When you approach us about a church wedding, the minister will be pleased to talk to you and arrange an appointment with you both to get to know you and explain the process and the information required.

We hope that you are enjoying planning your wedding day and we are particularly pleased that you have decided to make your marriage vows within the context of the Christian marriage ceremony.  We will do all we can to ensure that this will be a happy and a memorable occasion.  If everything is to run smoothly we must make careful preparations together.  We therefore ask you to read the following notes.

When applying, you may be asked to produce your passport and proof of your residency status. Non E.U. nationals are required to obtain a Special Licence from the Bishop’s Legal Officer. Please ask for further information.

Even though they may not live in the parish, couples are now entitled to marry at a Parish Church where they can establish a ‘qualifying connection’. Please ask for guidance on the six criteria.

Recommended Bible Readings

Paul  1st Letter to the 1 Corinthians 13
St Paul’s classic description of Christian love

 The Letter to the Colossians 3:12-17
Put on Christian virtues like clothing, especially love

 The Letter to the Philippians 4:4-9
Prayer, thanksgiving and godliness bring peace and happiness

The Gospel according to John 15:9-17
Jesus commands us to love one another and so be his friends

The Gospel according to Matthew 5:1-10
The Beatitudes: The righteous will find blessing and happiness

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Two are better than one. They are bound with a threefold cord

There are several other passages that would also be equally appropriate. If you would like to include other non-biblical readings or poems, please speak to your minister.

Recommended Hymns
If you have access to the Internet, you can see the words and listen to the tunes to the hymns listed overleaf and many others on or – and be able to say, ‘Oh yes, I do know that one’! You can also listen to music for entry and exit on   The traditional pieces are Wagner’s Bridal March and Mendelssohn’s Wedding March.

Calling the Banns of Marriage
Your Banns have to be called in the Church of England Parish Church where you intend to marry.  If bride and groom live in different parishes, the Banns must be called in both of the CHURCH OF ENGLAND parish churches. The one who lives outside Elstree & Borehamwood is responsible for ensuring that the Banns are called in your local parish church – even if you are not a member of the Church of England. If for some personal reason, you do not wish to have your banns publicly called, please enquire about obtaining a common licence.

Contact the local Vicar or Rector at least three months prior to the wedding and no later than six weeks before.  If either of you change your address, after completion of your application form, please get in touch immediately.

Your Banns will normally be called during the main morning service at the church where you are to be married in Elstree & Borehamwood and where you live on the first three Sundays of the month before your wedding day. Since they are a legal requirement, please come and hear them called at least once.  If they are omitted or called incorrectly simply speak to the minister after the service.

Interview and Rehearsal
About three months before the wedding date, we will arrange to meet you to go through the format of the service and explain the Christian understanding of marriage.  We like to arrange a rehearsal sometime during the fortnight before the wedding.  Please contact us to arrange these dates. At the rehearsal we shall go through the words of the ceremony, and the ‘choreography’ for the couple, the bridesmaids, best man and father of the bride.

The Wedding
Punctuality is important for you as much as for everyone else.  Please ensure that adequate time is allowed for travel to the church and for photographs.

Photographer/s and video/camcorder operator/s should consult the minister before the service starts so that they are aware of what is allowed and not allowed.  In the case of a recording, an extra fee is charged and a form, completed beforehand and signed by the operator, may be required. For professional/enhanced videos, an additional copyright licence is required. Please apply to your minister for an application form or refer to

Printed Service Orders
The clergy will be happy to advise on a printed Order of Service, if you want one. Please supply a draft before printing to ensure that the order of events and the words of the hymns are correct.

The practice varies somewhat at our four churches, but flowers are used to decorate the church, except in Advent and Lent (December & March).  The fees stated assume that you will be contributing to the cost of a standard arrangement. If you want to have additional floral decorations, please apply to your minister in good time, so that access to the church can be organised.

Music can make or break a wedding!  Our competent organists will provide live music to accompany hymn singing and provide music on entry and exit and during the signing of the registers. If you require non-traditional music, you may need to provide the score for the organist. It is recognised that these days, some appropriate commercially pre-recorded music may be preferred. Please obtain the prior approval of your minister.

To encourage the participation of your guests, the singing of two or three well-known hymns is encouraged  (See the list overleaf – there are many others!).  Please talk to your minister who will advise you on your choices.

The Church’s fees are by no means the biggest cost of your wedding! The fees are set out on a separate information sheet. A deposit will be required when the wedding is booked. The balance is required in cash at the rehearsal or earlier by cheque, or where required, when a Banns Certificate is issued.

The Parish of Elstree & Borehamwood has an agreed policy for considering applications for second marriage, provided certain conditions are met. Please speak to your minister.