Marriage

    Notes to the Marriage Service
     
1
  Preparation
    It is the custom and practice of the Church of England to offer preparation for marriage for couples who are soon to be married, as well as to be available for support and counselling in the years that follow.
     
2
  The Banns
    The banns are to be published in the church on three Sundays at the time of Divine Service by the officiant in the form set out in The Book of Common Prayer or in the following form:
     
      I publish the banns of marriage between NN of … and NN of …
This is the first / second / third time of asking. If any of you know any reason in law why they may not marry each other you are to declare it.
We pray for these couples (or N and N) as they prepare for their wedding(s)
     
    A suitable prayer may be said (see here).
     
3
  Hymns and Canticles
    These may be used at suitable points during the service.
     
4
  Entry
    The bride may enter the church escorted by her father or a representative of the family, or the bride and groom may enter church together.
     
  5
  Readings and Sermon
    At least one reading from the Bible must be used. Suggested readings are here. If occasion demands, either the Sermon or the Readings and Sermon may come after the Blessing of the Marriage. Chairs may be provided for the bride and bridegroom.
     
6
  'Giving Away'
    This traditional ceremony is optional. Immediately before the couple exchange vows (Marriage here and Marriage within Holy Communion here) the minister may ask:
     
          Who brings this woman to be married to this man?
     
    The bride's father (or mother, or another member of her family or a friend representing the family) gives the bride's right hand to the minister who puts it in the bridegroom's right hand. Alternatively, after the bride and bridegroom have made their Declarations, the minister may ask the parents of bride and bridegroom in these or similar words:
     
      N and N have declared their intention towards each other.
As their parents,
will you now entrust your son and daughter to one another
as they come to be married?
     
    Both sets of parents respond:
     
      We will.
     
7
  The Declarations and the Vows
    The Book of Common Prayer version of the Declarations, and /or the alternative vows, may be used. The couple repeat the vows after the minister, or may read them. If preferred, the question to the bride, and her vow, may come before the question to the bridegroom and his vow.
     
8
  The Giving of Rings
    If desired, the bride and bridegroom may each place a ring on the fourth finger of the other's hand, and may then say together the words 'N , I give you this ring …'. The prayer here may be used instead of the prayer here and here.
     
9
The Prayers
    Several forms of intercession are provided. Other suitable forms may be used, especially prayers which the couple have written or selected in co-operation with the minister. Whatever form is used, silence may be kept as part of the intercession. Free prayer may be offered.
     
10
Registration of the Marriage
    The law requires that the Registers are filled in immediately after the solemnization of a marriage. This may take place either after the Blessing of the Marriage or at the end of the service.
     
11
  Holy Communion
    For communicant members of the Church it is appropriate that they receive communion soon after their marriage. For some this may make it appropriate for the marriage to take place within the context of a Celebration of Holy Communion.
     
12
  The Marriage Service within a Celebration of Holy Communion
    The Notes to the Order for the Celebration of Holy Communion, as well as the Notes to the Marriage Service, apply equally to this service. Texts are suggested at different points, but other suitable texts may be used.  Authorized Prayers of Penitence may be used. In the Liturgy of the Word, there should be a Gospel reading, preceded by either one or two other readings from the Bible. If desired, the Blessing of the Marriage may take place between the Lord's Prayer and the Breaking of the Bread.
     
13
  Ecumenical Provisions
    Where a minister of another Christian Church is invited to assist at the Solemnization of Matrimony, the permissions and procedures set out in Canon B 43 are to be followed. The Church of England minister who solemnizes the marriage must establish the absence of impediment, direct the exchange of vows, declare the existence of the marriage, say the final blessing, and sign the registers. A minister invited to assist may say all or part of the opening address, lead the declarations of intent, supervise the exchange of rings, and join in the blessing of the marriage. He or she may also read a lesson and lead all or part of the prayers. Where the couple come from different Christian communions the bishop may authorize such variations to the marriage service as are set out in An Order for the Marriage of Christians from Different Churches, which is published separately.