold;
I cannot promise you an easy pathway
That leads from change or growing old.

But I can promise all my heart’s devotion
A smile to chase away your tears of sorrow;
A love that’s ever true and ever growing;
A hand to hold in yours through each tomorrow.

Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)