Getting married in the Church in Wales
The introduction to the Church in Wales Marriage Service describes marriage as a gift from God. The Bible teaches that marriage is a life-long, faithful union between a man and a woman, and compares married love with the love Jesus has for his people – a love expressed in his willing sacrifice of himself on the cross.
Marriage is a gift of God through which husband and wife may grow together in the knowledge, love and service of God. It is given that, united with one another in heart, in mind and in body, they may increase in love and trust. God joins husband and wife in life-long union as the foundation of family life (in which children are born and nurtured and) in which each member of the family, in good times and in bad, may find strength, companionship and comfort, and grow to maturity in love. Marriage enriches society and strengthens community.
from the Church in Wales order for Holy Matrimony
Jesus therefore sets the greatest example of unconditional, self-sacrificial love – a model that husband and wife can seek to follow in the way they love one another, each putting the other’s needs first. At the heart of the marriage ceremony is the exchange of vows, in which a couple make a public declaration of lifelong commitment to love each other, whatever the future may bring.
Christians believe that in marriage we find the proper expression of our sexuality, a secure environment for bringing up our children, and an important element of stability for the wider community.
You have a right to be married in your local parish church.
The law requires that at least one of those to be married should:
- resides in the parish where the wedding is to take place, or
- be a regular worshipper in the parish and to have your name entered on the church electoral roll, or
- have a ‘qualifying connection’. A ‘qualifying connection’ as described in the Marriage (Wales) Act 2010 is that you were baptised or confirmed in the parish, that you or a parent formally lived for at least six months in the parish, that you or a parent formerly habitually attended worship in the parish for at least six months or that a parent or grandparent had been married in the parish.
If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents’ consent to marry.
There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced (see FAQ).
The normal preliminary to getting married in the Church in Wales is by banns, the procedure of notifying people of your intention to marry. There are circumstances in which some form of licence, such as a Common Licence or Special Licence, is more appropriate. Your vicar or rector will advise you about this. More information about the various legal preliminaries to marriage is available from the Faculty Office website.
If you are thinking of a church wedding, you should contact your parish priest in the first instance. You can usually find the minister’s address and telephone number on the church noticeboard. You can also find the minister’s address and telephone number by searching for a church or a parish or searching for a a church close to you by entering your postcode on this website. In each case, following the link to details about the parish or church will show the contact details of the minister in charge.