Congratulations! You have taken the decision to marry and spend the rest of your lives together; this is one of the most exciting, positive and terrifying steps any couple can make. And now you are faced with a first decision – where do you want to get married?
A marriage ceremony is a very special occasion; a decision to marry in church and make your vows to each other before God is not one to be taken lightly. There are many questions to consider, so this web page is only a starting point (the information relates to weddings at Vale Church; other C of E churches/ Christian denominations will have their own policies).
We probably won’t be able to help with choosing your wedding dress, advising you on where to hold the reception or offering suggestions for honeymoon destinations but then you wouldn’t expect us to! Here, though, are some of the things you need to consider and how the church can help. Do though feel free to contact us directly: the people at Vale Church are here to help and guide you through this ‘once in a lifetime’ event so that it will provide a solid foundation for the rest of your lives together.
Firstly, some legal information
If you are seeking a Church of England marriage in Guernsey then (until the beginning of March) a Licence must be obtained from the Ecclesiastical Court (Tel: 721732 – Hours: Monday-Thursday 9.00am – 12.00noon). In 2021 the cost of a Licence is £50.00. After you have obtained your Licence hand it to the Rector for safe keeping. Very important – if you do not obtain a Licence then you cannot be married so you must take this responsibility seriously. If in doubt ask for help. From the beginning of March the legal preliminaries are changing – Fr Stuart will explain these when they are better understood. We welcome those who are divorced who come to church seeking the opportunity for Christian marriage. Occasionally a couple prefer a service of blessing after a civil marriage. Sometimes couples who have been married for some time also appreciate a Service for the Renewal of Marriage Vows, to give thanks for their marriage. The Rector will be happy to discuss your special arrangements with you.
Planning the Wedding
Weddings are expensive as you will probably already have found out! The good news is that the actual wedding itself will probably be one of the cheaper items. We have tried to keep costs to a minimum but there are legal fees, payment to organist, verger, church etc. The fee must be paid prior to the day of the wedding – usually at the rehearsal in cash. A deposit of £100 is required at the time of booking to secure your preferred date and time. A breakdown of the fees for 2021 is as follows:
- Marriage service – £607.50
- Organist – £150.00
- Bells ringing at the end of the wedding – £140.00
The marriage service and wedding certificate are essential, while having the organist and bells are options (although it is very rare not to have the organ playing to accompany hymns at a church wedding). The cost of weddings at Vale Church then range from £607.50to £897.50.
What do I do about flowers?
t is always a good idea to brighten up the church with some flowers for your wedding, although there is no need to be extravagant. We are fortunate to have people who will advise you and are prepared to make arrangements for you to your specifications at a reasonable cost. If you wish to have flowers please telephone Val Kilby on 247525 or email firstname.lastname@example.org She can discuss your colours and ideas with you, it may be that somebody else is to be married on the same day and special arrangements can be made to share costs and to match colour schemes. Should you decide not to have flowers or to have a florist or friend make arrangements you must still telephone Mrs Morgan so that we know what is going on. Please telephone now – do not wait until closer to the wedding.
When should we have a rehearsal?
A rehearsal is held in the church for the couple usually during the week before the marriage. Please telephone the Rector to arrange a date and time. At the rehearsal you should try to have the Best man, the Ushers, Bridesmaids and the person who is ‘giving away’ the Bride present. This is a time to run through the service and put you all at ease. The fees should be paid no later than this time.
Reading from scripture
The service includes a reading from the Bible, often 1 Corinthians 13 or John Chapter 2 are used. If you would like to ask a member of the family or a friend to read this then please do so and tell the Rector.
Often couples like to have another reading (or two), which are not from the bible – sometimes a poem or piece of literature. Please discuss any ideas with the Rector.
Bridesmaids and Page Boys
Some people have many bridesmaids and a page boy however you may not wish to have any at all. Bridesmaids are there to tend to the needs of the bride throughout the service, for making sure that your dress is arranged properly and ‘waiting’ on you. It must be said that few actually wait on the bride as they should. You will pass your bouquet to the chief bridesmaid at the beginning of the service and if you wear a veil she may help remove it. Traditionally you made your vows with the veil over your face, in case the groom changed his mind.
You may decide to use one or two rings, it has become increasingly popular for both partners to be given a ring. There are appropriate vows for whatever you decide.
Signing of the registers
This takes place in the Chapel of the Archangels, the side chapel in church, towards the end of the service. After the signing the photographer will normally want you to pose for some special photographs. The Rector will issue a marriage certificate which will be signed by both of you and two witnesses whom you will appoint. They must be over 18.
Length of the service
We allow about an hour for the service which includes time for the taking of photographs outside afterwards or inside the church if it is raining. Please do not be late as we will not allow a late service to interfere with another booking of the Church and the Rector may have other appointments. If you arrive late then the Rector may have to shorten the service accordingly.
This may be thrown by your guests outside the church. Usually the photographer is the one to give permission, so as not to spoil his photographs!!
Orders of service
Some people have their own orders of service printed. This would have the hymns included and it may be a good ‘keepsake’ afterwards. You may also like to include a special item in the service. Please entrust your orders of service to a reliable person and bring all of them to the rehearsal to be kept in church until the time of the wedding for safe keeping.
What music should I choose?
Many people prefer traditional wedding music as the bride enters and leaves the church – however, our organist is an accomplished musician and very happy to vary music according to your wishes. Please contact him to discuss your preferences. Email email@example.com. Permission may be given for you to provide your own organist, however, please note that the payment of usual fees to the church for the use of the organ will still be required. Some people like to have a CD playing when the bride enters, during the signing of the register, or as the couple leave church. A list of hymns is attached with some suggestions but it is only to help and not meant to limit your choice.
A very useful website for couples getting married in Church of England churches is available at http://www.yourchurchwedding.org – it has suggestions for music, hymns, readings, and much more (but note the legal peculiarities of Guernsey noted above.
We hope you find this information helpful as you prepare for your Wedding Day.
Fr Stuart Tanswell – Rector of the Vale
Tel: 244088 email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Love divine all loves excelling (Blaenwern)
- Lead us heavenly Father lead us (Mannheim)
- Praise to the Lord the Almighty, the king of creation (Lobe D.H.)
- Praise my soul the king of heaven (Praise my soul)
- Now thank we all our God (Nun Danket)
- All things bright and beautiful (Monk)
- Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy (Slane)
- Jesus I have promised Father hear the prayer we offer (Sussex)
- Dear Lord and Father of mankind (Repton)
- Who would true valour see (Monk’s Gate)
- Amazing grace
- Morning has broken
- At the name of Jesus (Camberwell)
- Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart (Slane)
- Blest are the pure in heart
- Come down, O love divine
- Immortal invisible God only wise
- Let all the world in every corner sing (Luckington)
- May the mind of Christ my saviour (St. Leonard’s)
- for a heart to praise my God
- Take my life and let it be (Emma)
- The king of love my shepherd is (Dominus regit me)
- The Lord’s my shepherd
Please make sure that the tune is the one you want!
Traditional entrance music
- Bridal March from Lohengrin- Wagner,
- Trumpet Voluntary- Jeremiah Clarke,
- Trumpet Tune and Air- Purcell
Traditional music to leave
- Wedding March- Mendelssohn,
- Toccata- Widor.