The decision to get married is a life-changing one and perhaps one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. A church wedding recognises the significance of what you are doing and adds both solemnity and joy to the occasion; it uniquely allows those gathered for the wedding to pray for you and invites God’s blessing on your new relationship.
If you are thinking of getting married in the Arle Valley Benefice we would love to talk to you.
Can we get married in the Arle Valley Benefice?
You are entitled to get married in any Benefice church if:
a) You live in the Benefice (New Alresford, Old Alresford, Ovington and Bighton).
b) You don’t live in the parish but you have worshipped with us on a regular basis for at least 6 months
c) If you have what is termed a Qualifying Connection which could be any of the following:
Either of you has lived in the parish for at least 6 months at any point in your life. Either of you was baptised or confirmed in the parish. Any of your parents or grandparents were married in one of our churches. Any of your parents lived in the parish after you were born or themselves worshipped in one of our churches for a period of 6 months. If none of these apply you can still be married in one of our churches by Special Licence but this does make the wedding more expensive.
What if one or both of us are divorced?
We welcome applications for marriage from people who have been divorced. We recognise that people make mistakes and that divorce is nearly always a painful experience, but we believe we have a God of forgiveness who always gives us the opportunity to make a fresh start. The Rector will of course, need to be sure that you have properly worked through any previous relationships and that you are prepared to be honest and have resolved any outstanding issues which may jeopardise the new relationship.
How much will it cost?
There is a required legal fee for marrying in a church. In 2021 it costs £552 if you marry away from where you live and £506 if you marry in your home parish.
This is set by the Church of England nationally and is the same for every church.
This basic legal fee includes the cost of the vicar, the church, publishing your banns, a banns certificate, the marriage certificate, lighting and all administration.
This required fee has ancient origins and ensures your church can maintain essential services like weddings, christenings, funerals and all kinds of other ministries for you and your community.
How do we book a date?
Please telephone the Parish Administrator:
Penny Forbes on 01962 733545 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office hours Monday to Friday 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.
What happens next?
When you book a wedding you will be invited to come to a booking interview at the Benefice office at St. John's. This will last about 30 minutes. During this time the Benefice Administrator will enter onto her computer all the correct factual information about names and addresses and dates of birth etc. and she will require proof of your ID and your address – so please bring your driving licence or passport. If you have been divorced, then she will also need to see your decree absolute. This meeting will ensure that you are legally entitled to be married in the Benefice, will give you some basic information and answer any questions you may have.
At the beginning of the year of your wedding – in late January or early February – you will be sent a leaflet confirming the date and time of the wedding, informing you of the total cost and giving you some further information. You will be asked for a deposit of £100 to confirm the booking and will be invited to a music evening so that you can begin to think about the music you would like for your wedding.
You will also be invited to contact the minister who will be taking your wedding to arrange two further, hour-long interviews in order for you to get to know them. At these meetings you will be able to plan the service and choose readings and hymns and talk through what it means to have a Christian marriage.
In the week before the wedding – usually the evening before – you will also be invited to the church for a 30 minute walk through and rehearsal.
This means that you will have met the minister on at least 4 occasions before the wedding and by then you should know each other quite well which helps us make every wedding personal to the couple concerned.
Please follow the link to the Church of England's 'Your Church Wedding' website further information and some real-life wedding stories.