Introduction - Melbourne Parish Church

A wedding is one of life's great moments, a time of solemn commitment as well as good wishes, feasting and joy.

Christians believe that marriage is a gift from God and it is intended by God to be a creative relationship, as his blessing enables husband and wife to love and support each other in good and bad in a self-sacrificial way, putting the needs of your partner before your own.

For Christians, marriage is also an invitation to share life together in the spirit of Jesus Christ. 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. The marriage ceremony gives you a new legal status as husband and wife and a new stability within which your relationship can flourish and grow.

Why Get Married in Church?

A marriage service, wherever it is held, is a public declaration of love and commitment to your partner. By choosing to get married in church, there is an added dimension - the assurance that God cares about your relationship and that his resources and strength are available to help you. Including God in your marriage doesn't mean that you will avoid all the usual ups and downs, but you will know that you can look to God for help and guidance and that his love will sustain you. You will also have the support and encouragement of the Christian Church family.

The Parish Clergy of Melbourne welcome your enquiry and hope to provide a user-friendly approach in ensuring that you see your marriage preparation as a happy and memorable time. They will guide you in the choices you will want to make around the timing of your service and the necessary preparation before your wedding day.


Some Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get married?

The law entitles you to be married in the Church of England Parish Church where either of you lives. If you are an active, worshipping member of another church congregation, it is usually possible to be married there.

From October 2008, you can be married at Melbourne Parish Church if you can demonstrate some connection with the parish - for example, if you used to live in the parish, or if you were baptised or confirmed here, you have a family connection with the church here, or used to be an active member.

If you don't live in the parish, but are on the electoral roll, you can be married here. To qualify for this, you're expected to attend church services regularly for six months before applying for membership.

In certain circumstances you can apply for a Special Licence. At the moment you can only have a Church of England wedding in a parish church or some other place of worship - normally one licensed by the Bishop. It is not possible to have your church wedding in other venues like a hotel, or a hot air balloon!

What are the legal requirements?

You must have your banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. This is often done over three consecutive Sundays. Banns are an announcement of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as at the church in which you are to be married if that is another parish. It is usual for couples to be in church to hear there banns being read on at least one occasion, and preferably on all three occasions.

Please contact the Rector to discuss the banns application process..

If you are under the age of eighteen, you must have your parents' consent to marry.

There are special guidelines on church marriage if you have been divorced: see the separate question on this issue.

How much will it cost?

Weddings are expensive as you will probably already have found out! The cost of the marriage ceremony in church is divided between the legal fees (which are mandatory, and listed in blue), covering the publication of the banns, certificate of banns (if necessary), the marriage service and a certificate of marriage, and the charges set by the church. These cover payment to the organist, verger, the bells and the church choir, should you decide to have them, and a fee is charged for heating if needed (£60.00). The fees must be paid at least two weeks priort to the wedding and we ask you to pay in cash.

Current 2022 Fees and Charges (Fees in blue are statutory fees)

The Diocese of Derby £218
The Parochial Church Council £262
Publication of Banns of Marriage £32
Certificate of Banns of Marriage (if required) £16
Heating (October to April) £80
Verger £40
Director of Music (organist) £175
Bells £180
Choir   £295
Flowers £80

Video (videos may only be taken from the gallery area).
£160 is payable to the Director of Music (organist) and £40 to the bell maintenance fund.


These fees are in accordance with the levels set by the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England and ratified by Parliament.

Fees should be paid two weeks before the wedding and the envelope should detail each item of the fee enclosed, using the list above. We now have the facility to accept payment by debit card for the statutory fees. Please ask for details.

Flowers – please contact the Parish Office to discuss your requirements.  (You need to do this even if a florist is doing your flowers.)

Music – please contact Simon Collins (01543 258777) to discuss the music for your wedding.

What if one of us is divorced?

The Church of England teaches that marriage is for life. It also recognizes that, sadly, some marriages do not work as planned. The Church accepts that, in exceptional circumstances, a divorced person may marry again in church during the lifetime of a former spouse.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Derby has issued guidelines to follow for clergy who may be willing to conduct such a marriage in church, if it appears following these guidelines that a marriage in church would be appropriate.

The parish priest will want to talk to you frankly about the past, your hopes for the future and your understanding of marriage. Please note that remarriage in church is not an automatic right. If it is not possible for your proposed marriage to take place in church, your priest may consider other alternatives with you, such as a Service of Prayer and Dedication after a civil ceremony.

How can I change my passport name before I get married?

If you are planning to change your surname after your marriage and would like to travel on your honeymoon with it, you can collect a form PD2 from the post office and bring it to the minister conducting your ceremony to sign.

Planning the Wedding

As you are planning your wedding, it is a good idea to come along to a Sunday morning service to meet the ministers and congregation, and to speak to the Director of Music and Flower Co-ordinator.

When should we have a rehearsal?

A wedding rehearsal is held in church usually during the week of the marriage service, and a convenient date and time will be discussed with you. At the rehearsal you should try to have the Best man, Bridesmaids and the person who is 'giving away' the Bride present, if possible. This is a time to walk through the service and put you all at ease.

Bridesmaids and page boy

Do we need to have them? No, is the simple answer! If you are having some, then there are no set numbers. Bridesmaids are there to tend to the needs of the bride throughout the service, for making sure that your dress is arranged properly, and to 'wait' on you. The Bride will pass her bouquet to the chief bridesmaid at the beginning of the service and if she is wearing a veil, a bridesmaid would normally help to take it back at the beginning of the service. Traditionally you once made your vows with the veil over your face, in case the groom changed his mind! Now, you take your veil back at the beginning of the service to make sure the groom is marrying the right person!

Best man

He will be there to assist the Groom. Tradition held that if the Groom failed to appear the Best Man was obliged to marry the Bride! It is possible to have more than one best man. A best man should remember to untie any rings from a cushion, or take them out of the box before handing them to the priest!


The vows today reflect the equal commitment to partnership and responsibilities within a commitment to love and cherish one another. It is still possible for a Bride to include the word 'Obey' in her vows, but don't do it for tradition's sake! If you wish to discuss this, please mention it to the minister. If the bride does say 'obey', the Groom will promise to 'worship' the Bride.

Ushers and seating

It is helpful if you provide one or two ushers who will welcome your guests and assist people as they arrive. Ushers should be present forty minutes before the wedding and distribute the booklets for the service. They will also escort people to their seats. It is traditional for the family of the Groom to sit on the right side of church as you walk in, behind the Groom. The family of the Bride sit on the left, with a space saved for the person 'giving away' the bride. However, you do not have to follow this tradition, especially if one family is very small.


Photography is allowed during the ceremony at certain points- usually before the Bride enters church; the signing of the registers and as the Couple leave. The official photographer is encouraged to liaise with the officiating minister before the ceremony begins. Photographers are not allowed to move around church during the service, or to use flash photography, except at the signing of the registers.


A wedding ring is a symbol of unending love and faithfulness, and of the commitment you are making to each other. It is entirely up to you whether you have one ring or two. It has become increasingly popular for both partners to be given a ring. There are appropriate vows for whatever you decide.

Signing of the registers

This usually takes place in the vestry at the end of the service. After the signing, the photographer will normally want you to pose for some special photographs. The officiating priest will issue a marriage certificate which will be signed by both of you and two witnesses whom you will appoint. The witnesses must be over 18.

Length of the service

The service in church is approximately 30-40 minutes. It is normally possible to come back into church after the service for any internal photographs, particularly if the weather is inclement. This may not be possible if another wedding follows your service. Please check with the officiating minister should you wish to use the inside of the church for photographs.

Please don't be late as there may be another ceremony following yours. Don't listen to the tradition that the bride must always be late! Lateness often leads to a restless congregation, especially if there are a lot of young children present.


Your guests may throw confetti – but please wait until you are outside and the West doors are closed. Usually the photographer is the one to give permission, so as not to spoil his photographs! If at all possible we recommend the use of bio-degradable confetti.

Orders of service

Couples usually like to have their own Order of Service printed. This would have the words of the hymns included and it may be a good 'keepsake' afterwards. Please discuss the Order of Service with the clergy to ensure accuracy.

Please entrust your Orders of Service to a reliable person on your wedding day to ensure an early arrival at church and that they don't get locked in a car boot or forgotten!

What do I do about flowers?

It is always a good idea to brighten up the church with some flowers for your wedding, although there is no need to be extravagant. Apart from during Advent and Lent, there are usually flowers in church regardless of whether there is a wedding or not, but do have a word with the Wedding Flower coordinator, Dr Sheena Wilkins (01332) 865053 to discuss your thoughts on flowers. We do ask that you leave the pedestals in church after your ceremony for the church community to enjoy, and would appreciate a donation towards the cost of the flowers.

What music should I choose?

Most people prefer traditional wedding music as the bride enters and leaves the church - however there is a wide choice of other suitable music to choose from. Our Director of Music will be very happy to advise you. We do encourage you to be involved in the choice of music and hymns, perhaps with the advice of the organist. Two or three hymns would normally be suitable. A list is below of some suggestions but it is only to help and not meant to limit your choice.

The Director of Music is Simon Collins on (01543) 258777


Choosing hymns can be difficult. Choose well known hymns your guests will know - here are some possibilities to help you try to decide.

A new commandment I give unto you

All things bright and beautiful

Amazing grace

And did those feet in ancient time

At the name of Jesus

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart

Bind us together, Lord

Blest are the pure in heart

Come down, O love divine

Dear Lord and Father of mankind

Father, hear the prayer we offer

Give me joy in my heart

I danced in the morning

Immortal, invisible, God only wise

Lead us, heavenly Father, lead us

Let all the world in every corner sing

Lord, for the years

Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy

Love divine, all loves excelling

Make me a channel of your peace

Morning has broken

Now thank we all our God

O for a heart to praise my God

O Jesus, I have promised

O perfect love

One more step along the world I go

Praise, my soul, the king of heaven

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Take my life, and let it be

The king of love my shepherd is

The Lord's my shepherd

Please make sure that the tune is the one you want!

Traditional entrance music

Bridal March from Lohengrin - Wagner 
Trumpet Voluntary - Jeremiah Clarke 
Trumpet Tune and Air - Purcell 
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - Bach 
The arrival of the Queen of Sheba - Handel 
Canon in D - Pachelbel

During the signing of the registers

Sheep may safely graze- Handel 
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring - Bach 
Morning - Grieg 
Largo - Handel

Traditional music to leave

Wedding March - Mendelssohn

The Ten Commandments!

Here are some important things that will help you:

  1. For a wedding when one partner lives outside the Parish, arrange for the banns to be read in their local Church of England Parish. You won't be able to do this if you are qualifying for the Electoral Roll, until your name has been included on the roll. Don't forget to pick up the banns certificate after the third calling at another church and give it to the Minister performing the service at Melbourne.
  2. Discuss the content of the Order of Service with the parish clergy performing the marriage. Make sure the Order of Service arrive on time on the day of the ceremony.
  3. Contact the Director of Music if you would like help in choosing your music and hymns for the ceremony, and in any case to let him know your choices.
  4. Contact Sheena Wilkins about flowers as soon as possible to discuss your thoughts on what you might like.
  5. Tell the Parish clergy immediately if any circumstances change - such as your address, or if you need to change dates/times of the ceremony.
  6. Decide if you would like the bells and/or choir.
  7. Arrange for the officiating Minister to sign form PD2 for a honeymoon passport if you are going abroad.
  8. Ensure that a photographer speaks to the parish clergy for instructions before the service.
  9. Don't forget to pay the fees for the wedding. Payment in cash, in separate envelopes for each item is preferred.
  10. Keep in touch with the clergy before the wedding - we like to hear how things are going.


And finally...

A wedding is one day - a marriage is a lifetime

You have probably already spent many hours planning your wedding. There are so many things to think about - the dress, the cake, whom to invite, the honeymoon. All of these are important, but the wedding is just one day, while marriage should last for the rest of your lives.

Alongside the wedding preparations it is also important to spend time as a couple talking through your expectations of marriage. However much you think you have in common, you are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears.

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

Upcoming Events

Tue 24 May 2022
07:30PM - 09:00PM
Bell ringing practice
Wed 25 May 2022
07:30PM - 09:30PM
Choir practice
Thu 26 May 2022
09:15AM - 10:15AM
Holy Communion
Thu 26 May 2022
07:30PM - 09:00PM
12 bell intermediate practice
Sat 28 May 2022
12:00PM - 01:00PM
Wedding at Melbourne
Sun 29 May 2022
08:00AM - 09:00AM
Holy Communion
Sun 29 May 2022
10:30AM - 11:30AM
Parish Eucharist 10.30am
Tue 31 May 2022
07:30PM - 09:00PM
Bell ringing practice
Wed 01 Jun 2022
07:30PM - 09:30PM
Choir practice
Thu 02 Jun 2022
09:15AM - 10:15AM
Holy Communion