The simple answer to this question is ‘Possibly less than you might think!’
In a time when weddings seem to be getting more and more expensive, the cost of getting married in Church can be surprisingly low.
Because the Church of England is a State Church, fees for the service (and banns and marriage certificate) are set by Parliament. (See below for an explanation of what ‘banns’ are.)
The fees for 2020 are as follows:
Marriage service: £463.00
Reading of banns: £31.00
Banns certificate: £14.00
Marriage certificate: £11.00
Most marriages that take place in the Church of England follow the reading of banns.
Banns of marriage or simply “banns” (meaning “proclamation”) are the public announcement of a marriage due to take place sometime in the following three months. The reading of banns enable anyone to raise legal objections to the marriage. The wording will be familiar from the marriage service itself when the minister asks if anyone present knows of any reason why the couple cannot legally be married.
Banns are required to be read in the home parish of both of the couple and also the parish where the marriage is to take place. They could therefore be required to be read in one, two or three parishes. If banns are read in more than one parish, then the minister conducting the marriage will need to see banns certificates from the other churches.
So, the total cost of the legally required components could be as low as £474.00 (if the couple both live in the parish where the marriage is to take place, meaning that only one set of banns, and no certificate, is required).
The above costs are set by parliament and apply to all marriages held in Church of England churches.
Please note that these fees may be revised for weddings taking place in 2019. The total cost of a church wedding will probably increase a little. Please contact Mike, your vicar, if you require further details.
Various other costs may arise.
It may be required for the church to be heated. Churches are not generally particularly warm buildings, particularly the older, more traditional church buildings. If heating is required then there will be a charge to cover the cost of this.
It may be required for bells to be rung. Bells give a special ‘feel’ to a wedding and help to make the occasion memorable. If bells are required, there will be a charge to cover the cost of the bellringers.
If organ music is required, then there will be a charge to cover the cost of the organist. An organist can play any hymns required in the service and also the traditional ‘marches’ in and out of church (as the bride arrives and then as the couple leave).
Lastly, churches will often strongly recommend that a verger is available to open the church, sort heating and sound, and welcome guests to the service.
Costs charged for the above by any church should reflect the actual costs and should not be used to ‘build up’ church funds! Our costs for these options are as follows:
Bells: No bells currently available at St Stephen’s
Bells: £30.00 at St John’s (where a one-person carillon is used)
Bells: £160.00 at St Ethelbert’s (where an eight bell peal or ring is used)
(If flowers are required to be organised by the Church, then this will be by arrangement. Couples are welcome to bring their own flowers.)
So, the full cost of a wedding for a couple living in the parish, including the legal costs, an organist, heating, bells and a verger could increase to £680.00 at St Stephen’s, £710.00 at St John’s, or £840.00 at St Ethelbert’s.