Weddings

“For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health…”

Your wedding day should be a moment that is full of joy and laughter, but also profound meaning, as you commit yourself to someone else for the rest of your life. At St Andrew and St Mark, we hope that your wedding will be all of these things. Both churches are beautiful in their own ways, and great locations to be married. We can offer great musical possibilities, with choir, organ and the facility for recorded music; flowers can be arranged. There are also clergy to officiate, who are experienced but also passionate about making a marriage service both personal and meaningful.

We expect all couples to be committed to attend a marriage preparation course, which runs from 10am to 4pm on a Saturday, twice a year.

To find out more, look at our weddings introduction pack or look at these pages.

WEDDING INTRODUCTION PACK

Can I get married in St Andrew’s or St Mark’s?

Wedding photo

A church wedding is also a legally binding service and there are certain qualifications that mean your marriage will be legally valid. You may be married in St Andrew or St Mark:

  • when either the bride or bridegroom (or both) live in the parish: our parish covers quite a lot of Surbiton but not all of it: go to achurchnearyou.com and type in your postcode and you will find out if you are indeed in the parish.

You may also be married at St Andrew or St Mark if you satisfy any of the following “qualifying connections”:

  • if this is the parish where you were baptised and/or confirmed
  • if you have lived in this parish for 6 months or more, at any time during your lives
  • if you have attended worship regularly at our churches for at least 6 months (meaning at least twice a month)
  • if this is the parish where your parents have lived or worshipped (during your lifetime)
  • if your parents or grandparents were married in this parish.
Do I need to be a practising Christian to get married in church?
  • Because the Church of England is the national church, everyone has the right to get married at the parish church where they live, so long as they prepare properly. So you could be Richard Dawkins and believe that religion is nonsense, but if you lived in the parish and wanted to get married in the church, you would ultimately have the right to do so. That said, you also have to ask yourself, if you are, for example, an atheist, if a church really is where you want to get married.
  • For the day to work well, you need to be in sympathy with the prayers and blessing that are offered to you, and the vows you are to make, but don’t worry if you haven’t been to church in years (or not at all!), you are welcome to get married here, so long as:
    • you engage with a marriage preparation course
    • you fulfil one of the legal criteria outlined above
    • you are happy to use the Church rules during the service (e.g. saying certain vows)
Do I need to be English to get married in the Church of England?
  • Whether or not you are English doesn’t affect whether your service will be legally valid. In terms of applying to get married, there is a significant difference if one or other of you is from outside an EEA country (i.e. mostly Europe), as the process for applying is not to do with ‘banns’ but involves obtaining a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate.
What if one of us has been married and divorced?
  • If either (or both) of you have been married before and divorced this is not a barrier to being married in the Anglican Church but it is something that needs to be discussed with the priest who is going to marry you. You would also need to show a decree absolute to prove your previous marriage has been dissolved.
Can I get married on any day?
  • Most people choose to get married on a Friday or a Saturday but you can get married on other days. At St Andrew and St Mark, we do not perform weddings during Lent (the penitential season of the church: the six weeks leading up to Easter.)
  • The church space needs to be free. You won’t be able to get married if someone has already booked the church space at that day and time.
What if I want to get married to my partner who is the same sex as me?
  • There are several same sex couples in our congregation, some of whom are married; we are very positive about couples who want to remain faithful to each other, whatever their gender. However, while there are prayers we can offer for you, legally, we cannot offer same sex marriage ceremonies in our church. When the government introduced same sex marriage in 2014, the Church of England deliberately asked to be excluded from that process, so your marriage would not be legally valid. Many of us are not happy with that decision; nonetheless, we abide by it.
What if I live in the parish but I want to get married at a church elsewhere in the Church of England?
  • Lots of couples who live in Surbiton decide to get married at a church somewhere else but to which they have a connection (e.g. their parents live there). While we are sad that you have overlooked the beautiful churches and the eager clergy that are on your doorstep, we will not hold it against you. What you probably need from us is what is known as ‘having your banns read’. This happens on three successive Sundays, and is the public announcement that you are due to get married: people have the right then to make an objection (though no one ever has, in my experience).
  • You don’t have to attend the church to hear this, but it’s quite fun to do so.
  • At the end of these announcements, you receive a form that looks a bit like a cheque from us to say your banns have been read, and you will need to show this to the vicar at the other church.
  • You do not need to meet with the clergy to organise this, but you need to contact the parish administrator on 020 8390 9129, and she can send you the requisite fee.
  • The fee for this is £40.
What is a typical timetable of events?

Things can vary a little, but this is a guide for a usual timetable for getting married:

Between two years and six months before getting married

  1. Find someone who is prepared to marry you. (I know, but you’d be surprised…)
  2. Check to see if you qualify to get married in one of our churches: see steps above
  3. Make call to parish office (020 8390 9129) or vicarage (020 8399 0639) to arrange visit to meet vicar or curate
  4. Work out the date you would like to get married
  5. Decide whether you want to be married at St Andrew’s or St Mark’s: they are both beautiful but in slightly different ways
  6. Meet with the vicar or curate. You and your partner fill out an ‘Application for Banns’ form with the vicar or curate. You will be given more information about costs and options for the service
  7. Attend a marriage preparation course. Typically, there is one every September and one every February. Or you could attend a course run by another church.
  8. Decide whether you want an organist and/or a choir and/or flowers

Three to six months beforehand:

  1. Do the marriage preparation course if you haven’t been able to do it before.
  2. Meet with the Director of Music, typically after a service on Sunday morning, to decide on your music choices.

Our lead director of music is Simon Harvey: simonharvey2017@gmail.com

You can choose pieces for the organist and/or choir to play. You may also choose music from CDs to plug into our audio-visual system.

  1. Decide on whether or not you want a choir, and decide on what anthems you would like them to sing.
  2. Decide on which Bible reading you will want to have read during the service. Using yourchurchwedding.org can help.

Two months beforehand

  1. Confirm your colour scheme with the person who is looking after your flowers. You should also confirm your budget for this.

For St Mark’s, please contact Anne Barker on 020 8399 4078

For St Andrew’s, please contact Jackie Page on 020 8942 3906

A month to two weeks beforehand

Agree order of service with vicar or curate.

Get that order of service printed.

In the week beforehand

  1. Pay all the fees
  2. Attend a rehearsal, typically at 6pm one or two days before the wedding ceremony. If relevant, this is also when you show the ‘banns form’ from the other church. The sort of people we would like to attend that rehearsal are: bride, groom, at least one bride’s maid, father of the bride (if you’d like him leading you in), best man. We can also welcome anyone else, but those five are the key people.

Table of costs: 2017 figures. Note that it changes slightly each year

 There are certain set fees which we are unable to change, so you need to pay at least £456. Then, there are other things which are ‘add ons’. To be honest, almost everyone has an organist and some flowers. Just over half of couples choose to have the choir sing at the wedding. But you don’t have to have this.

Cost of service, including application for banns, filling out registers, a copy of your wedding certificate

£456

Flowers

£50 – 200

Organist

£100

Choir

£200

Total

£456 – £956