Welcome! If you are coming to these pages because you want to find out how to arrange your wedding at St Mary’s Church, Thorpe then congratulations on getting engaged.
We hope that you will have a happy and blessed future together.
A wedding is one of life's great moments, a time of solemn commitment as well as good wishes, feasting and joy. St John tells us how Jesus shared in such an occasion at Cana, and gave there a sign of new beginnings as he turned water into wine.
(In the Bible, see John Chapter 2)
Christians believe that marriage is intended by God to be a creative relationship;
His blessing enables husband and wife to love and support each other in good times and in bad and to share in the care and upbringing of children. Marriage is also an invitation to share life together in the spirit of Jesus Christ and the community of the Church. It is based upon a solemn, public and life-long covenant between a man and a woman, declared and celebrated in the presence of God and before witnesses.
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. 1 Corinthians 13.4-7
On their wedding day the bride and bridegroom face each other, make their promises and receive God's blessing. They often exchange rings and choose special music for their occasion.
Holding your Wedding in your Local Church
If you regularly attend St Mary’s and / or member of Thorpe Church Electoral Roll then you can automatically be married at St Mary's Church. In addition, if you are not a regular church goer but live within the Parish of Thorpe then you are legally entitled to be married at St Mary’s. Our Ministry Team will be able to explain to you the legal preliminaries (in terms of the calling of banns and obtaining of licences for instance) that will be required. To confirm that you live within the Parish of Thorpe simply follow this link to achurchnearyou.com and enter your postcode.
Qualifying Connection to be married at St Mary’s
For those who don't qualify as above, a couple can be married in a Church of England church if they can prove what is known as a qualifying connection. This could be that you and your family attended St Mary's Church when you were a child / growing up, or perhaps your parents still live in the Parish of Thorpe. It could be that you were baptised or confirmed at St Mary’s or that one of your parents or grandparents got married in the church. In order to qualify, you may also attend regular worship, at least monthly for six months (you need to sign-in on each visit to qualify). If you wish to get married at St Mary’s, and you think that you can prove one or other of these connections then you need to make contact with us. A member of St Mary’s Ministry Team will want to meet with you in order to be able to clarify whether or not there is a qualifying connection and you may be asked to provide appropriate evidence to support this. A wedding ceremony at St Mary’s Church, Thorpe cannot be ‘booked’ and the deposit paid until the qualifying connection has been met.
Please download the Qualifying Connections Form
On meeting the rules of qualification you will be asked to pay the deposit to secure your chosen date and time. At this stage you will be asked to complete a Banns of Marriage Application Form (this is in addition to the Qualifying Connections Form).
Deposit to secure your booking
Ceremonies at St Mary’s usually take place at set times: 10am, 12noon, 2pm or 4pm on a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Weddings on Sunday are not permitted and Tuesday by special arrangement only. (No weddings can be conducted on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday/Easter Eve, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or St Stephen's/Boxing Day). You will be asked to pay a £200 (non-refundable) deposit to secure the date and time of your ceremony and complete a Marriage Application form and provide documentation to prove your address and confirm your identity.
Please download the Marriage or Blessings Application Form
Marriage Preparation Evening
Next session: Monday 27th January 2020, 7:30pm
The Church of England takes very seriously the important commitment that husband and wife make to one another on their wedding day, which is why at St Mary’s we ask all wedding couples to take part in our wedding preparation. At the preparation evening we will introduce the team and provide you with resources which aim to help you to think about married life and all it will mean for you. You will also receive a useful pack entitled ‘Your Wedding Ceremony Explained’ to help you make plans for your ceremony.
You can download the document here:
If your ceremony is to be held in another Church of England (Anglican) parish and you are resident in Thorpe you will need your Away Banns called at St Mary’s. We always call banns in the 10am Sunday Eucharist on the first three Sundays of the month preceding your ceremony and you will need to attend at least one of these. Once called a certificate will be available for you to collect from the Parish Office. A set fee will be charged for the calling of Away Banns.
Please complete the Banns Only Application Form. You will also need to provide proof of your identity and address.
Marriage after Divorce
It is possible, in certain circumstances, to be married at St Mary’s when one of you has been divorced. A decision will be made on a case by case basis and the Bishop of Guildford will need to be consulted before any ceremony can take place. Alternatively, in many circumstances it is appropriate to hold a service of Blessing following on from a Civil Marriage (in a Registry Office or approved wedding venue) and our Ministry Team are always happy to discuss possibilities.
Download the Marriage or Blessings Application Form
By law, marriage in a Church of England Parish Church is only allowed between one man and one woman and we are not currently permitted to offer services of blessing to same-sex couples, and we recognise this will be a disappointment to you as it is to us. Fr Damian, our Vicar is always happy to give pastoral support and offer prayer with same-sex couples. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with us. St Mary’s is committed to support our local LGBTI community and see a more inclusive future for the Church of England and for all people regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Get in touch!
St Mary’s Parish Office is usually open on a Wednesday from 11am – 4pm and Thursday from 6pm – 7:30pm for you to drop in and ask any questions you may have about getting married in Church. Follow this link to our contact page.
St Mary’s Church, Thorpe is a prayerful and beautiful place to be married, with over 1,000 years of history to help make your day extra special. Countless couples have knelt before the High Altar at St Mary’s for prayers on their wedding day and we know that you will have a wonderful family occasion if you are married with us. Our team are ready to help make your day the most wonderful occasion and we look forward to hearing from you soon.
Have a look at the Weddings at St Mary's album in the Gallery for inspiration of what your special day might look like!