If you have just got engaged, congratulations! You will have a number of important things to plan for your forthcoming wedding day, at the heart of which will be your wedding ceremony.
If you are thinking about getting married at St. Thomas a Becket, Hampsthwaite we hope these pages will help answer some of your immediate questions. Once you have an idea of the date you are hoping for, please contact the Parish Administrator in the first instance to check that your date is available and that you are able to marry at St Thomas’s.
Please download our Weddings Leaflet to help you with some vital information (see here) or read on for further information.
Can we get married at St. thomas’S?
The Church of England has special rules regarding who can get married in a local church. These rules changed in October 2008 to make it easier to get married in a church with which you have a connection.
If you currently live in the parish or you used to live in the parish for more than 6 months, if you were baptised or confirmed in the parish or if your parents or grandparents were married in the parish, then you have a qualifying connection with the church. You are also able to get married in a church where you have been worshiping regularly for over 6 months, so don’t worry if none of the former apply but you feel this is where you want to be married, many of our wedding couples qualify in this way. You will need to contact the Parish Administrator to arrange which services are best for you and you will be made very welcome. We will consider remarrying divorcees, depending upon their particular circumstances. If either of you is divorced you will need to arrange a meeting with the Vicar who will speak openly and frankly with you to be able to decide if your marriage can go ahead – the Vicar is committed to following the Bishop of Ripon’s Guidelines on remarriage of divorcees. Although same-sex marriage legislation has changed, it remains the case that it is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in the Church of England.
We will consider remarrying divorcees, depending upon their particular circumstances. If either of you is divorced you will need to arrange a meeting with the Vicar who will speak openly and frankly with you to be able to decide if your marriage can go ahead – the Vicar is committed to following the Bishop of Ripon’s Guidelines on remarriage of divorcees.
Although same-sex marriage legislation has changed, it remains the case that it is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in the Church of England.
How do we book a wedding?
To discuss reserving a date, once you have checked your qualifying criteria, please contact the Parish Administrator, Gill Clarke, after which you will need to contact the Vicar, Rev Chrissy Wilson and arrange a date for you to meet.
During this first meeting, the Vicar will need to verify your citizenship and residency (by proof of both with your current passports and letters to your home addresses) and you will need to fill out an application form.
To avoid any disappointment this should be done before booking your reception. Please note that we do not conduct weddings on Sundays, or over Christmas or Easter, and the availability of choristers and bell-ringers is less certain on weekdays.
The usual legal process for marriage in the Church of England is by Banns. Banns must be read in the Church in wish you are to marry and also in your local Church of England parish church. You must arrange for Banns to be read in your local parish church and a Banns certificate to be produced – please note that you cannot legally marry without the Banns certificate and it is therefore imperative that you make arrangements for this to be done yourselves. You can find your local parish church through the Parish Finder at https://www.achurchnearyou.com/
What happens next?
About three months before your service, we ask you to contact the Vicar again to arrange a meeting, book a rehearsal, and to begin planning the Order of Service. If your Banns are being published (the most usual preliminary for church weddings) you will also need to contact the Vicar of any other parish in which one or both of you lives. They will also arrange to read your banns within three months of the ceremony and issue you with a Banns certificate to confirm that this has been done. Please note the marriage cannot take place without this certificate.
What happens in the service?
The service usually lasts about 30-45 minutes. It will include readings, prayers and hymns, vows will be exchanged, the registers signed and a blessing given. There can be between one and three hymns (two is usual) and organ music for the entry of the bride, the signing of the register and the procession out at the end of the service.
Please note that we are a traditional parish church and therefore hold to our tradition of organ music for the arrival of the bride and the couple leaving church. For your readings, you will need to include a Bible reading. A second reading can be added, either from the Bible or another source (the latter must be approved by the Vicar in advance).
You will need to discuss the music you would like to have with the Vicar, who will liaise with our Organist/Choirmistress. It may be possible to gather a small choir together to lead the singing, but this is most likely to be possible in term time. Please note that we are a traditional parish church and therefore hold to our tradition of organ music for the arrival of the bride and the couple leaving church.
Here is a selection of music regularly played and sung at weddings in our Church:
Entrance of the Bride
Bridal March (Richard Wagner)
Prince of Denmark’s March (Jeremiah Clarke)
Arrival of the Queen of Sheba (George Frederick Handel)
Trumpet Tune (Henry Purcell)
Crown Imperial March (William Walton)
Leaving the Church
Wedding March (Felix Mendelssohn)
Prince of Denmark’s March (Jeremiah Clarke)
Trumpet Tune (Henry Purcell)
Anthems at the signing of the Register (or a sung blessing at the end of the service as well)
A Gaelic blessing (John Rutter)
Ave Maria (Philip Stopford)
Ave verum corpus (Wolfgang A. Mozart)
I give you a new commandment (Ashton)
Irish blessing (Bob Chilcott)
Jesu, joy of man’s desiring (J.S. Bach)
Lead us Lord (S.S. Wesley)
Love is God’s only law (Moore)
Love one another (S.S. Wesley)
Panis angelicus (César Franck)
Take this moment (John Bell)
The Lord bless you and keep you (John Rutter)
All things bright and beautiful (you will need to decide which tune, there are two!)
And did those feet in ancient time (‘Jerusalem’)
Be thou my vision
Brother, sister, let me serve you
Come down, O love divine
Christ triumphant, ever reigning
Dear Lord and Father of mankind
From heaven you came (Servant King)
Guide me O thou great Redeemer
Lead us heavenly Father
Lord, for the years
Lord Jesus Christ
Lord of all hopefulness
Love divine all loves excelling (you will need to decide which tune, there are two)
Make me a channel of your peace
Now thank we all our God
O praise ye the Lord
Praise my soul the king of heaven
Tell out my soul
The king of love my shepherd is
Please find following some popular Bible readings for weddings:
1 Corinthians 13:1-13
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.‘ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.‘ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete. This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants any longer, because the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything that I have heard from my Father. You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.’
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 John 4:7-12
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.
Jesus said, ‘From the beginning of creation, “God made them male and female.” “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’ People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
What goes in the ‘Order of Service’?
You will need to produce an ‘Order of Service’ which will include all the elements of the service for the congregation to be able to participate. Please ensure that you send the Vicar a draft and receive approval of the wording before printing.
This is usually printed as an A5 booklet and can be as plain or as personalised as you wish. Please make sure that you submit a draft Order of Service to the Vicar for approval prior to printing. For a template for your Order of Service please click here.
What about flowers?
You will need to contact our Flower Co-ordinator before you make any arrangements. Please note that lilies are not allowed in the Church at St Thomas’ (the Vicar is allergic to them!). We ask that you leave a least one arrangement in Church for the Sunday Services.
How much does it cost?
There are fees payable for your wedding, which are set annually by the Church Commissioners, together with locally set fees for the Organist, Choir, Bells and Verger (and heating when needed!). For more information, please download our weddings leaflet (see here).
In 2019, the fees for your wedding will be:
- Hampsthwaite PCC a cheque for £207 (Diocesan fee)
- Hampsthwaite PCC: a cheque for £248
- Hampsthwaite PCC: publication of Banns £30
- Organist: £75
- Choir: £60
- Bells: £120
- Verger: £30
- Heating (if necessary) £75
Wedding fees will be invoiced after the third reading of your banns and payment can be arranged with our Treasurer.
Please also note that at the end of the wedding ceremony on the wedding day, your guests will be invited to contribute, again towards the work of the church, in the form of a ‘retiring collection’.
Your official wedding photographer will want to take the best pictures they can for a record of your wedding day. Please note that during the service only the official photographer is permitted to take photographs. The official photographer will need to work from the back of church using a long lens, but is able to come into the vestry during the signing of the register. Please make sure your photographer is aware of this well in advance to avoid any disappointment on the day. Should it be raining on your wedding day, you will be welcome to have photographs of you with your congregation taken in church immediately after the service.