We are delighted to welcome couples to our beautiful church for their wedding. The service is central to one of the most important days of your life and we do everything we can to ensure that it is really special.
We are also here to help you prepare for your married life together. By getting married in church, you are asking for God’s blessing on your life together - the best start you can have.
How do we get married at St. Mary’s?
The first thing to do is to contact the Weddings Co-ordinator who will arrange to meet with you to discuss the whole process. You will be able to check that the date you would like is available and then complete an application form to confirm your church booking. Weddings can be on any day of the week (although not usually on Sundays) but it may not be possible to arrange a choir or bells on weekdays.
Does it matter where we live?
If one or both of you live in the Parish you may get married in St Mary’s by Banns. This is an old tradition, still legally required, whereby an announcement of your impending marriage is read out in church on three Sundays beforehand. Traditionally, this gives members of the public a chance to object to the marriage but this is extremely rare these days!
If neither of you live in the Parish, it may still be possible to get married here if you have strong links with St Mary’s and Saffron Walden. For example if you have lived here in the past or if your parents live in the Parish.
If you worship regularly at St Mary’s for at least six months, you may also be married by Banns.
When do we have to book?
It is best to book the church as soon as you have decided to get married. We currently have bookings up to two years in advance but there are still plenty of spare dates in the calendar. It is important to check with us that the church is available before booking your reception. There is no booking fee but we do ask that you notify us if your plans change, otherwise we may have to make a charge for cancellation.
How can you help us prepare for our marriage?
Early in the year in which you are to be married, you will be invited to attend a one-day course for all couples who will be getting married in the same year. The course is run on a Saturday and covers practical aspects such as music, flowers and legal matters, then goes on to look at what getting married means.
We hope that aspects of the course will be relevant to you, whether you are just about to set up home together or you have been living together for some time.
The final session looks at the wedding service itself and gives you a chance to discuss the various parts of it and to think about how you would like your service to be special to you. During the course you will be given lots of explanatory material to help your preparation.
Do you marry divorced people?
In certain circumstances, it may be possible for divorced people to marry in church. In other cases, we are happy to arrange a wedding blessing service to follow a civil ceremony and this can have most of the elements of a wedding service except for the legal requirements. Please talk to the Weddings Co-ordinator if you would like more information about this.
How much does it cost to get married in church?
Everything that is legally required will cost around £600 but most couples like to choose optional extras such as a choir, the organ, bells etc. which can increase the costs to around £1000. Full details are available from the Weddings Co-ordinator, Caroline Goulder firstname.lastname@example.org
What happens next?
During the months before your wedding there may be lots of questions you want to ask. Our clergy and Weddings Coordinator are always available to offer help and advice about any aspect of your marriage. About three months before your wedding, your Banns will be read. We will let you know exactly which dates when your wedding is confirmed. We can advise on your order of service and review it with you; we can offer help with choosing hymns and music if you wish. We will arrange a convenient day for a rehearsal: this is usually on the evening before your wedding day.
Parking for weddings
For parking arrangements for weddings, please liaise with the Weddings Co-ordinator. Please note that there is no parking available in the churchyard apart from two spaces for guests with limited mobility and the cars transporting the bride and bridesmaids. Access to the churchyard is from Museum Street, not Church Path. We recommend that guests, photographers, musicians etc park at Swan Meadow car park CB10 1DA which is about 10 minutes walk from the church. For directions to the church and parking in Saffron Walden please see here.
What other resources about weddings do you recommend?
More information on weddings can be found on the Church of England's weddings site - www.yourchurchwedding.org
But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.'
God is love, and those who live in love live in God: and God lives in them.
1 John 4:16
Lord, we pray that as we get ready for our wedding day, not only will our love for each other grow stronger, but that we will become more aware of your great love for us. Amen