Getting married in Ringwood


What is marriage?

Marriage is a gift of God. It provides the right environment for your relationship to grow, your sexuality to be fulfilled and a secure and stable place in which to bring up children.

A marriage service is a public declaration of love and commitment to your partner. When that service is held in church, Christians believe there is the added dimension that God is involved in your relationship and will give you strength and encouragement throughout your married life.

You will still go through the ups and downs that any other normal married couple will experience but with the assurance of God’s love for you in all situations. You can also be assured of the added support of your local church family and ‘The Church’ as a whole.

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Can we be married in Church?

If you are entitled by English law to be married you are likely to be able to be married in church. To be married in Ringwood you would normally have to live in, or be able to show a valid connection with, the Parish.

If this is not the case and you still wish to be married in a particular church you are able to apply for a special licence. However, this is not a right and it may not always be granted.

If either of you are not British,the marriage would normally be by licence rather than banns and you will need to ensure that you know how the marriage will be recognised in the country of your nationality.

Where a person has been previously married and their previous partner is still alive then it is possible for the marriage to take place in church if the Minister agrees and has the support of the Bishop.

When are weddings held?

Weddings can be held on any day of the week, normally between mid-morning and late afternoon. Many couples try to arrange for a service on a Saturday but parish clergy are flexible and will look to other days should the need arise. If you wish to marry on a Sunday you will have to be flexible because of the time of other church services.

How do we book our wedding?

It is important to book the date for your wedding as soon as you are able. You can do this by contacting the Parish Office as soon as possible. You will be asked a number of simple questions and if all is in order a date and time will be agreed. You may be asked to meet with the Minister to complete an initial booking form.

What are the fees for a church wedding?

The statutory fees for the basic wedding are set annually by Parliament, with the local church responsible for setting the fees for such things as verger, organist, bells, choir, and heating costs.

The statutory minimum fee for a wedding in 2016 is £446 (including the reading of banns in Ringwood and the marriage certificate), but the overall cost will depend on whether you choose to have optional extras such as music, bells,  a Verger, a choir, flowers and so on.  Again, Ringwood Parish Office can advise you of the cost of these extras.

What if one of us has been married before?

There may be a way forward for you to be married again in church. The Church of England agreed in 2002 that divorced people could marry in church under certain circumstances. We believe that marriage is for life, but also recognise that sadly, some marriages do fail.

Speak to the one of the parish clergy  about your situation. They will want to talk to you frankly about your past and your hopes for the future and will let you know whether they can marry you.

Even if it is not possible to do your wedding, they may offer you a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony.

A helpful resource, Marriage in church after divorce, is available on the Church of England web site.



Normally notice of the impending marriage has to be given publicly so that anyone can voice any legal objection to the marriage. In Church this is done by calling the ‘Banns’ (saying who is to be married and the name of their local parish) usually at the main service on three consecutive Sundays. The Marriage must take place within three months of the Banns.   We usually read them in Ringwood on the first three Sundays of the month preceding the month in which the marriage takes place. Couples and family members are welcome to come and hear the Banns called on dates which have been agreed. Banns are a legal requirement and if one of the couple is from another parish then you will need to arrange for Banns to be called there and the certificate showing this must be produced to the minister who is conducting the marriage ceremony.

About the Marriage Service

The Marriage Service follows a prescribed pattern but within this there is space to make it very personal by the choice of hymns, readings and music.  Two witnesses are needed at the time you sign the Registers and the Minister should know who they are to be beforehand. All these choices can be discussed with the minister as the wedding is planned, but here’s some guidance to get you going:

Music and hymns

There are many hymns you can choose from.  You can see some suggestions here.   You may also choose music for the entrance of the Bride and at the exit of the Married couple, but music can also be chosen for the time when the Registers are signed. You can discuss this with our Director of Music Mr Malcolm Harding by attending any Sunday morning service at Ringwood Parish Church at 10.30am and speaking with him after the service; he will be very happy to help you in your choices.


Although you may choose suitable non-biblical readings or poems with the approval of the minister, the service must contain one reading from the Bible.  The Church of England recommends many Bible Readings you can choose from. You can view them  here


Marriage preparation

You will be asked to attend on four occasions for marriage preparation. The first of these, usually in the early Spring, takes the form of an open meeting one Saturday morning where general information is given and questions answered. This will normally be followed by meetings with the minister, one to sort out all your own practical arrangements to do with the service, another to look closely at the meaning of the marriage vows and finally a rehearsal in church.


The wedding rehearsal usually takes place one or two days before the service at the wedding venue. It is a chance to walk through all that will happen on the day and to sort out any unforeseen concerns (buggies, wheelchair and so on). As many of the bridal party as possible are welcome to be there.

Orders of service

Orders of service are left to you to purchase or make. All music or hymns printed need to have an acknowledgement of copyright and the Church copyright license needs to be printed on them. The minister can supply you with the license number and sample copies of orders of service if you require them. You also need to consult the minister with the draft format before going to print.


We leave the actual detail of the flower arrangements to you but suggest that you use one of the people who regularly do the church flowers as they know what works best.  Ringwood Parish Office will be able to give you the contact details.

Book a date now

Contact the Parish Office by ringing 01425 489 898 or email