Parish Church of St Mary, Buckden

Your wedding at

St Mary’s


Congratulations on your engagement!


We are delighted that you are considering celebrating your marriage at St Mary’s. This leaflet outlines the procedure for organising and planning the church service. We hope it will help you in your decision-making, and take some of the stress out of planning your wedding.



Useful Contact Information


Clergy Revd Ally Barrett (Vicar)

The Vicarage

Church Street


St Neots

PE19 5TL

01480 810371 /


Flowers Ann Moore

01480 812577


Music John Cartwright (organist)

01480 811402


To get to know the church people and building prior to your wedding, the best thing is to come to our services. The main Sunday service is at 10.30, and full details of regular service times and special events are on our website.


We now have this booklet available as a pdf document, Please click HERE to view or print it.

Most computers will open this document automatically, but you may need Adobe Reader available here Get Adobe Acrobat

You can find more information at the Church of England's new marrige website: Click here .


How do I know whether I am eligible to get married in Buckden?


(a) Residence requirements

Under the new marriage legislation which came into force in October 2008, couples can now marry in a parish church with which they have a qualifying connection. You can still marry in the parish church where you currently live or where you are a regular member of the congregation, but you would now also be able to marry at a church where you used to live, or where you used to be a member of the congregation (for 6 months or more) or where you were baptised or prepared for confirmation, where your parents live (or lived, during your lifetime, for 6 months or more), or where your parents or even grandparents were themselves married!

You can read the full guidelines here . Please do ask the vicar if you are not sure.


(b) Previous marriages

If either of you has been married before, please contact the vicar as early as possible in your planning. A previous marriage will not necessarily make marriage in church inappropriate, but it is important to talk through the issues at an early stage. You will need to bring with you to the initial meeting with the vicar your decree absolute.


(c) Other considerations

If you have questions about other issues that might affect your eligibility for marriage, please contact the vicar as soon as possible. If we don’t know the answer to your question, we will be able to find out for you.


What are the legal preliminaries for marriage?


According to the law, you can get married in church either after Banns, or by Licence. Calling Banns of Marriage is by far the most common (and cheapest!) method. The law requires that your banns be called in the parish where you will be getting married, and in the parish(es) where each of you lives. You are responsible for contacting the parish priests of all the applicable parishes to ensure that banns are called. The priest who marries you will need to see all the Certificates of Banns. Most couples enjoy coming to church to hear their banns called.
In some circumstances a Licence (usually a Common Licence, occasionally a Special License) would be more appropriate; the priest who is to marry you will advise if this is the case.


What happens when I enquire about getting married at St Mary’s?


When you first got in touch with the church about planning your wedding, you will have been given this leaflet together with an application form, and will be able to fix an initial appointment with the vicar or with the priest who will be marrying you. You need to fill in the first page of the form with your personal and contact details and your preferred date and time for the service. Don’t worry too much about the second page yet, unless there are details that you wish to make a note of. Bring this form to the initial meeting with the priest, and they will explain what happens next.

Meeting with the priest


Usually you will have a meeting with the priest as soon as possible after you make your initial enquiry. This meeting is to discuss residence requirements and any other issues (e.g. previous marriages), to talk through the decisions you will need to make about the marriage service, and to confirm the date and time of the service; occasionally other events mean that it is not possible to have your first choice of date or time for your wedding. The priest may suggest a second meeting, if it seems that there is a lot to discuss.


Once you have seen the priest for the initial interview, you may wish to use the information in this booklet to begin to plan what music, readings, and hymns you would like to have at your marriage service. Please feel free to contact us if we can help you with those decisions.


You will also be given a copy of the booklet ‘preparing for marriage’, which looks beyond the wedding day and helps you both prepare for your life together. Your priest will invite you to talk about what you learned from working through the booklet. Please also feel free to be in contact with your priest at any point during the process if you would like to talk through anything - we are here to help.


As the wedding day approaches, the priest will wish to meet you again to finalise the details of the service, and to fix a date and time for the rehearsal, which will usually be during the week before the wedding. The rehearsal is held in church, and is particularly for the bride and groom, best man, chief bridesmaid and father of the bride. Many couples make this into a family event, and invite others along, too.


Planning your marriage service



Order of Service


You may be getting your order of service printed professionally, or producing it yourself. Either way, please ask the priest to send you a copy of what needs to be included.




For all enquiries, please contact Ann Moore on 01480 812577.


Couples can make their own arrangements for the flowers using a florist / friend / relative, or can make use of the church flower arrangers. Whatever you decide to do, please contact Ann Moore first to let her know your plans.


During Lent (the period of six weeks before Easter) wedding flowers must be removed after the service so that they are not in church on the Sunday. Around the time of the major church festivals (Christmas, Easter, Harvest etc) there are already decorations in church which may not be removed, but other flowers of the couple’s choice may be added.


Occasionally we have more than one wedding booked on the same day, which means that the same flowers are used for both services.




We have an excellent team of bellringers. Please confirm as soon as possible if you would like bells after your marriage service, so that we can ensure that they will be available.




We ask that you don’t use confetti in the church or churchyard, but that you save it for outside the churchyard gates. Using lavender or similar instead of confetti is permitted in the churchyard.




A standard marriage service with one reading and two hymns usually lasts about 35 minutes. It is good if the bride aims to arrive 5 minutes early to allow time for adjusting the veil etc, and for photographs outside the church. Don’t forget to allow time at the end of the service for more photographs etc. before heading off for the reception.



Couples are to obtain a video licence from ECL Ltd (a leaflet is available from the vicar, or you can visit

Videoing should take place discreetly and without causing any hindrance to those attending or conducting the service, from a position either by the lectern or the pulpit, or at the rear cross aisle. There is a courtesy fee payable in advance of the service, and the fees for the organist and choir are increased.




We allow still (non-flash) photography at the following points in the service:

-         a long shot from the rear cross aisle during the first hymn

-          a posed long shot at the signing of the registers

-          as the bridal couple are processing out of church


The current data protection legislation should be observed if any photographs or video images are held digitally.


Choosing a reading


You will need to choose at least one reading from the New Testament. Some popular choices include:

1 Corinthians 13

Ephesians 3.14-end

Philippians 4.4-9

John 15.9-17

Colossians 3.12-17

1 John 4.7-12

John 2.1-11


If you would two Bible readings, why not choose a reading from the Old Testament, such as


Genesis 1.26-28

Song of Solomon 2.10-13; 8.6-7


If you do not have access to a bible, please ask your priest, who will be able to lend you one, or give you copies of the suggested readings. Alternatively, if you have internet access, go to and type in the bible reference exactly as it is given in the list above into the first ‘search’ box.


Some couples also like to have a poem or other non-biblical reading at their wedding – please do discuss this with your priest. You may want advice about whether a particular reading is appropriate.


Readings may be read by a friend or member of the family. Biblical readings may be read by the priest if you prefer.

Choosing Hymns, songs and other music


Almost all couples wish to engage the organist. If you have a family friend who you would like to play the organ for your service, please contact the church organist to negotiate this. There is a small fee for the use of the organ in this case.


Some couples also wish to book the choir, either to sing a simple anthem or to help lead the congregational singing. Let us know as soon as possible if you think you would like to book the choir.


Choosing the music for your wedding can be a great opportunity to think about what the service means to you, but it can also be quite daunting! Here page are some suggestions – these are just the ones that are chosen most often (usually because they are good, and people like them!). You can also ask the organist for advice.


Choosing hymns


There is usually a hymn near the start of the service, and one near the end. If you want an extra hymn, it would usually go after the readings. Think about the words, and also think about whether your friends and family will know the tune,. You can find the words and tunes to many well-known hymns at


Love divine all loves excelling

Come down, O love divine

All things bright and beautiful

Give me joy in my heart

Amazing grace

Great is thy faithfulness

Dear Lord and Father of mankind

O Jesus I have promised

Be thou my vision


All creatures of our God and King

Jerusalem (And did those feet )

One more step along the world I go

Make me a channel of your peace

Be still for the presence of the Lord

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Praise, my soul, the king of heaven

For the beauty of the earth

Lord of all hopefulness



Music for the entrance and exit, and at the signing of the register

Most couples choose organ music at the entrance and exit. During the signing of the register you might choose a choir anthem (if you have booked the choir, and subject to availability) or an organ piece. Please make sure you have consulted the organist and /or choir director about your choice of music – if you are not sure what exactly you want, they will be able to recommend something.







Publication of Banns





Marriage Service





Certificate of Banns

Only for marriages taking place elsewhere


Marriage certificate

Doubled if issued other than on date of marriage






Organist’ fee

Organist’s supplementary fee for video

Use of the organ





Choir fee

Choir’s supplementary fee for video







not usually needed during summer months


Video Courtesy fee





        Statutory fees (the first four items) are set centrally by the Church of England, and are subject to confirmation in January of the year in which the wedding takes place. Allow for a small increase if your wedding is in the next calendar year.

        Other fees are set by the PCC – again, allow for a small increase if your wedding is in the next calendar year.

        Please make cheques payable to ‘St Mary’s Buckden PCC’. You will be sent an invoice by the treasurer, which should be paid in advance of the wedding.

We come together in church to worship God, to hear His word and to share the Good news of Jesus,
receiving forgiveness and renewal through His death and resurrection.

We are sent out from church to live as Christian disciples, showing love to others
and living out our faith in all we think, say and do.

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