So you're thinking of getting married? Fantastic!
And you would like to have your wedding in our church? Brilliant!
So let's get down to detail. There are some constraints on who can get married in which church, but, thankfully, these are far fewer than they used to be, and it's becoming easier and easier to get married in the church you want and to have the sort of day you've always hoped for. For lots of very helpful information, including who can get married where, details about the wedding service and even some little midi files playing popular wedding hymn tunes, you can't do better than to go to the Church of England's special Wedding Website: http://www.yourchurchwedding.org/
Basically, if you live in the Parish then you have the right to be married in the church. You don't have to have been baptised, and you don't have to have been worshipping with us regularly - though, of course, we'd love you to do that! But there is one proviso to the 'residence' rule, which is that if you have been married before, and your partner is still living, it is more complicated and there are some specific rules about what needs to happen and who can be married in church.
It’s slightly more complicated if you live outside the Parish boundaries – it’s both one of the advantages and one of the drawbacks of the Church of England’s Parish system. We cover the whole country, yes – so you always know that wherever you are in the country, you are in a CofE Parish and have a local church. But it also means that you may not live within the boundaries of the church YOU would like to approach for a wedding. If you want to marry in a church that you’re connected with in some way, this is no longer such a problem, since the law changed in October 2008. If you go to that Church of England Wedding website you can get all the information, including what these ‘qualifying connections’ are. They're things like: if you or your parents have worshipped here for six months at any time, or if your parents were married here - but go and have a look at the detail, and it should become clear!
We will need to do some preparation before the big day, but we hope you’ll find these meetings both helpful and very informal and friendly. Someone will go through all of this and explain what's needed when you phone up to enquire. Booking of weddings are now being handled by the Parish Office in Shoreham, so if you'd like to enquire about a wedding at The Church of the Good Shepherd, please call:
Mrs Sue Clay , Parish Administrator
1 New Road
Shoreham-by-Sea , West Sussex
Telephone: 01273 440202