A wedding is one of life's great moments, a time of solemn commitment as well as good wishes, feasting and joy.
Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God and it is intended by God to be a creative relationship, as his blessing enables husband and wife to love and support each other through good times and bad in a self-sacrificial way, putting the needs of your partner before your own.
For Christians, marriage is also an invitation to share life together in the spirit of Jesus Christ. It is based upon a solemn, public and life-long covenant between a man and a woman, declared and celebrated in the presence of God and before witnesses.
The marriage ceremony gives you a new legal status as husband and wife and a new stability within which your relationship can flourish and grow. Christians believe that marriage offers the right place for the fulfilment of our sexuality and that it provides a stable and secure environment for bringing up children.
Why Get Married in Church?
A marriage service, wherever it is held, is a public declaration of love and commitment to your partner. By choosing to get married in church, there is an added dimension - the assurance that God cares about your relationship and that his resources and strength are available to help you. Including God in your marriage doesn't mean that you will avoid all the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that his love will sustain you. You will also have the support and encouragement of the Christian Church family.
The Parish Clergy of Ashford welcome your enquiry and promise a user-friendly approach in ensuring that you see your marriage preparation as a happy and memorable time. They will guide you in the choices you will want to make around the timing of your service and the necessary preparation before your wedding day.
Some Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I get married?
The law entitles you to be married in the Church of England Parish Church where either of you lives. If you are an active, worshipping member of another church congregation, it is usually possible to be married there.
Now, you can be married at Holy Trinity, Ashford in the Water, if you can demonstrate some connection with it - for example, if you used to live in the parish, or if you were baptised or confirmed here, you have a family connection with the church here, or used to be an active member.
If you don't live in the parish, but are on the electoral roll, you can be married here. To qualify for this, you're expected to attend church services for six months before applying for membership.
In certain circumstances you can apply for a Special Licence. At the moment you can only have a Church of England wedding in a parish church or some other place of worship - normally one licensed by the Bishop. It is not possible to have your church wedding in other venues like a hotel, or a hot air balloon!
What are the legal requirements?
You must have your banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. This is often done over three consecutive Sundays. Banns are an announcement of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as at the church in which you are to be married if that is another parish.
If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents' consent to marry.
There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced: see the separate question on this issue.
How much will it cost?
Weddings are expensive as you will probably already have found out! The cost of the marriage ceremony in church is divided between the legal fees, which cover the publication of the banns, certificate of banns (if necessary), the marriage service and a certificate of marriage, and the charges set by the church. These cover payment to the organist, verger and use of the church. There are also charges if you decide to have bells and the church choir. The fees must be paid at least two weeks before the ceremony, either by cheque sent to the treasurer, or directly into the church bank account - details available on request.
The 2016 fees and charges for a marriage service within the parish are to be found at the end of this guide.
What if one of us is divorced?
The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognizes that, sadly, some marriages do fail. The Church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church during the lifetime of a former spouse.
The Bishop of the Diocese of Derby has issued guidelines to follow for clergy who may be willing to conduct such a marriage in church, if it appears following these guidelines that a marriage in church would be appropriate.
The parish priest will want to talk to you frankly about the past, your hopes for the future and your understanding of marriage. Please note that remarriage in church is not an automatic right. If it is not possible for your proposed marriage to take place in church, your priest may consider other alternatives with you, such as a Service of Prayer and Dedication after a civil ceremony.
How can I change my passport name before I get married?
If you are planning to change your surname after your marriage and would like to travel on your honeymoon with it, you can collect a form PD2 from the post office and bring it to the minister conducting your ceremony to sign.
Planning the Wedding
Can I choose what kind of service I want?
You can choose to have a modern language service or one in more traditional language. Either service will contain one or more readings from the Bible - the clergy will help you select the most appropriate reading from quite a wide range of suitable passages. There will also be, after the Marriage, a place for prayers, which you may help to choose, or you may like to write your own.
It is possible for family members or friends to read, or lead the prayers. There is also the opportunity to include a non bible reading and people to sing or play musical instruments.
The vows today reflect the equal commitment to partnership and responsibilities within a commitment to love and cherish one another. It is still possible for a Bride to include the word 'Obey' in her vows, but don't do it for tradition's sake! If you wish to discuss this, please mention it to the minister. If the bride does say 'obey', the Groom will promise to 'worship' the Bride.
A wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of the commitment you are making to each other. It is entirely up to you whether you have one ring or two. 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 church, either in the middle or at the end of the ceremony. After the signing the photographer will normally want you to pose for some special photographs. The officiating priest will issue a marriage certificate which will be signed by both of you and two witnesses whom you will appoint. The witnesses must be over 18.
Length of the service
The service in church is approximately 45 minutes. It is possible to come back into church after the service for any internal photographs. Good external photographs can be taken in front of the porch, by the gate, on the Sheepwash Bridge or on the river bank - (see link under ‘Photographers’)
Don't listen to the tradition that the bride must always be late! Lateness often leads to a restless congregation, especially if there are a lot of young children present.
Most people prefer traditional wedding music as the bride enters and leaves the church - however there is a wide choice of other suitable music to choose from. It is essential that you discuss your ideas for music and hymns with the choir master as some pieces are not suitable for the organ. Two or three hymns would normally be chosen. Some suggestions are listed below, but it is only to help and not meant to limit your choice. BBC Songs of Praise is the hymn book used in church and you need to check that the words and number of verses that you choose match the ones in our hymn book; you are welcome to borrow one on request. If your chosen hymn is not available in our book we will try and track it down for you.
The church has a good choir who will sing an anthem for you during the signing of the registers, if you so require; again our choir master or organist will be happy to advise you. Your choice should be made approximately three months before the wedding, which gives the choir time to learn any new works.
The Church Choir Master is: Mr Ian Pykett
The Church Organist is: Mr Barrie Birkin.
Contact Linda Foster, Parish Administrator for information: 01298 871647
Choose well known hymns that your guests will know - here are some possibilities to help you to decide. The numbers correspond to our church hymn book.
380 We pledge to one another (Tune: I vow to thee my country)
305 Love divine, all loves excelling
299 Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us
19 Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the king of creation
20 Praise, my soul, the king of heaven
238 Now thank we all our God
3 All things bright and beautiful
303 Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy
339 O Jesus, I have promised
325 Father, hear the prayer we offer
324 Dear Lord and Father of mankind
365 O perfect love
282 Amazing grace (Also words: Come to the Wedding)
337 Make me a channel of your peace
391 Morning has broken
118 At the name of Jesus
287 Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart
285 Blest are the pure in heart
161 Come down, O love divine
10 Immortal, invisible, God only wise
236 Let all the world in every corner sing
310 O for a heart to praise my God
346 Take my life, and let it be
25 The king of love my shepherd is
27 The Lord's my shepherd
355 A new commandment I give unto you
333 Lord, for the years
73 I danced in the morning (Lord of the Dance)
Some hymns have several tunes; 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
Canon in D – Pachelbel
Traditional music to leave:
Wedding March – Mendelssohn
Nun Danket Alla Gott – Karg–Elert
The Hornpipe from The Water Music – Handel
The joyful sound of the church bells is a wonderful addition to any wedding. The bells will ring to greet you as you arrive at the church and will ring you out as a newly married couple. Holy Trinity has six bells and a prize winning band of ringers. Please let us know as soon as possible if you require the bells so that the ringers can plan their diaries.
Orders of service
Most couples like to have an Order of Service printed. This would have the words of the hymns included and it may be a good 'keepsake' afterwards. Please discuss the contents with the clergy to ensure accuracy.
Please entrust your Orders of Service to a reliable person on your wedding day to ensure an early arrival at church and that they don't get locked in a car boot or forgotten! The church has a copyright permission licence, which will cover the reproduction of your wedding hymns.
When should we have a rehearsal?
A wedding rehearsal is held in church usually during the week of the marriage service, and a convenient date and time will be discussed with you. At the rehearsal you should try to have the Best man, Bridesmaids and the person who is 'giving away' the Bride present, if possible. This is a time to walk through the service and put you all at ease - we wouldn't normally rehearse the words. The fees should be paid no later than this time.
Bridesmaids and Page Boy
Do we need to have them? No, is the simple answer! If you are having some, then there are no set numbers. Bridesmaids are there to tend to the needs of the bride throughout the service, for making sure that your dress is arranged properly, and to 'wait' on you.
The Bride will pass her bouquet to the chief bridesmaid at the beginning of the service and if she is wearing a veil, a bridesmaid would normally help to take it back at the beginning of the service. Traditionally you once made your vows with the veil over your face, in case the groom changed his mind! Now, you take your veil back at the beginning of the service to make sure the groom is marrying the right person!
A page boy could carry the wedding rings into church on a cushion, handing them over to the best man.
He will be there to assist the Groom. Tradition held that if the Groom failed to appear the Best Man was obliged to marry the Bride! It is possible to have more than one best man. A best man should remember to untie any rings from a cushion, or take them out of the box before handing them to the priest!
Ushers and seating
It is helpful if you provide two ushers who will welcome your guests and assist people as they arrive. Ushers should be present forty minutes before the wedding and distribute the booklets for the service and buttonholes. They will also escort people to their seats. It is traditional for the family of the Groom to sit on the right side of church as you walk in, behind the Groom. The family of the Bride sit on the left, with a space saved for the person 'giving away' the bride. However, you do not have to follow this tradition, especially if one family is very small.
Photographers and video
Photography is allowed during the ceremony at certain points- usually as the Bride enters church; the signing of the registers and as the Couple leave. The official photographer is encouraged to liaise with the officiating minister before the ceremony begins. Photographers are not allowed to use flash photography during the service, except at the signing of the registers.
There is a tremendous choice of photographers; one who has covered many weddings at Holy Trinity is:
Dickon Clark LMPA: 01773 829572
It is normally possible to have a video recording of the ceremony, but please discuss this with the clergy. There are guidelines as to where the person(s) recording stand during the ceremony - these are to avoid anything that would cause distraction or intrusion during the service.
It 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 do ask that you leave at least one pedestal in church after your ceremony for the church community to enjoy. Contact Linda Foster (01298 871647) to discuss your thoughts. If your requirements are very modest, then Mrs Rachel Kaunhoven would be happy to arrange them for you. (01629 814462)
Professional florists who have decorated the church for our brides and grooms include:
Sophie Fletcher - www.beaublossom.co.uk
Charlotte Raines - Flowers for you: e-mail: email@example.com 01298 26200
Heather Roberts: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tulips Florist Bakewell: www.tulipsflorist.co.uk
White Petals & Lace: www.whitepetalsandlace.co.uk
Swallows and Damsons: 0114 2551944 www.swallowsanddamsons.com
Parking in Ashford is limited to a small public car park and on road parking. An area sufficient for two wedding cars will be coned off in front of the church gates so that your arrival and departure from the church will be unhindered.
If you are interested in vintage wedding cars the following company have transported our couples on many occasions: www.avrilscars.co.uk
Your guests may throw this by the church gate. Usually the photographer is the one to give permission, so as not to spoil his photographs!! If at all possible we recommend the use of bio-degradable confetti. Please ask your guests not to throw the metallic table confetti, as this will not degrade and is very difficult to remove.
Links to Local Reception Venues:
Cressbrook Hall: www.cressbrookhall.co.uk
Hassop Hall: www.hassophallhotel.co.uk
The Maynard, Grindleford: www.themaynard.co.uk
The Riverside House Hotel: www.riversidehousehotel.co.uk
The Ten Commandments!
Here are some important pointers to help you:
1. For a wedding when one partner lives outside the Parish, arrange for the banns to be read in their local Church of England Parish. You won't be able to do this if you are qualifying for the Electoral Roll, until your name has been included on the roll. The clergy at Ashford will tell you when to contact another parish priest for the calling of banns, and give you their contact details. Don't forget to pick up the banns certificate after the third calling at another church and show it to the Minister performing the service at Ashford.
2. Discuss the content of Orders of Service with the parish clergy performing the marriage. Make sure they arrive on time on the day of the ceremony.
3. Contact the church Choir Master to discuss your choice of music and hymns for the ceremony.
4. Contact Linda Foster about flowers as soon as possible to discuss your thoughts on what you might like.
5. Tell the Parish clergy immediately if any circumstances change - such as your address, or if you need to change dates/times of the ceremony.
6. Decide if you would like the bells and/or choir.
7. Arrange for the officiating Minister to sign form PD2 for a honeymoon passport if you are going abroad.
8. Ensure that a video operator and photographer contact the parish clergy for instructions.
9. Don't forget to bring the fees for the wedding to the rehearsal. The church administrator will contact you to arrange how payment should be made.
10. Keep in touch with the clergy before the wedding - we like to hear how things are going.
And Finally ...
A wedding is one day - a marriage is a lifetime
You have probably already spent many hours planning your wedding. There are so many things to think about - the dress, the cake, the cars, the photographer, the florist, whom to invite, the reception, the honeymoon. All of these are important, but the wedding is just one day, while marriage should last for the rest of your lives.
Alongside the wedding preparations it is also important to spend time as a couple talking through your expectations of marriage. However much you think you have in common, you are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears.
'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.'
1 Corinthians 13. 4-7
Please do get in touch if you’d like to know more about weddings at Holy Trinity Parish Church, or come and join us at one of our services. We’d love to meet you!
The Reverend Canon Tony Kaunhoven – 01629 814462 email@example.com
Fees and Charges for 2017
Diocesan Board of Finance: £193.00
PCC Including Calling of Banns at Ashford £259.00
Heating (Sept. - May): optional £50.00
Organist: optional £80.00
Choir: optional £80.00
Bells: optional £150.00
Audio/Video recording fee paid to the
Organist if you are recording the Service: £ 80.00
Full total if all options taken: £932.00
Fees to be paid by cheque made payable to 'Ashford PCC' and posted to the Treasurer: Mr David Lee, Meadows Reach, Ashford Road, Bakewell DE45 1GL to arrive two weeks before the Service please.
Alternative method of payment: By bank transfer to the Royal Bank of Scotland - Bakewell Branch, Sort Code and Account Number available on request from Mrs. L. Foster 01298 871647