Weddings & Prayers and Dedication
If you are reading this page you most probably have recently got engaged and are looking for all we offer in terms of getting married at St John’s – you are in the right place! You may be enquiring to see if getting married at St John’s is possible and right for you or you may have already decided upon a civil marriage service and are thinking about having a Servive of Prayer and Dedication. Do look at the information below for more details about having a Service of Prayer and Dedication or Getting Married at St John’s which we hope is helpful in making this occassion special for you.
We know that there are a lot of questions that are asked about marriage in the Church of England from “Can I get married in Church?” through to “How do I find out more?” – a good place to start is by looking at the Church of England site Your Church Wedding which answers these and many more questions you may have, as well as providing a lot of useful information.
Getting Married at St John’s
We are delighted that you are considering being married at St John’s Church and look forward to celebrating your special day with you and your guests. We know there is a lot that needs to be planned and organised to make your Wedding Day the occasion that will hold many wonderful memories for years to come. We may not be able to help organise the reception but we are committed to making your experience in church the best it can be. We hope the information below is helpful to you as you consider having your marriage service with us. There may well be areas that we have not covered that are important to you and if this is the case please do contact us as soon as possible so we can address any questions or concerns you may have.
We believe marriage to be a unique, binding commitment to one another and that a good marriage is a journey of discovery, of finding fulfilment and continually taking pleasure in your partner. We recognise that this is something that every couple constantly needs to work at and give time to. Please be assured of our prayers as you begin this wonderful journey of new discoveries which is marriage.
There are several key people who you will come into contact with as you prepare for your wedding day at St John’s.
Either Revd Jonathan Hillman or Revd Jean Lewis will be conducting your Marriage service. Jonathan is Rector at St John’s and Jean is the Honorary Assistant Priest. Both enjoy engaging with wedding couples, their families and guests to make the wedding day memorable for all the right reasons.
The Parish Administrator, Kim Murray, is generally your first port of call if you have any general questions or enquiries relating to your wedding which are not to do with the service itself. It is her role to ensure we are all in the right place at the right time!
Before you get your hopes up we have to say that we are unable to provide you with your own Personal Assistant but Lin Howland, one of our Pastoral Assistants (P.A.), is on hand to provide a friendly face, a loving arm and generally to be a point of contact throughout your journey to marriage and on into married life.
We have a team of people who are trained to assist us on the day. The role of the Wedding Verger is to ensure the building is open and prepared for you and your guests in good time. They are also there to help your Ushers fulfil their duties and are a point of contact for any questions on the day. Even though the Wedding Verger is an optional extra when it comes to your wedding requirements we strongly recommend them to you as their services are invaluable.
ORGANIST & CHOIR DIRECTOR
Kath McNaught, our organist, and Karen Ciupak who heads up our choir are greatly gifted musicians who enjoy all that they do. They love to meet wedding couples to talk through how they can add that something special to your day.
What to Expect On the Day
One question we are frequently asked is what happens on the day. We find your time at church falls neatly in to three areas, your arrival at church, the marriage service, and the time after the service before you depart for the reception.
YOUR ARRIVAL AT CHURCH
We ask that the groom and his entourage of the best man and ushers to arrive at church no later than 40 minutes before the beginning of the service. This will allow time for the ushers to talk with the Wedding Verger to ensure they are clear about how parking etc. is going to work and who will be responsible to welcome your guests. The groom and best man will also need time to check the entry in the registers before taking their seats. We suggest they are seated about 10 minutes before the start of the service and in good time before the arrival of the bridal party.
We ask that all guests are seated before the arrival of the bridal party and that the bride arrives in good time, at least 5-10 minutes before the agreed starting time. We need to remind you that the time of the service is the time the service is set to begin not the time the bride arrives. Please remember that the organist, choir and ministers may have other commitments that follow on from your service. A late arrival may have to result in a hymn or two being missed out, something that we would all rather avoid!
THE MARRIAGE SERVICE
The marriage service lasts approximately 45minutes and generally follows this order:
- Entry of the Bride
- The Welcome
- The Declarations
- The Marriage
- Final Hymn
- The Signing of the Register
- The Dismissal
After the service has concluded the wedding party make their way to the West Door where they are generally held for photographs. It is our policy that if the weather is inclement that photographs can be taken inside the church as long as the church is clear in good time for any following service. We will advise you of this if it becomes necessary.
It is during this time that group photographs are taken and confetti is thrown. We ask that you please use biodegradable confetti and that your guests refrain from throwing confetti close to the church doors. If confetti could be thrown as close to the tarmac path as possible it helps keep the front of the church tidy.
As a church we are blessed with some good modern facilities. These include toilets and baby changing facilities both of which have accessible access. The Church is fitted with an induction loop sound system so all can hear well. There is level access into the church via the South Porch to provide accessible access. We do however struggle with parking space at times so ask that your Ushers have a conversation with the Wedding Verger to ensure guests are directed to park sensibly. We find that if your guests follow the ushers instructions there is generally not a problem getting everyone parked safely.
A Service of Prayer and Dedication
A service of Prayer and Dedication is generally offered following a civil marriage ceremony. A couple may have chosen not to hold their wedding servivce in church for a variety of reasons but would like to have a time of prayer and dedication within the church and have their marriage blessed.
The service of Prayer and Dedication is one in which the couple, already married, come wishing to dedicate to God their life together. As it is not a marriage service, banns are not called nor any entry made in the church Register of Marriages. Husband and wife enter the church together as they make their way to the front. Prayers are offered and a bleesing is given. Hymns may be sung as part of the service.