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Considering a church wedding at St. Piran’s?

We are delighted you are thinking of celebrating your marriage in St. Piran’s Church. We will do everything we can to make your day happy and memorable.

Just starting to plan? The first port of call should be your local parish priest who will be able to provide you with information and advice on getting married in church. Please click on Contacts.

Which parish can we get married in?

You may get married in any parish provided it is:

The parish in which one or both of you reside. This means that when you give notice to the minister that you want to get married, you are actually living in the parish and that you occupy somewhere in the parish as a home. In other words, it’s the parish where you live permanently.
The parish in which one or both of you are on the church electoral roll. This is the Church of England electoral roll.
The parish in which one or both of you has a qualifying connection. You have a qualifying connection with a parish if:

  • You were baptised in the parish by a Church of England service or form of baptism
  • You have been confirmed by a Church of England service and your confirmation is entered in a register belonging to a church or chapel in the parish
  • Your parent or grandparent was married in the parish by a Church of England service
  • You have had your usual place of residence in the parish for at least six months
  • Your parent has had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least six months during your lifetime
  • You have habitually attended public worship at a Church of England service in the parish for at least six months
  • Your parent has habitually attended public worship at a Church of England service in the parish for at least six months during your lifetime

The Bishop has given a direction concerning marriages in the benefice. Often a parish is part of a group of parishes called a benefice.  Sometimes the Bishop has given a direction that a couple who have a legal right to marry in one of the parishes in the benefice in the benefice can marry in any of the other parishes in the benefice.  The minister of the parish will be able to tell you if the Bishop has made a direction.

If you are not sure if you have a qualifying connection, discuss it with the minister you hope will be able to marry you.

How do we get married by banns?

Calling banns means that your names, your status (whether you are a single person, divorced or widowed) and the parish in which you reside are read out during the main service in the church on a Sunday.

Banns are published on three Sundays preceding the marriage, although not necessarily three successive Sundays, at a morning service or an evening service if there is no morning service.

Once you have decided which parish and which building you can marry in and you have spoken to the minister, you can ask the minister to publish your banns of marriage. He or she will provide you with a form to complete with your details or will arrange to meet you to obtain the information. If you have a qualifying connection with the parish, you complete a different form. It can be downloaded by clicking here. If you are using this form you must also supply the evidence which supports your qualifying connection. The minister will also ask you both for documentary proof of nationality. The necessary documents are a valid passport or one or more of the documents set out at paragraph 2.8 in Guide book for the Clergy. Click on www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-the-clergy. If either of you is not a citizen of the UK, Switzerland or any country in the European Economic Area (and there is a list of EEA countries at 2.6 of the Guide), you can only marry after obtaining a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (see below).

What happens if the banns cannot be called?

This might happen if:

  • There is no parish in England or Wales in which banns can be called. Perhaps you or your intended lives abroad or is not permanently resident in this country.  In those circumstances there is no parish in which you or your intended resides in which banns can be called
  • There is not sufficient time for the banns to be called on three Sundays
  • You do not want your banns to be published
  • One of you is not a citizen of the UK, Switzerland or any country in the European Economic Area (there is a list of EEA Countries at paragraph 2.6 of the Guide book for Clergy here www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-the-clergy

If any of these apply to you, you can obtain a common licence, a superintendent registrar’s certificate or a special licence but in the case of the last bullet point, the marriage can only be after you have obtained a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (see below)

How do I obtain a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate?

For this you will have to make a declaration that you have had your usual place of residence within the parish in which you intend to marry for a period of 7 days immediately before making your declaration.

This means you or your intended has actually lived there throughout the period either in your own home, that of a friend, a hotel, a B&B or elsewhere.

This process is dealt with by the Superintendent of Births Deaths and Marriages. Both you and your intended will have to make the declaration. You should contact your local superintendent registrar by telephone to make the appointment and agree the information that you will need to provide and the fee you will have to pay.

After you have both made a declaration, the superintendent registrar will put up a notice on his board for 28 days, after which you can apply for your certificate. You must give it to the minister who will conduct the service. The certificate is effective for 12 months.

If you are applying for a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate because one of you is not a citizen of the UK, Switzerland or any country in the European Economic Area you must both attend at a Designated Register Office. The notice period may be extended to 70 days. For more information, see paragraph 2.10 – 2.12 in Guidebook for the clergy which can be found here www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-for-the-clergy. In this case it is possible to obtain a certificate if one of you has a qualifying connection (see which parish can we get married?)

How do I obtain a special licence?

This is obtained from the Archbishop of Canterbury

He is able to grant a licence for a marriage in any place and at any time, although in practice the licence will only authorise a marriage in a Church of England church or chapel.

You should contact the Archbishop’s Faculty Office at 1 The Sanctuary Westminster London SW1P 3JT telephone 0207 222 5381 email faculty.office@1The sanctuary.com This takes you to the website of the Faculty Office of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

What happens if one of us has been divorced?

It is possible for you to marry in church if you or your partner has been married before.

When one or both of you have been divorced, you can be married by banns or licence but it is at the discretion of each individual minister. The best place to start is to contact your local minister and have a discussion. He or she is likely to want to know about your previous marriage and its breakdown. The minister will also need to see the original Decree Absolute documents early on in any discussions.

A minister is not obliged to officiate at the wedding or allow the church or chapel to be used for the marriage. There will be a discussion with the Bishop before a decision is made on whether to officiate at the wedding or not.

If your local minister chooses not to take the marriage, you are welcome to approach other parishes where you have qualifying links.

For further clarification on Church of England marriage preliminaries, please contact either your local vicar or the Diocesan Registrar at the Truro Diocesan Registry, Malpas Road, Truro TR1 1QH. Telephone 01872-260744.

Alternative to Ecclesiastical Preliminaries - Notice of Marriage

If for any reason the vicar is unable to call your banns or issue a common licence, but agrees to allow your marriage to be conducted in the church, it will be necessary for you to follow the procedure for civil marriages called 'notice of marriage'. Notice of marriage must be given personally to the superintendent registrar at your local register office in lieu of banns. The vicar will advise you if your legal preliminaries need to be carried out by the local superintendent registrar. If this is the case it is helpful to get a letter from the vicar confirming that banns are not being read but there is agreement for you to marry in the church. Notice of marriage takes the place of banns and there cannot be publication of banns for one party and a notice of marriage for the other party.

Notice of marriage is the completion of official forms before the superintendent registrar in whose district you have the required residential qualification. Normally, the vicar will require that you do not give more than three months' notice from the date of your wedding. Sometimes the vicar will extend this to twelve months prior to the marriage, but you must check this before you see the superintendent registrar.

Giving Notice of Marriage to the Superintendent Registrar

For a marriage to take place in a Church of the Church of England on the authority of the local superintendent registrar, one of you must have a seven-day residential qualification in the parish or ecclesiastical district in which the church (where the marriage is to take place) is situated. The church must also be in the registration district of the superintendent registrar to whom notice is given. However, you may also marry in a church even if you do not live in the parish providing it is the usual place of worship of either both or one of you and that you are on the electoral roll. 

It is a legal requirement that a notice of marriage is given separately by each person to be married. The notices must be given personally to the superintendent registrar of the district where you usually reside. If you live in a different district to the person that you are marrying, you must give notice at the Register Office in each district.

Once the notices are given, 28 clear days must elapse before the superintendent can issue the authorities for the marriage.

From 2 March 2015 the waiting period for a Notice of Marriage has been extended to 28 clear days for all couples.

The marriage may not be solemnised without the consent of the clergyman of the church in which the marriage is to take place or by any person other than a clergyman of the Church of England or Church of Wales.

The superintendent registrar of the district where you give notice will be able to tell you of the fees payable and advise of the documents you will need to produce, such as evidence of your name, age, marital status and nationality.

For further guidance or to contact the Superintendent Registrar, please telephone the Registration Information Service on 0300 1234 181.