You may have heard that the rules have changed recently to enable all couples to have more choice in where they get married and which church they choose to get married in.
If you want to get married at any of the five churches in the Benefice and you live within the parish boundaries of that church, then it’s very easy and you qualify to get married in our church on the basis of where you live.
However, we know that you might like to get married in one of our churches even though you don’t live in the parish. It may have special significance for you through family or other special connections.
If either of you can show just one of the following seven connections with the parish, then you are also eligible to get married here.
If one of you was:
- was baptised at the church in which you wish to marry or
- was prepared for confirmation at the church in which you wish to marry or
- has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least six months or
- has at any time regularly gone to normal church services here for a period of at least six months
or that one of your parents, at any time after you were born:
- has lived in the parish for a period of at least six months or
- has regularly gone to normal church services for a period of at least six months or
That one of your parents or grandparents:
- was married at the church in which you wish to marry
If one or more of those things apply to you, then you can definitely get married here.
All our churches also operate within a scheme called the ‘Benefice entitlement to marry’. In short, what it means is that if you can demonstrate a connection to any of the five churches, you are at liberty to get married in any church in the Benefice.
Even if you can’t demonstrate any one of those seven connections to either church and you don’t live in the parish, then do not despair just yet.
Firstly, you can get married if you attend church regularly for a period of six months. That means coming to church at least six times (once a month).
special and common licences
If you want to get married in this parish, but cannot satisfy any of the ‘qualifying connections’ to a church that are set out above, you may need to apply for a Special Licence. If you genuinely feel you have a connection with this church, we should be able to help you in applying for a Special Licence.
There is a fee for such a licence. It’s also worth being aware that while we want to help you find a way to marry here, Special Licences are not automatically granted. Be sure to plan well in advance, up to 18 months in advance of your wedding to expand your options.
If your marriage is taking place too soon for Banns to be read, or if you are not living in the UK, then a Common Licence application may be appropriate for you. It is granted in the name of the Bishop of Rochester our churches are in his diocese, and he has discretion whether or not to grant it.
Common Licences can only be granted for marriage to take place within the Diocese, and are only valid for three months. Again, there is a special fee for a Common Licence which is approximately £200.
If one of you is a non-EEA national then a special procedure applies whereby you must get a Superintendent Registrar Certificate. The Rector can provide more information and advice.