On this page you will find lots of information about weddings and legalities about weddings. If it is feeling a little overwhelming or you have a specific question you would like answered then please do get in touch. 


 If you would like to get married at St Mary's one of you must have a qualifying connection to the parish.  These connections include living within our parish boundaries (you may check this by entering your postcode into the A Church Near You website, www.achurchnearyou.com  ) either of you were baptised at St Mary's, any of your parents or grandparents were married at St Mary's, either of you have lived within the parish boundaries for at least six months or either of you have worshipped at St Mary's regularly for at least six months before the date of the wedding. 

We know that lots of people want to know about the costs of having a church wedding for budgetting your big day. These can vary a lot depending on what it is you are hoping to have to make the day extra special for you. A quick answer would be to say that if you budget on the top end for £1000 then you would cover everything. We have a break down of the current cost of a wedding on this page. Certain wedding costs are set each year by the church of England and if the information doesn't cover the wedding dates you are looking at the please use them as a guide. 

  If you would like to contact us via weddings@stmaryscoventry.org or ring the church office on 024 7661 8845, we can arrange for an informal chat or a meeting at church.

The Cost of Church Weddings

If you choose to marry in church, it will be a day that is personal and special for you, but that need not mean you spend a fortune.

There is no doubt that the choices you make about your wedding day can make a huge impact on the total cost. Part of the cost will be for the legal fees, and everyone pays this. There are also optional extras which you can choose or decline, according to your budget.

Compulsory costs

There is a required legal fee for marrying in a church. 

Cost between 1st March - 31st December 2023

Marriage Service: £550

Publication of Banns:  £34

Certificate of Banns: £17

This is set by the Church of England nationally and is the same for every church.

(After your wedding, when it has been registered at the relevant register office, you will also pay the register office a charge for your marriage certificate – the certificate is no longer issued by churches).

The marriage service fee you pay does not all go to church. It is split with the diocese where the diocese receive £229 and the parish only receive £276. 

It is also possible to make a donation to your church to help support the ongoing work of parish and to keep the church looking beautiful for weddings, baptism & funerals as well as community events and regualr worship.

Speak to your vicar if you would like to include a donation with you wedding. 

Optional extras

The statutory wedding fee doesn’t include extras you may choose or decline, such as:-

You do not have to have any of these extras, but many couples are keen to have at least some. If you choose them, they will cost extra. The costs for each will be at your church’s local rate.

Affording the costs

Talk to your vicar early on about what the total cost of your wedding is likely to be. It is good practice for the church to provide you with an itemised quote before your wedding so that you can see exactly what you will be paying for.

Once the final church bill has been agreed, some couples are still keen to offer a donation to the church. Donations may help to cover things like administration and the upkeep of the building. While these gifts are very kind, you needn’t feel under any obligation.

If you’re struggling to afford your wedding costs, or finding yourself in financial difficulties, it is worth mentioning this to your vicar as they might be able to suggest ways to help. 

Legal Requirements

There are certain things that must happen in a church wedding to ensure the marriage complies with both UK civil and church law.

In marriage you take on a whole new legal status. The vicar knows how to advise and prepare you for your wedding day and everything must comply with all relevant UK and Church of England laws. These are the main legal points to consider before you begin planning:

You must be old enough

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

Same-sex marriage legislation

It is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in the Church of England. Although, Revd Tom is keen that this rule changes in future and we can celebrate all couples who want to publically confess their love and commitment to each other. If you would like to talk further and see what may be possible then please do get in touch with Revd Tom.  

Marrying away from where you live

It’s possible to get married in a church that’s away from where you live if you have a certain kind of connection with it. You may be legally connected to a number of churches in different ways. Read more about marrying away from where you live.

Time of wedding

The wedding must take place between 8am and 6pm on any day.

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 your Vicar about your situation to explore the possibilities for you. Read more about marriage after divorce.

Reading of Banns

Most Church of England marriages will require banns to be published before the wedding can take place. You won’t need to arrange banns until about four months before your wedding date. Read more about what’s special and important about banns.

If there is not enough notice given for the banns to be read before the marriage is due to take place, or in the case of the marriage of people who are not nationals of a country within the European Economic Area, or if one or both of you does not live in England or Wales, it is recommended that the Licence procedure be used rather than banns.


There are some circumstances in which you may need a Special Licence, Common Licence or a Marriage Schedule from the register office to marry in church. Your vicar will let you know if these apply to you.

Documents you’ll need

Can I Marry in Church?

As far as it is legally possible, we want to welcome you for a church wedding and Church of England churches have been celebrating this moment with couples for centuries.

It is both a privilege and a duty for your vicar to join a man and a woman in marriage. The good news is that you can marry in church regardless of your beliefs, whether or not you are christened and whether or not you have been a regular churchgoer.

Because getting married gives you a whole new legal status with many benefits, there are considerations for the vicar to make in both UK civil and church law. There are some basic requirements but there could be complications if:-

Although same-sex marriage legislation has changed, it remains the case that it is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in the Church of England.

Churches are so much more than a wedding venue. They offer friendship, prayer and support before and after a wedding, whether it is a church wedding or not. Find out more about how they can support you.

Why Marry in a Church?

Churches are special places and there are some things about a church wedding that you just can’t get anywhere else.

 A church is so much more than simply a venue for your wedding. Unique and special things become part of your marriage, on the day itself and beyond:

Finding a Church

In case you are unsure that St. Mary's is the church you can get married in, here is some information to help.

To find your local church, go to AChurchNearYou.com

You can marry in a Church of England church if you can show that one of you:


That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:


That one of your parents or grandparents:

And did you know that if you move house, you’re immediately connected to the church there? That means you can marry in the church of your new parish.

In all cases involving church services – i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage – this applies only to Church of England services.

If you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, you could create one, simply by attending your chosen church’s usual services at least once a month for six consecutive months. If you decide to do this, leave enough time after your attendance for the banns to be read before your wedding too – about another two months should be enough.

Talk to the Vicar there well in advance to discuss the options open to you.

If you’re marrying in a special church that’s not where you live, your local church would still love to support you as you prepare for the wedding, and afterwards too. Find out more information about how they would locally support you.

Mixed Faith Marriages

Having a different faith to your partner need not be a barrier to having a church wedding if you’d both like one. Just like all couples, the vicar will want to get to know you both and help you develop a ceremony that reflects your story.

When you get married in church, vows are exchanged in the presence of God and witnesses. The Church of England ceremony will be of course be a Christian one – the vows and the Christian nature of the ceremony cannot be changed. However, if you have met the basic legal requirements, couples from different faith backgrounds can be married in church.

And, with the advice of the vicar, there may be places where you can bring an element of other traditions, cultures and even different languages into your service, perhaps through readings and music.

All couples will be presented with challenges throughout their married life to remain loving and faithful for an entire lifetime. There will be good times for celebration and laughter and tough times when more patience, understanding and humour will be required than at others.

If you have fundamentally different spiritual beliefs, this may present an additional challenge in your relationship and the vicar may want to include that as part of preparing you for the vows you will make on your wedding day.

People of different faiths may also have different traditions which affect the whole family on both sides. Big occasions, such as religious festivals like Christmas, or anniversaries, birthdays and funerals can present particular tensions and also particular delight.

To help you think about some of the common challenges, and also the positives, of an inter-faith marriage, the Inter-faith Marriage Network has a helpful website.

Your Children are Welcome

Whether you’ve already had children together, or have children from a previous relationship, we welcome them.

One in five couples who come to church for a wedding already has children. As part of planning your ceremony, the vicar will want to ensure they enjoy the day and can be part of it. They can walk up the aisle with mum, carry the rings, read from the Bible or say a prayer, and receive a blessing with their parents.

The children of your guests may be involved in the ceremony too, if you’d like them to be. Vicars are used to welcoming and including families with children of all ages, so don’t worry about children leaving their seats or making noise – the Vicar can advise and reassure you on all of this. Many churches even have special areas where children can play.

Double celebration

Did you know the Church of England has two church services to further include and involve your children in your wedding day?

 Marriage and Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child is ideal if you wish to celebrate your wedding and thank God for the birth of your children on the same occasion.

 Marriage and Holy Baptism can make it possible for you to have your children christened – welcomed into the wider church family – on your wedding day. Visit the Church of England website for more about what a christening could mean for you and your family.

 Why not talk to your Vicar about the options? He or she will be able to advise about which service could be best for you. Both of these services offer the whole of your family an extra special occasion and a new beginning.

When Can I Marry in Church?

There are no legal restrictions on which day of the week you can have a church wedding, but some days may be better than others.

Most weddings happen on a Saturday, but Sunday is the third most popular day for Church of England weddings. In fact, you could have your wedding on any day of the week, but check with your vicar first to see if they and the church are free. Whatever day you’d like to get married on, the wedding ceremony must take place between 8am and 6pm.

If you’d like a Sunday wedding, the vicar will want to make sure your service won’t clash with any normal services and that they have enough time and supporting staff available.

There are also no legal restrictions for getting married on special days, like those around Easter, Christmas and other Bank Holidays. But the vicar will need to let you know whether it’s practically possible. Churches can be exceptionally busy around these times, welcoming many more people through their doors than usual, so the vicar will want to make sure they can offer you their full attention and support.

Lent, the 40 days which lead up to Easter Day, is another special time when churches are remembering the temptation of Jesus in the desert. It is a time of reflection and self-restraint, so churches may take down decorations and possibly reduce the number of weddings they do during this time. Some may take a decision not to offer weddings at all on Good Friday because of the sombre mood of this day, which marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus.

Talk to your vicar well in advance about your wedding date so you know what your options are in good time.

More than a Wedding Venue

Wherever you go in the years ahead, a local church will always be there for you with friendship and prayer. Churches can offer so much more than simply a venue for your wedding ceremony.

 Whether you are familiar with church or whether it is new to you, after your wedding, you can go along to the church where you were married, or the church wherever you live, or even visit a church when you are travelling away from home.

 How can your church support you?

With over 16,000 churches in England, and thousands more Anglican churches across the world, wherever you live, your community or one close by will have a church.

If you’d like to find out which is your local church, use the search box below to search for churches near where you are.

Meeting the Vicar

Once you’ve decided to marry in church, your first contact is most likely to be the vicar, although sometimes you may speak to a church administrator first.

The vicar’s job is to make you feel welcome and comfortable about your wedding day and to help you make decisions about the ceremony – they will have had lots of experience in making sure everything runs smoothly.

The first meeting

For the first meeting, there will be two main areas the vicar will want to cover:-

1. To get to know you

Vicars enjoy meeting people and getting to know them. When you marry in a church, you have the vicar’s personal, individual attention. If you haven’t met before, they’ll be interested in your story, how you came to be together, whether they might know any of your relatives and why you decided to get married in the church. The relationship with the vicar often goes well beyond the wedding day. It’s possible you could keep in touch with them for many years. They may even be part of other big occasions in your life, like christening your children.

2. To check all is well legally with your intention marry

There will be some forms to complete which are necessary for the vicar’s records and they will need to ask a few questions that confirm you’re free to marry and that you have a legally-recognised connection with the church. These details are really important to ensure your marriage will be legally sound.

At your first meeting, it will be useful for you to bring a passport if you both have one. This provides confirmation of your nationality, which the vicar requires. If you don’t have a passport, the vicar will let you know what other documents would be suitable alternatives.

If either of you are a national from a country that is outside the EEA, the vicar will advise you on applying for a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate, now required for all Church of England marriages of non-EEA nationals.

If either of you are divorced, the vicar will need to see your decree absolute. If you have divorce in your background, the vicar has certain responsibilities in these circumstances and it will be something they will want to talk about in some detail. Every vicar will listen to you sensitively and in complete confidence. Read more about getting married in church after divorce.

Meeting again

After all the legal preparations have been arranged, the vicar will invite you to meet with them again to talk about your ceremony and what kind of service you’re hoping for. You may discuss music, hymns, Bible readings, additional readings if you’d like one, and anything else you’d like to include.

They may ask if you’d like to have the church’s organist and/or choir, whether you’d like the church to do the flowers, and whether you’d like to have the church bells rung. Now is the time to talk about how much your ceremony is likely to cost. Read more about the cost of church weddings.

The online Ceremony Planner is a great way to start thinking about some of these things and help you discuss your ideas with the vicar.

You might like to see the vicar in church too, if you can go to a few services before your wedding day. You’ll be able to see the church in use and get to know other people there too.

Marriage After Divorce

Even if one or both of you are divorced, there may be a way for you to marry in church, but you will need to talk to your vicar as soon as possible.

Your church wishes you a lifetime of love that grows within God’s protection. But we recognise that some marriages do fail for all sorts of sad and painful reasons. So in certain circumstances the Church of England accepts that a divorced person may marry again in church and this has been the case since 2002.

The first step is to make an enquiry with the vicar of the church where you’d like to marry. Every vicar will want to help you, though there are some who don’t feel able to offer a wedding to couples where one or both of the partners has been divorced. In any case, your vicar will want to talk frankly about your past and hopes for the future and will then be able to advise you.

Even if it is not possible to do your wedding, they may offer a blessing service after a civil wedding.

Please read our detailed leaflet all about marrying again in church if you’re divorced.

Seven Steps to a Heavenly Marriage

From your first contact with us to your first anniversary and beyond, we’re here for you at every step.

Most church weddings follow a similar planning pattern, which typically has seven simple steps. Your vicar will help and advise along the way:-

1. Find a church

Find your local church and the vicar’s contact details. If you want to marry in a different church, read more to find out how that might be possible.

2. Call the vicar

Let your vicar know your good news as soon as you can and the three of you can fix a time to discuss what happens next.

3. Space to think

Before your wedding, your vicar may invite you to an event to help prepare you for married life together. Many couples appreciate the time and space to think about the vows and the difference they will make.

4. Banns

Banns are announcements 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. On these occasions, everyone in your church will also be praying for you. It can be very special and moving, so do go along if you can.

5. Rehearsal

Near your wedding day, perhaps a day or two before, you will usually have the opportunity to rehearse the ceremony with those who are involved.

6. The Big Day

Your vicar will do all he or she can to make the day a personal, meaningful and spiritual experience for you and your guests.

7. First anniversary and beyond

 Your local church will always be there for you throughout your marriage if you need it. Even if your local church is not the place where you married, they would be delighted to mark your first anniversary by praying for you both. All you have to do is ask.

Information for Foreign Nationals

If either of you is not a national of the UK or Ireland and doesn’t hold Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, having a Church of England wedding will involve some different paperwork and there will be a number of things your vicar will want to talk to you about.

The law regarding marriages of nationals from outside the UK and Ireland changed in 2021. Nationals from other countries who don’t have Settled or Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme must have a Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule (SRMS) to go ahead. The only exception to this is if a Special Licence has already been granted.

To apply for an SRMS, the bride and groom must have been resident for seven clear days within a registration district in England or Wales before giving Notice of their marriage at the Register Office.

After receiving an application for an SRMS, the Registrar enters the details in a book which is open to public inspection and also displays a notice for 28 days at the Register Office. If no legal reasons to delay or prevent the marriage going ahead are shown within that time, a Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule can be issued.

For couples where one or both of the parties has limited immigration status or not here legally, the civil registrars will be required to refer their marriage notice to the Home Office for potential investigation. To allow time for the investigation, the Home Office may extend the notice period to 70 days. Those with indefinite leave to remain, or a marriage visitor or fiancé(e) visa will be exempt from this referral and investigation process.

For more information about applying for an SRMS, visit the Government’s web page. Contact details for local (civil) register offices and designated register offices are given. Each register office will usually have its own website explaining the procedures in greater detail.

Nationals of countries within the EEA who live in England and have Settled or Pre-settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be married by banns and will not usually require a licence. Read more about banns.

Do We Need a Marriage Licence?

Most Church of England marriages will not require a licence, but in some circumstances you might need to apply for one…

Licences replace the need for having banns read out, which is the usual legal requirement before a wedding can take place.

You might need a licence if:

In these kinds of circumstances a Common Licence application may be recommended. Read more about Common Licences.

If you have no legal connection to the church where you would like your wedding to take place, and don’t have time to create one before your wedding, there are two further licence options which may be suggested to you:

If either of you is not a national of the UK or Ireland and doesn’t hold Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need to obtain a Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule to enable you to marry.

The granting of licences is not always guaranteed, so be sure to explore your options as far in advance as you can before your wedding.

Special Licences

A Special Licence represents exceptional permission given by the Archbishop of Canterbury to get married in a particular place. It is relatively rare to require one.

If you want to marry in a church outside your own parish, and genuinely feel that you have a connection that is not covered by any of the legally-recognised connections, then you may be able to apply for a Special Licence.

Another typical example of a case to apply for a Special Licence is if you’d like to marry in the chapel of a school or college where you used to attend. Because they’re not parish churches, a Special Licence is required to make weddings legally possible there.

Talk to the vicar who should be able to help you with the application, which is sent to:

Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury

1 The Sanctuary,

Tel: 0207 2225381

The fee for this will be around £325.

We want to help you find a way to marry in your preferred church but Special Licences are not automatically granted. Be sure to plan well in advance of your wedding to expand your options.

Common Licences

It’s unusual to require a Common Licence but this page explains the basic information about them if you’ve been advised that you need one.

For weddings due to happen in the summer of 2020/2021, church closures during the coronavirus pandemic have meant that it may not have been possible to do the legal things you needed to do before your wedding.

Depending on your wedding date, it may not have been possible for your banns to be read, or you may not have been able to establish a legal connection with your preferred church by attending for six months, because the church was closed.

Marriage licences can help to solve some of these issues, so ask your vicar whether a Common Licence, a Special Licence or a Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule would be appropriate in your case. You don’t need to have banns read if you are granted any one of these licences.

A Special Licence or Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule might be suggested if you don’t have a legal connection with your preferred church and couldn’t create one by attending because churches have been closed.

NB: For weddings taking place after July 1st 2021, if either of you is not a national of the UK or Ireland and doesn’t hold Settled or Pre-Settled Status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need a Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule anyway to be able to marry. The only exception to this is if you have been granted a Special Licence by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

When would we need a Common Licence?

Common Licences might be recommended if you already have a legally-recognised connection to the church where you’re getting married but there isn’t enough time for banns. The application process is usually straightforward and the vicar will guide you on this.

Regardless of the pandemic, a Common Licence is needed when one or more of these situations applies to you:-

Your wedding date is too soon to allow enough time for banns to be read.

One or both of you are British but live abroad.

One or both of you live in the UK but your home is not in England or Wales.

Your home address is likely to change during the time when banns would normally be read out.

Here are some key facts about Common Licences:

Superintendent Registrars Marriage Schedule

Some couples will need to apply for a Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule before their wedding instead of having banns. Read on for an outline of when you might need this, and what to expect when applying for one.

The vicar who is taking your wedding should be able to let you know if you need a Superintendent Registrar’s Marriage Schedule (SRMS) before your wedding can take place, but the list below summarises the main circumstances. 

If you do need one, you’ll need to allow enough time ahead of the wedding for the application and approval process, (the timings are explained below).

For weddings taking place before July 1st 2021 you will need an SRMS if:

For weddings taking place after July 1st you will need an SRMS if:

How do we apply for an SRMS?

Important note: The vicar of the church where you want to marry has discretion on whether or not to accept an SRMS. If you think that this route is necessary for you, and you haven’t yet contacted a vicar about your wedding, you should do this first before applying for an SRMS.

*Depending on your current Immigration Status, Registrars have the right to extend the Notice period up to 70 days while they investigate the circumstances of an intended marriage. This extension allows the Home Office time to investigate whether a couple may be attempting to enter a sham marriage.

If you Live Abroad

There’s a little more paperwork if your home is in a different country, even if you’re British.

If you are both British nationals living abroad, or if you are both British nationals but just one of you lives abroad, you can apply for a Common Licence to marry in a Church of England church on the basis of having one of seven legally-recognised connections with it. To see what those connections are, read more here.

The Vicar of the church will help you with the Common Licence application so you need to contact them first.

To find a church in any area of England, use the search below. If one of you is a foreign national, read more about what you need to do.