Back to articles

Everything You Need To Know About Religious Ceremonies

Religious Ceremonies

When you get married you will need to choose whether you wish to have a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony.

This can sometimes be quite difficult, especially if you both have different beliefs, or your families have a strong opinion. Ultimately, the choice is yours but it can be difficult if you are trying to please more than one person.

This particular article touches solely upon Christian weddings and what you can expect within the ceremony.

Church of England Weddings


I haven't been Christened, can we still get married in a church?

If you are looking to marry in a Church of England parish church, then one of you must live in the parish. Or, if you both live outside of the parish, you are still able to marry in the parish providing one of you meets at least one of the following criteria:

1/ You were baptised in the parish

2/ You have your confirmation entered in the parish register book

3/ You have, at any time, had your usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months

4/ You have, at any time, habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months

5/ A parent of one of you has, at any time, during that person’s lifetime, had their usual place of residence in the parish for at least 6 months; or habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least 6 months

6/ A parent, or grandparent, of one of you was married in the parish

What happens once we have decided on which church to get married in?

Once you have found your church, you will need to get in touch with the Vicar to arrange the date and time and discuss what happens next. Once the date is booked, you would normally be invited along for an event to help prepare you for married life and the vows you are going to make to each other.

Do we have to go to any Church Ceremonies before we get married?

Before you marry, Banns will need to be read in your parish church and in the parish church which you are marrying if it is different. Banns are an announcement in church of your intention to marry. It is a legal requirement, and must be read on 3 Sundays within the 3 months leading up to your wedding.

The rehearsal

A few days before your wedding, you will have a rehearsal. This gives you the opportunity to rehearse the ceremony with those involved.

How long is a Church of England wedding?

Church of England marriage ceremonies normally last around 45 minutes but this depends upon the reading and hymns that you choose. All weddings will contain at least 1 religious reading and normally 2 or 3 hymns.

Who chooses our readings, hymns and music?

You are able to choose your own readings,  hymns, and music for the entrance of the bride. You will also be able to choose the music for the signing of the register and the exit of the bride and groom. If you are stuck for choice, you could ask for a list to choose from.

You can find out more about Church of England weddings at

Catholic Weddings

Religious Ceremonies

What requirements must we meet to have a Catholic Ceremony?

If you are looking to have a Catholic Ceremony, then at least one of you must have been baptised a Catholic. If you are, and it is the first time both of you will be married, then it is likely you will be able to get married in the Catholic church, unless there is another impediment preventing you from doing so, such as:

1/ Age – you must both be of legal age to marry

2/ Fear – you should not be forced into your marriage

3/ Relatives – you cannot marry someone whom is already a relative

Can we get married in another parish?

You would normally be required to marry in your parish church, however the pastor may give permission for you to marry in another parish. This is quite often the case if you attend mass there.

What happens when we have chosen our church?

Before you can set the date, you will need to attend an interview with the parish pastor. This will include some getting to know each other questions and will also bring to light any impediments that may need to be sorted before you can marry.

Once it has been determined that you are able to be married within the church, you should be able to set a date for the wedding. You may, however, be required to attend a marriage preparation course first.

Before the big day

You will meet with your pastor several times before your marriage, and can discuss readings and hymns with them. There may be certain days where you cannot choose your readings, so you should discuss this with them too.

The readings

There are normally four readings during a Catholic wedding. These make up four parts, the Liturgy of the Word, which are:

1/ The First Reading – taken from the Old Testament

2/ The Responsorial Psalm – taken from the Book of Psalms

3/ The Seconding Reading –  taken from the New Testament

4/ The Gospel Reading – taken from one of the four Gospels

When choosing your wedding music, you can work with the Parish Music Minister on this to ensure that the music is prayerful, accessible and beautiful. To find out more about your Catholic wedding, you should speak with your Parish Pastor.