Such a perfect day
Wedding days can often take quite some planning! After all, it’s such a special time, and there are so many things to get just right, to make the day perfect.
The dress and flowers, the cars and cake, the bridesmaids and confetti, the banquet and the speeches, the list can go on and on! Although many weddings tend to have all these things – and more -to make the day so special what lies at the heart is quite simple.
Two people publicly pronounce their love one another and give themselves to one another for life. They exchange rings: a sign of their unending love and faithfulness, and a reminder of the vows they make. Finally, the priest blesses the couple and those present pray for them. It couldn’t be simpler!
Yes, the marriage bond is so special that the Church has raised it to the dignity of a sacrament. The love that the couple have for one another expresses the love that Jesus has for the church. Through the grace of the sacrament the couple are strengthened in their love. Their love is perfected and caught up in the divine love. Is this what we really mean when we talk about a marriage made in heaven?!
Weddings are a costly business, often running into thousands of pounds. Yet, in offering themselves to each other in complete trust both partners will be running a far greater cost! For love, the kind of authentic love which reflects the love of God is willing to give everything: it asks for and offers a lot, which is why family and friends are so filled with joy on the day and want to be part of the celebrations!
Marriage is a partnership. Yes, it is a partnership for the couple: after all, they become ‘one flesh’ but it is also a partnership with God. God is involved intimately in their relationship.
At the heart of all the wedding plans is this knowledge that makes the wedding day so perfect and the marriage special.
“To have and to hold from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live, according to the will and purpose of God. In the presence of God I make this vow.”From the Wedding Vows
The Wedding Service
There are different versions of the Wedding Service but all follow the same structure.
Once the bride and groom have arrived, the priest welcomes everyone and introduces the wedding service, reminding all present of the meaning of Christian marriage.
He asks all who are gathered and then the couple if they know of any reason why, according to the law of the Church or of the land, they may not be married. If there is no impediment to the marriage the Wedding Ceremony continues.
There is a prayer, followed by readings from the Bible. The priest may give a short homily (sermon) and then the couple make promises to one another.
The priest blesses the rings which are then exchanged by the couple. The priest then announces that they have been married.
The priest leads everyone in prayer for the couple’s life together, and the service ends with a Blessing.
The happy couple then leave the church together!
I give you this ring as a sign of my love and faithfulness. With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.The Giving of Rings, Church in Wales Marriage Service
Who can be married at St Mary’s
To be able to be married at St Mary’s one of you is required to be living within the parish or to have some ‘qualifying connection’ with the parish. These are:
- that person was baptised in that parish (unless the baptism took place in a combined rite which included baptism and confirmation) or is a person whose confirmation had been entered in the register book of confirmation for any church or chapel in that parish;
- that person has at any time had his or her usual place of residence in that parish for a period of not less than six months;
- that person has at any time habitually attended public worship in that parish for a period of not less than six months;
- a parent of that person has during the lifetime of that person had his or her usual place of residence in that parish for a period of not less than six months or habitually attended public worship in that parish for that period;
- a parent or grandparent of that person has been married in that parish.
(If one of the couple is a foreign national, then other legal formalities are required.)
Banns of Marriage
Most people are married after the Publishing of Banns (where your intention to get married is read out on three consecutive Sundays) or, less frequently, by a Common or Special License.
If only one of you lives in the parish of St Mary’s you will need to arrange the reading of banns in the parish in which the other lives. If neither of you live in the parish but you are able to get married at St Mary’s by fulfilling one of the qualifying connections above then the banns must be read in the parish in which each resides and in the church where the marriage is to be solemnized.
If you’d like to explore arranging your wedding at St Mary’s, then please get in touch. We’d be delighted to hear from you!