We are so pleased that you are interested in marrying in St Martin's. It is always a great privilege for us to be involved with weddings. Please be assured that we are here to help in any way we can, not only before, but after you are married as well
Here you will find people who care deeply that your great day will be the beginning of a long and happy marriage. The priest, who will be marrying you, and officials at the church, will want to make sure that you understand the meaning of your wedding, so that you carry away with you a sense of peace and blessing.
The decision to marry is probably the most important step that two people will ever make. At St Martin’s we want to ensure not only that your wedding day runs smoothly and is as happy as can be, but also that you are prepared for the life that lies ahead.
Marriage is one of life's most important decision and is highly valued as a source for human flourishing and a force for good. The church believes that marriage is a gift to couples and their children and also to the wider family and community. One of the wonderful things about marrying in church is that you are able to make beautiful vows to each other.
The promises that you will make and the vows you will take are very far-reaching, so before your wedding we ask you to do some serious thinking about the commitment you are undertaking.
You will have an opportunity to talk through any particular issues and the service before the wedding with the priest who will marry you.
Marriage in Church
Of course marriage in church is a legal act and subject to some considerations.
If you live in the parish (Canterbury side of the railway!) you have the right to be married in St Peter's or St Martin's church. If you don't live in the parish but have connections with the parish, for example if one of you worship regularly here or are on the electoral role, or have at one time lived in the parish for 6 months, was baptised here or confirmed through the parish or one of your parents lived in the parish for 6 months during your life time, or worshipped regularly here, or a grandparent was married in the parish ... ( phew!) then you are welcome to be married here. Even if none of these conditions apply you may still be able to marry here, so do contact the vicar to talk your circumstances through. If you marry by banns they would normally be called on the first three Sundays in the month before your wedding. If either of you live outside the parish you are responsible for ensuring banns are read in your home church, and the certificate given to the vicar before the marriage can take place.
Applications for a common or Archbishops licence may also be made under rare circumstances.
Please do ensure that you have discussed these issues with the vicar.
We are required to see evidence to verify your personal details and nationality. It is therefore helpful if you could bring your passports or driving license and a photocopy of each when you meet the priest.
In recognition that our Christian faith is founded upon Christ who forgives our failings and enables us to start again; the vicar is not in principle opposed to marrying divorcees in church. She will discuss your particular circumstances sensitively with you and together come to a decision. The original divorce absolute and a copy will always be needed.
The Meaning of Marriage
Marriage is a legal contract, whereby a man and a woman contract themselves to each other for life, but most of us see it as rather more than that. It is a declaration of our love and the desire to stand by that love in a public and open way.
Relationships develop and grow when we give time and attention to them. From the moment when you are able to admit and say ‘I love you’, from the time when that love was secret between you, it has grown into something that can’t be kept secret and which you want to share with others. So marriage is both a private and public occasion.
The wedding ceremony has some simple symbolism enshrined within it. A bride, where possible, is given away by her father – his last act as her sole protector, and something he will do with mixed emotions! The groom will have a supporter, his best man, who is someone to encourage and deal with all the last minute details.
When the vows are made each will take the other’s right hand, a kind of ceremonial handshake, sealing the words that are spoken. You will probably give and receive a ring or rings: it will probably be of gold, the most precious metal known to man; gold does not tarnish, neither we hope will these promises; a ring has not beginning and no end, it is eternal, like you love for each other, in which we catch a glimpse of God’s love for us.