St Stephens

Norbury and Thornton Heath

Image of Saint Stephen
Image of Saint Stephen
Image of Saint Stephen

Getting Married at St Stephen's

Congratulations on your engagement. We are delighted that you are thinking of getting married in church.

 

To discuss your plans and book a date come to the church any Saturday morning between 10-30a.m. and 11-30a.m.

 

People chose a church wedding for a whole range of reasons, perhaps because of tradition or the attractive building. However the most important reason for getting married in church is that you will be making your wedding vows in the sight of God and asking God to be part of the whole of your married life together.


The Weddings Section of the Church of England Website has some useful suggestions for music, hymns and readings to personalise your wedding service. Often couples opt for traditional favourites such as 'Here Comes the Bride' from Wagner's 'Lohengrin' and Mendelssohn's 'Wedding March', played on the organ. However it is equally possible to enter and leave the church to a CD of your favourite music. When choosing  hymns it is best to chose popular ones which your guests will be likely to know. You will be able to discuss your ideas when you meet with the Vicar to plan the wedding service.

 

Before a wedding can take place there are various legal formalities to be completed and there must be time for marriage preparation. This will normally involve the vicar visiting you at your home and then some further meetings to discuss the very important step that you will be taking. For this reason, except in cases of serious illness or other similar emergency, there will need to be a gap of at least three months between first contact and the date of the wedding. Therefore please make sure that you contact the Vicar in good time to make arrangements. To avoid disappointment, please check that the church is available before booking your reception venue.

 

It is not possible for weddings to take place at St Stephen's on a Sunday as the church buildings are in use by another church group on Sunday afternoons.

Legal information

Everyone resident within the parish boundaries has a right to be married at St Stephen's after appropriate preparation, so long as there is no legal impediment. It is also possible to get married at St Stephen's if you do not live in the parish but are on the church Electoral Roll. To join the electoral roll you must have been baptised and must have already attended worship at St Stephen's regularly for at least 6 months.

 

The law governing the right to get married in the Church of England changed on 1st October 2008. This makes it easier for you to get married in the church of your choice, even if you don't live in the parish or attend regularly, provided that you can show a real connection with the parish. Please see section on the 'Marriage Measure' on the Church of England Website for further details.

 

There are four possible preliminaries to marriage in the Church of England:

  • i) Banns are the easiest and most commonly used method. They involve notice of your forthcoming wedding being read out in both the bride and the groom's parish churches on three Sundays in the period three months before the wedding. If you lives in two different parishes, Banns will have to becalled in both parish churches. It is customary for couples to attend church for the calling of their Banns which takes place during the 10am Sunday morning service. Attending will help you feel more comfortable with the church surroundings and will hopefully mean that you feel less nervous on the big day. Click here to download and complete a Banns Application Form.
  • ii) Marriages can also take place after obtaining a Common Licence. This is a quicker method than Banns but more expensive and involves the parties swearing an affidavit before the Diocesan Registrar or the local Surrogate.The Diocesan Registrar recommends marriage by Licence when one or both parties are not British or EU citizens (but see under iv below).
  • iii) A Special Licence allows people to be married without the usual requirement of living in the parish or belonging to the Electoral Roll. It will usually only be granted if you have a very strong connection with the parish or if there are medical reasons (perhaps a parent who lives in the parish and is too ill to travel) which make a wedding at St Stephen's the best option.
  • iv) The Bishop of Southwark, on the advice of the Diocesan Registrar, has recently informed all clergy that people who are not British or EU citizens, do not have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and are not in the UK on a marriage visa, should obtain a Superintendent Registrar's Certificate from the Register Office in Croydon. There is a fee of £30 per person and the Registrar will need details of your addresses and immigration status. You will almost certainly be required to obtain confirmation from the Home Office that you are eligible to marry and so it is probably advisable to obtain this first. If you think that these regulations may apply to you, you should contact the Vicar to discuss things further.

Marriage after Divorce

At St Stephen's we understand that some marriages fail and we try to help people rebuild their lives in new relationships. There are some circumstances in which marriage in Church after a divorce may be possible. If not, we can usually offer a service of blessing after a civil marriage. If you have been divorced and would like to discuss the possibility of being married a second time in church or having your civil marriage blessed, please contact the Vicar after the 10am service.

Civil Partnerships

The Church of England does not conduct Civil Partnerships but individual churches can conduct a service of thanksgiving after the ceremony.  Contact Fr. Geoffrey if you would like to discuss your plans.

Fees

As a Church of England Church, St Stephen's has to charge various Statutory Fees which are laid down by the Central Board of Finance. In addition there are charges for the services of our verger (who sets up the church), organist, flowers (if required) and heating (between September and May). There is also an additional fee (payable to the organist) if you have a professional video recording of the service.
We ask couples to pay a non-returnable deposit of £20 when booking their wedding. This will be deducted from the total wedding fees which must be paid in full no later than one month before the wedding.


 

Wedding fees
(Fees payable from January 2015)


1) PAROCHIAL AND CENTRAL FUNDS FEES AUTHORISED BY PARLIAMENT -
(You can check these on the Church of England Website )

Publication of Banns of Marriage£28.00
Banns certificate£13.00
Marriage Service£424.00
Marriage certificate £4.00
Sub-total: £469.00
2) PARISH FEES:
For marriages between 15th September and end of May and at other times if church heating is needed
Heating charge£70.00
Verger's fee£40.00
3) EXTRAS: (if required)
Contribution towards flowers (3 arrangements)£100.00
One extra arrangement£45.00
You can bring further arrangements but you will be responsible for placing them and getting them removed.
Organist's fee£82.00
If an audio recording is made of the service the organist is entitled to charge a further £80.00

PLEASE NOTE:
If one or both of you live outside the parish you will need to get your Banns read in that church (or churches), too. A fee is payable for this.
All fees must be paid (by cash or cheque) at least one month before the wedding date.

Blessings of civil weddings, renewal of vows and thanksgivings for Civil Partnerships

Church fee£160.00

Extras to be charged based on the list above.

Contact us

Father Geoffrey Thompson St Stephen's Vicarage 9 Warwick Road Thornton Heath CR7 7NH Tel: 020 8684 3820

Father Geoffrey's day off is Monday

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