St Mary’s is a beautiful mediaeval church building. It has excellent facilities with organ, choir, flowers and bells. The worship space is practical and homely and offers the perfect setting for an English country wedding. It can seat up to 180 people.
Why get married? A relationship depends on mutual trust and commitment if it is to flourish. Marriage is best possible way for a couple to tell each other that they want to build that relationship of trust together, and that they are committed to it in good times and in bad.
Could we get married at St Mary’s? At St Mary’s we enjoy welcoming couples who are interested in marriage, but there are laws governing who can get married in a parish church like St Mary’s. For most people there are two key questions which are relevant.
First Question – Have either of you been married before? Things are straight forward if you have never been married before, are a widow or widower. If you are divorced things are more difficult. Traditionally the Church of England does not marry people who are divorced if they have a former spouse who is still alive. In 2002 the law changed to give incumbents more discretion to marry divorcees, but the Rector of Lapworth normally does not exercise that discretion. In most cases he asks couple to marry in a civil ceremony and then to have the new marriage blessed in church. This was the pattern followed by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2005. It helps us to aspire to the ideals of marriage, whilst still being realistic about difficulties that we have suffered in the past. The blessing of a marriage in church is a very beautiful ceremony and can include many of the trappings associated with a marriage service. Through the blessing service a new marriage can be held before God, in much the same way as a marriage contracted in church. To organise a church blessing of a civil marriage please contact the Rector (01564 782098).
Second Question – Do you have a connection with Lapworth or St Mary’s that the law recognises as allowing to get married in the parish church? The answer is probably “yes” if any of the following apply:
- you live in the parish. To see the parish boundary click in the “Find us” tab in the A Church Near You website.
- you are on the electoral role for the ecclesiastical parish
- you were Baptised at St Mary’s, Lapworth
- you were Confirmed at St Mary’s or through Lapworth Parish
- your parents or grandparents were married in St Mary’s
- you have lived in the parish for six months in the past
- your parents have lived in the parish for six months since during your lifetime
- you have worshipped regularly in the parish for six months
- your parents have worshipped regularly in the parish for six months during your lifetime
Note that if none of the above apply, then it is always possible to create a qualifying connection with the parish by worshipping at St Mary’s regularly (i.e. at least twice per month) for six months. The Rector believes that six months of regular worship is an excellent preparation for marriage and is pleased to work with couples who would like to establish a qualifying connection in this way.
To discuss getting married at Lapworth please telephone the Rector on 01564 782098.
How do we get married at St Mary’s? First of all telephone the Rector on 01564 782098 (Mornings, Monday to Thursday is usually the best time).
Initial Meeting – Typically 60 minutes, to check the legalities, explain the process and talk about marriage.
Marriage Preparation Meeting – This is an all day event (10am to 4pm) involving many couples, which takes place on the first Saturday of March each year. It encourages couples to reflect on their relationship and how it can be strengthened and enriched through getting married and being married.
Meeting 3-4 months before the Wedding – The legal preliminaries (Banns of Marriage or Licence) are set in motion. We plan the service and talk about the important texts in the Church of England Marriage Service.
Rehearsal – We normally meet in church during the week before the wedding to walk through the wedding service together.
Planning a marriage service at St Mary’s.
Printing an Order of Service Giving each member of the congregation Order of Service helps them to follow the marriage service and especially to join in with the hymns and the prayers.
It also provides a lovely souvenir of the occasion. (An Order of Service is not essential; we do have hymn books we can give out.) If you want to print an order of service, please discuss your plans with the Rector. The typical headings required are:
- Processional Music: (e.g. The Bridal March, Wagner)
- First Hymn (print all the words)
- The Marriage
- The Nuptial Blessing
- Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 13 read by ….
- Second Hymn (print all the words)
- The Lords Prayer (Include words)
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
- The Blessing
- Third Hymn (not essential but print all the words if included)
- Signing the Register (perhaps include details of music)
- Recessional Music: (e.g. The Wedding March, Mendelssohn)
Here is a good example of an Order of Service.
Organ Music at weddings. Often there is a lot of interest in the organ music on that the bride walks in to (Entry), and the music which the couple walk out to at the end (Exit).
The most traditional music is:
- The Bridal March: Wagner (Entry)
- The Wedding March: Mendelssohn (Exit)
Other good options include:
- The Arrival of the Queen of Sheba: Handel (Entry)
- Trumpet Tunes: Purcell (Entry of Exit)
- Trumpet Voluntary: Clarke (Entry of Exit)
- Hornpipe from Handel’s Water Music (Entry or Exit)
- Crown Imperial March: Walton (Exit)
- Pomp and Circumstance March No 4: Elgar (Exit)
- Toccata from 5th Symphony: Widor (Exit)
- Finale – Royal Fireworks: Handel (Exit)
You can hear what these pieces sound like on the PNMS website or often the pieces can be found on Youtube.
Organ music can also be played during the signing of the registers Organ music can also be played during the signing of the registers
The Church Choir St Mary’s has a good church choir. The choir can really help a wedding service by providing a strong lead for the congregation, especially with the singing.
The organist, Michael Neale, is always happy to discuss music with couples. This is usually best done after choir practise (about 9pm on Friday evening), or after the 11am service on a Sunday morning.
Hymns We would normally have two or three hymns in a wedding service. The hymns are important because they lift and enrich the service.
For help in choosing wedding hymns you might like to look at the Church of England website where it is possible to see the words and hear the music for many popular wedding hymns
Scripture readings A Church of England wedding we must always include at least one scripture reading. The scripture reading reminds us of church teachings on love and marriage.
Flowers St Mary’s has a flourishing Flower Guild which decorates the church Sunday by Sunday and specialises in preparing the church for weddings.
St Mary’s has a tower with six bells. If a couple wish to have the bells rung for their wedding, then this can normally be arranged. A fee is payable for the bellringers.
Photos and Video
If a service is to be videoed, either professionally or on a camcorder, then an additional “video licence fee” is payable to the church.
Cleaning and Confetti
Check List for planning a wedding service
- Are you printing an Order of Service?
- Organ music on entry
- Organ music on exit
- Do you wish to book the choir?
- First hymn
- Second hymn
- Third hymn, if required
- Arrangements for music during signing of the registers
- Scripture reading
- Do you wish for the Bells to be rung?
- Do you require a video licence?
- Do you require the church heating?
Fees for Weddings at St Mary’s
Follow this link for a table of wedding fees at St Mary’s