Wedding Legalities

To ensure the marriage complies with both UK Civil and Church law, there are certain aspects of a church wedding that must be fulfilled.

You must be old enough

If you are under 18 years old you will need your parents’ consent to marry and by law you cannot be married in the UK until you are 16.

Reading of Banns

Banns are an announcement in church 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 live as well as at the church you wish to be married in (if different). If you both live in the parish, then the Banns only need to be read at the parish church in which you live. You must have your banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. This is most usually done over three consecutive Sundays.

If there is not enough notice given for the Banns to be read before the marriage is due to take place you must apply for a Licence rather than have Banns read.

Guidelines for divorcees

There are special guidelines on marriage in the church if you are divorced. There may well be a way forward, but you will need to talk to the Vicar about your situation to explore the possibilities for you.


Any wedding taking place in the Church of England on or after the 1st July 2021 where either or both of the parties are non-UK/Irish nationals and who do not have Settled Status or Pre-Settled Status under the EUSS [EU Settlement Scheme] will only be able to take place on the authority of an Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (or a Special Licence). This can take up to 70 days to obtain, and so applications need to be made early if this applies to you!

There maybe other circumstances in which you may need a Special Licence, Common Licence or a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to marry in church. This will be discussed with you should this be required.