” Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves” Romans 12:10
You are getting married, and we hope that we can be your venue of choice so that we can help you make it a fantastic and memorable event! You are coming to The Church of the Holy Spirit to receive God’s blessing on the joy and love that you and your partner share – that is something to ENJOY!
Planning your wedding day can be an exciting yet daunting task. The following is designed to help with your initial planning. It will be a useful guide, and provide answers to some of the questions that are often asked. However, this is not intended to be comprehensive or exhaustive, so you will need to read this in conjunction with your meetings with the Vicar. The Vicar may be contacted at Rev Iain Robertson.
As well as the information below there is a wealth of information at weddings in the Diocese of Exeter.
How do I qualify to get married at the Church of the Holy Spirit?
You, or your partner, live within the ecclesiastical parish boundary or are on the Electoral Roll of the Church of the Holy Spirit and both you, and your partner, are single.
These are the core requirements, however, since February 2008, there are many more qualifying connections with parish churches which convey the right to be married in a specific church. You will need to check your eligibility to be married in the Holy Spirit by asking the Vicar but as a guide, for those who live in the parish the ecclesiastical boundaries encompass the area bounded by Tavistock Road down Southway Drive to Tamerton Foliot Road. All the roads accessed off Southway Drive, (apart from Frontfield Crescent and Copleston Road), are in the parish of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Southway. At present we are happy to conduct marriage services in the Holy Spirit for those who have been married before and are now divorced.
What do I do first?
Contact the Vicar and find a mutually convenient time for an initial meeting. The Vicar will outline the procedure to be followed and try to answer your questions. (It is necessary for those wishing to be married to contact the Vicar and make arrangements themselves – no matter how helpful family and friends would like to be).
This will depend on your personal circumstances and should be made clear at your meeting with the Vicar but generally he will make a number of appointments with you for planning interviews, marriage preparation, the calling of banns and a wedding rehearsal. If your initial inquiry was in the previous year to your wedding you will be asked to contact the Vicar in January of the year of your wedding to make these appointments. Sometimes it is possible for us to hold Marriage Preparation Evenings for groups of couples to be married in a particular year. If this is the case the Vicar will give you details of these.
What will the Vicar need to know?
The Vicar will ask all he needs to know at the wedding interviews but you should find out in advance if, and where, you were baptised; think about what hymns, if any, you wish to sing (two, sometimes three hymns are used at weddings); what other music you require (the Vicar will discuss this you); whether or not you wish to engage the services of the organist and choir and whether or not you are producing a special ‘order of service’ sheet.
The service used will be from ‘Common Worship Services and Prayers for the Church of England – MARRIAGE’ (Church House Publishing). This comes as a buff coloured booklet costing around £3 and is readily available from bookshops. It is to your advantage to obtain a copy of this booklet for your own use as soon as possible to help you as you plan your wedding. The Vicar will tell you of the best places to obtain a copy in Plymouth but should you have any difficulties the ISBN number (to give to bookstores) is 07151 2038 7.
What are ‘banns’?
As a legal preliminary to getting married, you either need to swear an oath to a registrar and obtain a license, or have banns called. If you require a license for any reason the Vicar will explain why but most people get married in church after banns. Banns are a public announcement that you are to be married.
On three Sundays (within three months of the wedding date) prior to the wedding this form of words is used:-
I publish the banns of marriage between…….., single/widowed/divorced of the parish of ………… and ……….. single/widowed/divorced of the parish of …………. This is for the first (second or third) time of asking. If any of you know any just cause or impediment why these person may not be lawfully married you are to declare it.
We call banns at the Holy Spirit at the 1000 service and the Vicar will arrange with you when your banns are to be called. REMEMBER that if either, or both, of you live in another parish (or parishes) you must arrange for banns to be called there as well. You cannot be married in church unless the banns have been called in your parish (parishes) of residence and we have received a certificate of banns (for which there will be a small charge at the ‘calling’ church. See schedule of fees). The vicar may be able to give you contact details for your parish church. If either partner does not hold full British citizenship then a license is always required.
What will it all cost?
This varies according to what sort of wedding you have. The basic costs are set by the registrar at the end of each year and the new fees are implemented from the 1st of January. This means that we cannot be certain of the cost of any wedding more than a few months in advance. However, the Vicar will be able to give you an approximate cost at your first visit with him and the actual costs in the interview at the beginning of the year in which you are to be married. There is a fee for the organist, and the choir – all of which are optional. If you are getting married between 1st October and the 30th April you may want to pay for church heating. The current fees are set out in the schedule of fees.
The full cost of the wedding will need to be paid in advance. The final date for payment is the rehearsal immediately before the wedding but you are welcome to pay before that if you choose. Payment should be by cash or cheque made out to the Church of the Holy Spirit.
What do I do if we decide to postpone or cancel the wedding?
TELL the Vicar as soon as possible.
What about flowers in church?
The church usually has flowers on display (except during Advent and Lent) but if you would like these to co-ordinate with your personal flowers, and or would like some additional flowers in church we can arrange this for you at a modest cost. The person to contact is Ruth Simpson. If you wish to take some of the flowers away with you after the service please let them know when you first speak to them.
If you wish to engage the services of a professional florist you are welcome to do so but please contact Ruth Simpson in this case, too, so that there can be liaison.
Why a wedding rehearsal?
At the rehearsal we walk through the complete service, so that everyone who is involved feels comfortable about what they are doing. It is also a chance to pick-up on any details still to be finalised; ask any further questions; make final payment of fees etc. Also, if you have needed your banns calling in another church this is the final date for getting the Banns Certificate to the Vicar. (The wedding cannot legally be conducted unless the Vicar has received a certificate – verbal confirmation is not sufficient).
Who comes to the wedding rehearsal is up to you but it is usually best if as few as possible are there. In addition to those getting married themselves, it is helpful if the person escorting the bride down the aisle, the Best Man and any available bridesmaids and pageboys can attend. The rehearsal usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes.
And on THE DAY!
You must remember that this is a day of JOY! So don’t get too worried about things which are unimportant.
The service usually lasts 30 to 40 minutes but we allow a minimum of two hours between wedding services to allow for arrivals and departures, photographs, family reunions, and all the others things that make the day special.
Parking is limited and if you are having a large wedding you need to warn your guests.
Who does what, when, in church?
These are the questions to be asked at the various meetings with the Vicar but by the time of the rehearsal all should be clear to you. However the one decision you will have to make in advance is who will be the two witnesses who are to sign the registers. These can be anybody who is present at the ceremony (aged over 18 years) but again the Vicar can guide you. And remember the bride signs (signs away?) her maiden name.
You will need ushers – two or three people to help with directing people to their seats, giving out hymnbooks and service sheets etc. they will need to be at church 30 minutes before the service and to help to clear up immediately after it.
You are of course welcome to have photos taken during the service by the official photographer. Professional photographers are almost always discreet and that is important as you do not want you marriage interrupted by intrusive photography. So, it would be best if you could ask your guests not to use ‘flash’ photography during the service itself.
The official photographers should make themselves known to the Vicar before the service and he will agree on what is the best way to record the event. At the signing of the registers it is best to complete all the signing and then to set up the pictures immediately afterwards.
We are happy for the service to be recorded, but the comments regarding Photographers also apply to video. If you are having your wedding videoed please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that copyright rules are adhered to.
What happens about the photographs if the weather is bad?
Should the weather make it difficult for wedding photographs to be taken outside once the Bride and Groom, now husband and wife, have made the formal wedding march down the centre aisle, the Vicar will invite the congregation to be seated again and the official photographer can take over and organise a ‘photo-shoot’ in church. (This is another reason why we allow a minimum of two hours between weddings!).
One of the customs at weddings is that your friends get to throw things at you! All confetti must be biodegradable by law so that is no problem for us; all we ask is that your friends keep the confetti outside the church. (If it blows in, there is a broom available for the ushers to use).
We return to our original thoughts that the most important thing about your wedding is that you enjoy celebrating your union in the sight of God and his people, and begin your new, married, life together. We are here to help and support you as much as possible. Weddings can be costly and elaborate, or they can be simple, and relatively frugal. That is simply a matter of personal choice and means but what is really important is the spirit of the day and the calling of God’s blessing on your relationship – everything else is merely trimming…….