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Weddings - Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the service?

It usually lasts about 40 minutes depending on how many hymns and readings you have.


May we have confetti?

Natural petal confetti is allowed at all three churches (not paper or plastic).


May we write our own vows?

For your marriage to be legal the Church of England vows must be used.  If, however, you would like to write your own to be used in addition that should be fine, please discuss it with the person taking your wedding.


May we choose the readings/how many?

It’s a Christian ceremony so there must always be at least one reading from the Bible, you can choose this yourself and we can give some suggestions. In addition to that many couples like to add one or more secular readings.  This needs to be run past the person taking your wedding before you print anything, but so far nothing has been refused!


How many hymns?

Anything from 0 to 3, though some couples have been known to squeeze four in.


May we have recorded music?

Recorded music is fine but one of our churches (St Mary's, Shackleford) does not have its own sound system so you would need to provide that along with someone to operate it.  Both churches at Compton and Peper Harow have sound systems that will accept most devices with a headphone socket. Please check suitability of music with the person taking your wedding, though, again, nothing has been refused yet.


May we use our own organist or musicians?



I have someone among my family and friends who is a Christian minister; can they play a part in the service?

Great! Please talk to the person taking your wedding at an early stage about this.


How much will it cost?

The basic, statutory, fee is £445 and after that there are additional costs for things like organist, bells and flowers.  The fees are set out elsewhere.


Are there bells at all three churches?

Only St Nicholas Compton has a ring of bells.  St Mary’s and St Nicholas Peper Harow each have one bell that sounds rather mournful if tolled so really isn’t suitable for weddings.  There is a local group of handbell ringers who, if available, might come and ring for you. - they would make a charge.


One of us is Roman Catholic; can we have a RC priest take part in the service?

Yes.  Please discuss this with the person taking your wedding at an early stage.  The local Roman Catholic priest in this area will want to speak to you himself.  If you know a priest who would come that’s fine too.  Remember that all the legal bits of the service must be done by a Church of England priest who acts on behalf of the registrar at church weddings so the Roman Catholic priest can preach or do the prayers and perhaps give the final blessing at the end of the service.


Does the bride have to be given away by someone?

No, provision is made in the new marriage service for the bride to ‘bring herself’ to the ceremony (women’s lib and all that) if that’s what she would prefer.


Will there be a rehearsal?

Yes, usually two or three days before your wedding day.  The people ideally needed at the rehearsal are:

•the bride and groom (obviously)

•whoever is giving the bride away (see above)

•the best man

•at least one bridesmaid

•any readers who would like to rehearse.


Who needs to sign the register?

The register is signed by the bride (in her pre-married name) and groom and two witnesses.  The witnesses can be anyone who was at the wedding.  Traditionally this role was taken by both fathers, perhaps looking back to a time when marriage was more of a contract between two families but things have changed.