Getting Married in Church (part I)

<<Tidings, April 2019>>

“I publish the Banns of Marriage between A. of [Stockton] and B. of [Kirby Cane]. If any of you know cause, or just impediment, why these two persons should not be joined together in Holy Matrimony, ye are to declare it. This is the first [second, third] time of asking.”

For centuries the announcement of a forthcoming marriage
has been made in the Church of England with these sonorous words.

wedding bellsOne reason for such an announcement is easily understood. The Banns are read in public to ensure that neither of the two persons is already married or betrothed to someone else. That is why this form of words is read on three different Sundays in the church where the wedding is to take place.

In practical terms, if you want to get married in church, it is important, therefore, to leave plenty of time for these traditional formalities to be
completed, usually a month or two months ahead of the date you would like to fix for your wedding.

You must also establish a link to the parish and the church before an Ordinary License can be issued for the marriage to ahead.


The Banns of Marriage were formulated in English in 1549 when the Book of Common Prayer was first compiled and published. Life has changed a great deal since then. Part Two of these notes in the May issue of Tidings describes two forms of licence that may be needed.

If you or your relatives have access to the internet, there is an entire Church of England website about getting married in church – – and David Owen, our Rural Dean, is there to answer any further queries.

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