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Marriage

Can we get married at St. Paul's Church?

The law is quite clear about which categories of people can get married in a particular church. The good news is that it has recently been changed to give you more choice about which church you can get married in.

In order to get married at St. Paul's Church, you would normally need to show that this statement is true for your fiance or for yourself:

One of us either (a) has St. Paul's as our LOCAL church or (b) has a CONNECTION with St. Paul's

  • In this statement, LOCAL means that you must live in the parish, a geographical area around the church. The map on this page will tell you whether you live in the parish, and therefore satisfy this criterion. You can show this to be true by providing proof of address.
  • In this statement, the kind of qualifying CONNECTION you can claim is legally defined:
    • One of you must at any time have lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months; or
    • one of you must have been baptised in the parish; or
    • one of you must have been prepared for confirmation in the parish; or
    • one of you must, at any time, have regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months; or
    • one of your parents, at any time after you were born, must have lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months; or
    • one of your parents, at any time after you were born, must have regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months; or
    • one of your parents or grandparents must have been married in the parish.
    You can show you satisfy each of these statements in a different way. The easier ones involve the church registers for baptism, wedding, confirmation, electoral roll, which are likely to be kept in the church safe. It is harder to show that someone lived in a particular place at some point in the past (e.g. bills or bank statements might be needed).

Can we get married at all?

Churches in the Church of England, including St. Paul's, are required to follow the law of the land. The Citizen's Advice Bureau has a useful guide to the law in this area. Please note that:

  • if either of you is divorced, as a minimum you will need a "Decree Absolute", and you would also need to attend an invinterview with the Vicar.
  • if either of you is a foreign national, you will need to obtain a "Superintendent Registrar's Certificate" from the Registrar.

If you are not sure whether these apply to you, please make contact and we can talk it through!

More information

Oldham Register Office's"How to get married" page contains a wealth of information about the legalities and practicalities of organising a Wedding: Licenses, Superintendent Registrar's Certificates etc.
UK Border Agency's page on whether anyone who is subject to immigration control is eligible for marriage or civil partnership in the United Kingdom.


How to arrange a Wedding Service

First, congratulations and welcome as you look forward to planning this significant moment in your relationship, and in your lives.

On this page, you can find out how to organise a Wedding at St. Paul's Church, Hathershaw, Oldham. We hope that you will find what follows useful, and that it will enable us to work together in planning a special celebration of your relationship on your Wedding Day.

You need to be aware at this point that getting married in church has a legal as well as a religious dimension.

Can we get married at St. Paul's Church?

The law is quite clear about which categories of people can get married in a particular church. The good news is that it has recently been changed to give you more choice about which church you can get married in.

You can find out whether the law allows you to get married at St. Paul's on the Are we eligible? tab above.

How much will it cost?

The 2018 fees for a wedding are set nationally by the Church of England.

Publication of
Banns of Marriage
£29.00
Marriage Service
(includes verger)
£474.00
Marriage Certificate
(at service)
£4.00
Organist Fee£60.00(optional)
Aditional Fee
if the service is filmed
£25.00(optional)
Set of two sheet
service sheets
£40.00(optional)

Please note

  • We do not have the capability for colour printing, so if you would prefer to print your own service sheets, digital versions can be provided, and you can have them printed yourselves.
  • A deposit of £50 is required to secure a booking.

What dates are available?

These are the Saturday bookings already made for the church. These dates are not available for other weddings this year. We try and keep this information as up to date as possible. There may be other Saturdays that are not available:

    What do we need to do?

    In the first instance, if you are both UK citizens or EEA nationals (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland), you would need to complete a Banns Form, and pay a £50 deposit to book the date. You also need to complete extra forms if (a) either of you has previously been married; or (b) if you want to get married on the basis of your "connection" with the parish, rather than because you currently live in it. or (c) if either of you is a foreign national, a separate process is involved and you may well be asked to complete a "Superintendent Registrar's Certificate.".

    Your Wedding

    There are certain parts of a wedding service that are fixed, because the service has a legal as well as celebratory side to it. However there are many options available to you to make the service as personal as possible: for example the Music, the Readings, and the Prayers.

    What music should we have in the Service?

    Hymns

    During the service, it would be usual to sing two hymns, although there could easily be three. But it is important to choose music that people will know. It is also possible to arrange for the Church Choir to sing during the service. There will be an additional charge for this.

    Your Church Wedding has a page for Wedding Hymns where you can listen to some popular choices. But do bear in mind that it is important to choose hymns that people will know!

    Classical Music:

    Classical music would be played: as the bride arrives in church at the beginning of the service; during the signing of the registers; and as the newly-married couple leave the church at the end of the service.

    There is a broad range of music available from the traditional to the modern. We would encourage you to let the church organist play as much of the service music as possible - but there is also a CD player available to play your choice of music that is not appropriate for the organ.

    PROCESSIONALS - played as the bride arrives and walks up the aisle:

    (links are to wikipedia, where you can listen to a sample of the music)

    RECESSIONALS - played as the bride and groom leave, and walk down the aisle:

    (links are to wikipedia, where you can listen to a sample of the music)

    MORE SOURCES OF MUSIC

    A number of music samples can be found on this page. But please note that unless you can find yourself a string quartet, at St. Paul's, these would normally be played on the organ

    And more can be found here

    What about Readings?

    The rules about readings are simple: you must have at least one biblical reading - from a selection on offer. Many couples also choose to have a non-scriptural reading. And this enables you to make the service more personal, also reflecting your beliefs and values about love and marriage.

    You are encouraged to invite a family member or friend to read the readings you choose. However if all else fails, the Vicar or a member of the choir (if present) can read it!

    Readings from the Bible

    Click the links for a selection of biblical readings from The Church of England or YourChurchWedding.

    Readings from outside the Bible

    Click the links for a selection of non-biblical readings from The Diocese of Manchester or YourChurchWedding that you might choose for your wedding service.

    Choosing readings together, also helps you think through the way your relationship - your marriage - will work in the years to come, as you consider what you value in your relationship.

    • At St. Paul's we are happy to print your service sheets for you at a relatively small charge. We cannot do colour photos, or card. The sheets would be black print on coloured, or white paper.

    • The bridegroom would give a ring to the bride in the wedding service. But you also have the option for the bride to give a ring to the bridegroom.

    • "Who brings this woman to be married to this man?" are the actual words in the service.
      You are welcome to invite a significant relative or friend to play this part in the service.

    • At St. Paul's we encourage you to sign the registers in full view of the congregation, while music is played, and with a short opportunity for photographs at the end: a wedding is a legal as well as a religious event.

    • Yes - within two days of the wedding: to iron out any possible hitches, so that everyone involved knows what to expect what to do, and can relax and enjoy the day.

    • You are welcome to use confetti, but please encourage people to use bio-degradeable confetti!

    • The law here is quite straightforward. You should contact the relevant legal authority. A link to: the Government's "Change your name (by deed poll)" page.

    More Information

    Your Church Wedding contains a wealth of helpful information about organising a Church of England Wedding: orders of service, hymns, banns of marriage, money-saving ideas, FAQs, alternatives, etc