Getting married in the Dereham and District Team Ministry area.
Large churches, small churches, town and village churches.
Today more than a quarter of all marriages in England between a man and a woman take place in the traditional setting of a Church of England church. You're welcome to marry in church whatever your beliefs, whether or not you are baptised and whether or not you go to church.
A marriage service, wherever it is held, is a public declaration of love and commitment to your partner. If you choose 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 encouragement and support of the Christian Church family across the Dereham & District Team Ministry.
If you meet any one of the seven criteria listed below for getting married, you can marry at any one of the benefice churches – that is the advantage of being a Team Ministry. If you are planning on a large wedding Dereham, Swanton Morley and Shipdham churches have a large capacity. Or looking for something smaller and more intimate the churches at East Bilney and Hoe fit that. All the churches are surrounded by beautiful scenery and make beautiful settings for wedding photographs.
These are the qualifying connections – remember, if you qualify to be married at any one of the eight churches you are able to get married at any of the others:
You can marry in a Church of England church if you can show that one of you:
- has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months, or
- was baptised (christened) in the parish concerned, or
- is confirmed and your confirmation was entered in the register of confirmations for a church or chapel in the parish (this will usually be the case if you were prepared for confirmation in the parish), or
- has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months
- That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:
has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months, or has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months
- That one of your parents or grandparents was married in the parish
In all cases involving church services – i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage – this applies only to Church of England services.
If you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, you could create one, simply by attending your chosen church’s usual services at least once a month for six consecutive months. If you decide to do this, leave enough time after your attendance for the banns to be read before your wedding too – about another two months should be enough.
Talk to one of the team clergy to discuss the options open to you.
What if there has been a divorce?
Even if one or both of you are divorced, there may be a way for you to marry in church, but you will need to talk to one of the team clergy as soon as possible. We recognise that some marriages do fail for all sorts of sad and painful reasons. So in certain circumstances the Church of England accepts that a divorced person may marry again in church and this has been the case since 2002.
There is an excellent Church of England webpage which covers all aspects of church weddings. https://www.yourchurchwedding.org/
Click on each of the team churches to find out about seating capacity, bells, toilets, car parking and clergy contact details.