Congratulations on your engagement and your desire to get married in church. You do not need to have been baptised or to have been a regular worshipper in order to be married in church. There are a number of resources alongside to help you with planning your service. These are explained in detail on our Marriage Preparation day, or in a meeting with the Rector.
Many waters cannot quench love;
rivers cannot sweep it away.
If one were to give
all the wealth of one’s house for love,
it would be utterly scorned.
Song of Solomon 8:7
The first step is to establish whether you can be be married in either of the churches here. Marriage in church is governed by law and Church of England clergy are obliged to ensure that the necessary legal requirements are satisfied. You can phone or email the Rector to make an initial enquiry. We like to say ‘yes’, but even if we have to say ‘no’, we can usually help you find a church where you can be legally married. Guidance is provided below.
Since October 2008, a change in the Law has made it easier for couples to get married in the church of their choice. The ‘Parish’ means:
The Parish of Saltwood for weddings at St. Peter & St. Paul, Saltwood
The Parish of Lympne for weddings at St. Stephen, Lympne
You can be married at the parish church if either of you:
- normally live in the Parish, (check your postcode at A Church Near You)
- can demonstrate a ‘Qualifying Connection’, (see below)
- can satisfy the requirements for the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special Licence (see the Faculty Office).
You have a Qualifying Connection to the Parish if any one of the following applies for either one of you:
- you were baptised or prepared for confirmation in the parish;
- you have, at any time, lived in the parish for six months or more;
- you have, at any time, regularly attended public worship in the parish for six months or more (providing you contact us well in advance of your proposed wedding, with a little commitment most couples can establish a qualifying connection through this route in time for the calling of banns);
- one of your parents has lived in the parish for six months or more in your lifetime;
- one of your parents has regularly attended public worship there for six months or more in your lifetime;
- your parents or grandparents were married in the parish.
(Notes: all of these refer to Church of England services. The term “parent” includes an adoptive parent and any other person who has undertaken the care and upbringing of the person seeking to establish a qualifying connection and “grandparent” shall be construed accordingly.)
The Rector will consider marrying couples where one or both partners are divorced and a previous partner is still living. However, this is not a light undertaking and the House of Bishops has issued guidance for their clergy. You are advised to read the following document Guidance for marriage in church after divorce. You should be aware that the process this requires can take some time and cannot be rushed. The Rector has a legal right not to marry couples where he suspects that one or both of the parties are of an acquired gender.
Couples where either partner is divorced with a previous partner still living, or where either partner is not a British Citizen are advised to contact the Rector well in advance of any proposed wedding date.