Marriage in the Parish of East Preston with Kingston
You’ve probably ended up here because you’re thinking about getting married in the parish church of St Mary. Congratulations on this big step! You may just be looking; you may have loads of questions. Although this doesn’t cover everything these are some frequently asked questions (if you want to know more, please get in touch with Fr Andrew). So, here we go…
1. What is a parish?
Most churches have a parish - a limited geographical area around them - for which they have responsibility. Anybody living in that area (even if they don’t profess Christian faith) can have access to their parish priest, seek advice, have their funeral conducted by the priest, seek baptism or marriage at their church and various other things!
The ecclesiastical parish is not the same as the (secular) East Preston Parish Council.
St Mary’s church is on the corner of Vicarage Lane and Station Road - in the north west corner of the parish! Boundaries are often weird things with historical roots which sometimes seem odd today. Below is a map showing the boundaries of the parish of East Preston with Kingston:
(On the west: Station Road and Angmering Lane. On the north: Worthing Road B2140. On the east: Boundstone Roundabout, via Ferring Rife to the sea)
2. Who can get married in St Mary’s church?
To get married in church one or both of you either need to live in the parish; or have what’s called a “Qualifying Connection” with the parish.
If either of you have been married before and still have an ex-spouse living you will need to speak to Fr Andrew. It’s not an automatic “no” - permission to marry those who have been married before lies with the parish priest working under a series of guidelines from the national Church.
There are currently seven possible Qualifying Connections, and they are:
• I was baptised in the parish (by a Church of England service/form of baptism)
• I have been confirmed (by a Church of England service) and my confirmation is entered in a register belonging to a church or chapel in the parish
• My parent or grandparent was married in the parish by a Church of England service
• I have had my usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months*
• My parent has had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months during my lifetime*
• I have habitually attended public worship at Church of England services in the parish for at least 6 months **
• My parent has habitually attended public worship at Church of England services in the parish for at least 6 months during my lifetime **
* This can apply whether or not you or your parent(s) are still resident in the parish
** This can apply whether or not you or your parent(s) are still attending worship in the parish
Note: In the Church of England Marriage Measure a parent means:
parent of either a legitimate or an illegitimate child; or an adoptive parent (this requires legal adoption); or a person “who has undertaken the care and upbringing” of another person.
So as you can see there’s plenty of scope.
3. How does it work?
If you are both British citizens and not in a terrific hurry, the best way would be by Banns. If one or both of you are EU citizens you may get married by Common License, or if one or both of you are citizens of a country not in the EU, you’ll need a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate.
4. What are Banns?
For the calling (or reading) of Banns your intention to marry is announced at the main service in church on three Sundays within a three month period of the date of your wedding. Banns must be called in the parish in which you live as well as the parish where you want to get married (if these are different) - so in the worst case you live in one parish, your fiancee lives in another and you want to get married at St Mary’s - you’d need Banns reading in three churches!
5. Do we have to be active Christians?
No. You don’t even have to be baptised. Because the Church of England is the established church there is a legal duty to marry those resident in the parish who have not been previously married, regardless of their faith or lack of it.
6. How much does it cost?
Fees vary depending on what elements you want in your wedding, and things like where you may need Banns reading. Also fees change on 1 January each year. To get up to date information, visit the Church of England website (look for Parochial Fees Table, at: https://www.churchofengland.org/more/clergy-resources/national-clergy-hr/life-events-parochial-fees-and-guidance), but for 2019 fees are like this:
The calling of Banns £30*
A Banns certificate £14 (*needed if you Banns are read in another parish)
Marriage Service itself £455*
A marriage certificate £11
An organist’s fee £80
A verger £20 (a person who helps out with practical things)
* = statutory costs - everything else is optional
Other fees may apply depending on your situation, but you will be advised and a full breakdown will be provided once you’ve settled on the elements you want. Fees are due at some stage before the wedding.
7. Three things we don’t have!
Currently a choir is not available at St Mary’s to sing at weddings.
We do not have a Flower Team to help you organise any displays (but you are very welcome to DIY or use a professional service if you wish).
St Mary’s only has one bell - so there’s no chance of a peal of bells I’m afraid!
There is a lot more to say about weddings, but these are some of the basics.
You may want to have a look at the Church of England website about weddings: https://www.churchofengland.org/life-events/weddings
Please do get in touch with Fr Andrew Perry if you want to know a bit more.