Getting married is a big thing!

Getting married is perhaps one of the biggest decisions we make in life. We all start with great hopes and expectations, of our partner, of our future and of the day itself. At Christ Church we understand exactly how you feel and want to make the whole marriage experience one which will stay with you for the rest of your life. This is why we offer, not just the wedding service itself, but also a marriage preparation course, which, we pray, will help to prepare you for both 'The Big Day' and also for your life together afterwards. We meet with the couple before the banns are read, discuss the order of service, and nearer the time we have a rehearsal to make sure that nothing goes wrong and everyone is feeling as clam as possible for the day itself.

Can we get married in your church?

Lots of people ask us that question, and for good reason, the building is ideal for weddings and the grounds are so nice that many couples have their wedding photos right outside the church. We'd love to say yes! to everyone, but we can't do that. There are regulations in the Church of England, just like the registry office, which govern who can or cannot be married in our church. This is what the basic criteria are:

The couple need to be:

  • over 18 years old
not related to one another

  • single or widowed

  • and resident within our parish
  • or on our electoral roll

  • the time is convenient to the church

These are the basic criteria to get married in any Church of England church and we can guarantee that if you fulfil these we can do the wedding service. The further you move away from these the more difficult it is to get married in our church. We find it difficult, for instance, to marry people who live a long distance from Leigh; equally, we are not inclined to marry people who have been divorced in the lifetime of their previous partner. We 'never say never', but please remember what the basic criteria are as you approach us for a wedding, we do not want to build false hopes and then have you disappointed.

How much does it cost to get married?

We cannot tel you exactly, because like everything fees increase year on year (by about 10%), but in 2006 the fees were  £315. This includes reading the banns, the service itself, paying the organist and the verger and the cost of a wedding certificate which you will go away with. This seems very reasonable to us when many brides will pay well over £1500 for a dress for the day and another £1000 to have it day video recorded! If you want a breakdown of the costs, then the clergy will be able to give you one after the beginning of the year in which the marriage takes place, because the fees run January to December.


MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE  (Assigned to Diocese) - £3.50

BANNS READING  (PCC & Vicar) - £19.00
WEDDING SERVICE  (Church) - £123.00

WEDDING SERVICE  (Assigned to Diocese) - £117.00

ORGANIST - £33.00

VERGER - £20.00

Church Heat/Admin (Church) - £24.50
BASIC TOTAL - £340.00

What are Banns?

Banns (spelt correctly) are a legal requirement in England. They are designed to prove that the information given by the couple is correct and give opportunity for anyone to object to the accuracy of the information. in most cases the banns are published by the local Registrar in the town where the marriage takes place. The information is often literally 'posted' on a wall of the office for 21 days.

In the Church of England things are slightly different in that the minister, is himself, a registrar. The information given by the couple is available for anyone to look at for 21 days and the banns are 'published', that is read out, in the main service for three consecutive Sundays, and are then valid for 3 months.

All that sounds very 'dry', let's say you were getting married at another church and wanted your banns read at Christ Church. This would happen if either of you live within the parish boundaries (roughly, Atherliegh Way, the A580 and the canal). The thing to do would be to ring the office or the vicarage about 4 months before the wedding (not earlier than 5 months and not later than 1 month) and book an appointment to give us the details of the marriage. One of you will need to sign to say that the information is correct, so we can't take the details over the phone or by email. The banns will then be read in our main morning service for three Sundays, and you are welcome to come to hear then, but it is not legally required. Once this is done and there are no objections, then we will contact you to collect a Banns certificate. The certificate MUST be seen by the minister who is marrying you or he cannot perform the serivce, so it is very important that you get it right.

The cost of reading the banns and a certificate afterwards changes each year, but is roughly £35 in 2007.

Please do not worry about the banns and certificate, if you are getting married in our church we will tell you all about it, or if you are getting married elsewhere, we are sure they will do the same. The main thing to do is to contact the church and book the wedding in good time for everyone (ideally around 12 months beforehand).

On the day

This is a big day for you as a couple and we do not want to dd to your concerns or worries for the day. All you need to do is to remember the things we talked about at the rehearsal and everything will be fine. Here are a couple of questions about the day:

What time should I book the wedding for?

We are flexible here and usually we only book one wedding per day, though very occasionally we may have two services on the day. The best thing to do is to work back from the reception. That is often the thing which has the clearest fixed time in the day. Let's say you were having a meal at the reception and then an evening party afterwards. You may want to eat at, say 5pm, in order to give plenty of time between the meal and the party. So then you would need to have all the guests at the reception for 4-30pm and it might take roughly 30 minutes to get everyone to the reception (4-00pm). Then, of course there are the photos, depending on your photographer these can take anywhere between 30 minutes and 90 minutes! Let's give that an hour (3-00pm). The service itself will take about 45 minutes, so rounding it up, you would need to begin the service at 2pm. You will find that most wedding services begin at either 1pm or 2pm for just this reason. We can have the service whenever you like provided, according to our rules, that it is 'within the hours of daylight'!

What about the photographer?

We see the service as very special and understand that you will want to keep a momento of the service. However it is also a deeply significant religious occasion, where we meet with God and make lifelong vows. So, we will allow the 'official photographer' to take slow exposure photos from the back of church. These do not interrupt the service and yet give you a good flavour of what is going on. We do not allow the guests to take photos during the service, but with your permission we will say that they may take photos as you come down the aisle to your final piece of music. This will mean that the service is not disrupted, and at the same time, they get a good photo of the occasion. We are very strict about people walking around during the service and 'clicking flash' here, there and everywhere! We have even threatened to eject people doing this dreadfully distracting practice.

What about Video recording the service?

There are a number of issues around video recording and it is a difficult area, to such an extent that many churches refuse to allow the video recording of wedding services altogether. We reserve the right to refuse to allow the recording of weddings, but in general, and under strict conditions we do allow it. We will talk with you about the whole area, but there are copyright issues involved as well as the possible disruption and disturbance with the service. Please do not assume that we will allow video recording, but neither assume that we rule it out.

What about confetti?

Confetti is a tradition, which, over the years, has caused churches thousands of pounds in cleaning bills and not a few serious accidents! It all seems very inocuous and lighthearted, but we had a wedding last July and I am still clearing up confetti from it and it is now 11 months later. Wet paper confetti turns the steps into ice, and plastic confetti is an absolute nightmare! We do not allow any confetti within the church grounds. Again, as we discuss the wedding with you, if you say, only the confetti that you personally bring is to be used, and that confetti is easily bio-degradable (e.g. rose petals, rice) then we would allow that only. The danger is that some well meaning aunt gets in on the act and upturns several boxes of plastic horse shoes all over you!

What about the flowers?

We are quite flexible here. We have a group of ladies who do the flowers in church regularly and they will do some flowers for you, and some extra if you wish. Of course, they would ask you to contribute to the cost of them, but this is usually only a few tens of pounds. You may want to use a florist and they will decorate the chruch for you, which will be considerably more expensive. If you use a florist, you might want to take the flowers with you at the end of the service. You are quite at liberty to do so, but we would ask that, if possible, you leave one of two arrangements in church, because our ladies will not have done anything and the church can look very bear the day after when all the flowers have been taken out.

What about the service?

We will go through the service itself at the rehersal, but here are a few questions we ask concerning the service:

What type of service do we want?

We offer a modern service (Common Worship), or can do the marriage responses from the old service (1662). The old service is being used less and less nowadayds, but we can still use the 'traditional' words for the vows, if you wish.

How many hymns do you want?

This would normally be two, but if you have good singers, then three. (We have Mission Praise complete which will accommodate most tastes)

How many rings are you having? 
Is it to be one, or two?

If there are two rings, we say words with each ring.

Does the bride want to say obey?

There is an option in today's services for the bride to omit the word obey.

What music do you want to enter and leave the church?

This is usually the Bridal March at the beginning, and the Wedding March at the end, though once again we can accommodate most tastes.

Do you want the church with extra heating?

This applies particularly in winter. There is already a cost included for background heating, but it may be necessary to have the heating on for a considerable period, in which case there is an additional cost.

Are you having a printed order of service?

This is often the simplest method of running the service, because everything is on one sheet. We will discuss the Order of Service when we meet. A tip here to cut your costs down. If you are having these produced professionally; have the minimum number produced in this way (e.g. for the reception party only), and then photocopy an extra number yourselves so that you can he sure of giving everyone in the church an Order of Service leaflet (though those not in the official party will not have theirs in a card cover).

Draft Order of service

We are very flexible as to what elements you might want in the service itself. Some people want a singer, others a poem etc. and we are sure that we can sort out the service in a way that will be best for everyone. But most people need a basis from which to work. In that case, here is a copy of the a draft order of service to give you an idea of how the service will run:

BRIDAL MARCH ‘Lohengrin' Wagner

(Omitted if there are only two hymns)

Love Divine all loves excelling, etc



The Lord's my Shepherd I'll not want; etc


Morning has broken like the first morning;   etc.

WEDDING MARCH  Mendelssohn

There are lot of practical things we talk about at the rehearsal and all we can say is, don't worry about those now! We will talk about them then, and we have done a lot more weddings than you have, so if anything goes wrong it's our fault and not yours!

After the honeymoon!

Ouch! This is when the real work begins and even on a web site there is not enough space to talk fully about developing and maintaining your relationship with one another. What we can say, however is that we give every couple a modern book about marriage and how to deepen your relationship with one another. It is called 'The Highway Code for Marriage' by Michael & Hilary Perrott (Publisher CWR). This small easy to read book gives you a good basis from which to work, covering all the major areas of married life from money and relationship, to sex and forgiveness.

Here is a little teaching we often give to couples as well:

Ephesians Ch. 5 v.21-3 1

This passage is very important, why not read it together. Here are a few ideas from it:


Part of marriage is to live for the other person rather than yourself; all the time we ought to be thinking, What would THEY appreciate? Not what would we appreciate. Take the example of a present, she might like flowers, whereas he would rather have something for the car. Of course this is simple, but now apply this principle to :- romance, sex, time off, holidays, a night out, and meals. 
Answer all 6 alone writing your answers down. Now get together and compare notes! Be VERY honest otherwise the exercise is useless.


In marriage a new thing begins, two individuals become a couple, consequently we cannot go on as though nothing had happened. A LEAVING must take place; and this can be a painful thing. It can be helped by setting up house, and so living with in-laws is not to be recommended, but it is much more than that. Discuss how you might react in the following circumstances: -
a disaster in the kitchen, a change of car, a flaming row/silence, an invitation for only one of you to a risqué office party, someone makes a pass at your partner, your mother complains that your partner is badly dressed. 
Remember you are to react in a new way! Again discuss your answers.


If a verse occurs once in the Bible it is important; this verse occurs four times. Marriage: is given by God (Gen. 2:l8); is equally for man and woman (Gen. 2:18, 20,23); is for the whole of your life (Mtt. 19:6); is very difficult to undo (Mtt. 19:9).
Does this alter your view of the importance of what you are about to do? How will you come to the service? Think of other important times in your lives and discuss them together. Tell one another about the happiest time in your life so far, the saddest time, the most painful time and the worst time. 
Remember to be totally honest. It is the only way to begin a new life together.


The strength of a marriage depends upon how much you are willing to put into it; this is two sided:-WOMEN: are to submit to their husbands; this is not very fashionable today, but there can only be one person at the helm, otherwise the ship is in trouble. There can only be one final decision. (v.22) MEN: are to love to the point of death! This is much harder than the women's part. Jesus loved enough to give up everything in heaven and to come to earth, and then to die on a cruel cross for you and me. Men are to love their wives like that, being willing to give up, a new car, a night at the pub, even a holiday abroad. Women, would you submit if. after discussion, your husband decided that you couldn't afford a new cooker.
Men would you be willing to sell your car to get a cooker for your wife?

A final thought COMMUNICATION; how you discussed these questions shows if you're being honest with one another, REALLY honest.

A Final Thought

All this may seem very daunting, but don't worry, at Christ Church we really enjoy being involved in this important time in your lives. We see it as both a joy and a privelege. We will help you through it and together we will make your wedding one which you will remember for the rest of your lives - for all the RIGHT reasons.