Weddings: frequently asked questions
If you are here then hopefully congratulations are in order! We are delighted that you are thinking about a church based wedding. We would really like to explore with you what your options are so here are some answers to commonly asked questions; however feel free to contact us if there are any further questions that you would like to ask or to book a date.
Wherever you get married so this which is produced by the Church of England nationally is a great resource in offering ideas about readings, words, vows, children, hymns and so on.
Q. I'm not baptised. I don't go to church. Can I still get married in church?
A. Yes you can. Absolutely. God's love and blessing is available to everyone who wishes to be married in church.
Q. Can I get married at St Philip and St James church, Walderslade?
Hopefully yes! If you have the right sort of connection with us then you can married in the church - so if you or your partner live in our area (parish) then you can (see www.achurchnearyou.com to be sure). If you worship regularly in the church then you can get married here, there are also numerous other ways of showing connection which the Church of England nationally have agreed - see this page for more information.
Q. How do I book the church for a wedding?
A. It's pretty easy. Get in touch with us and arrange to see the Vicar or the Curate. We'll book a time to meet with you and begin to discuss and plan the wedding. Booking the church for your particular date is all part of that chat.
Q. We've decided to get married abroad but we would like a church blessing. Is that possible?
A. Yes. There is a service called 'Prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony' and this can be adapted for your use. There are no legal requirements for this service.
Q. I’m divorced. Can I still get married in church?
A. In the Church of England, we believe that marriage is for life, but we also recognise that sadly, some marriages do fail and that it's important to recognise that and respond to it as appropriate. Divorced people can remarry in church at Pip n Jim's under certain circumstances. Each case is different and circumstances are always unique so the important next step is to speak to the Vicar or the Curate about your situation and there may well be a way forward. They will want to talk to you frankly about your past and your hopes for the future. You will need to be honest and open with them about your past and they will let you know whether they can remarry you. Even if it is not possible to do your wedding, they will be able to offer you a service of prayer and dedication after a civil ceremony (see above).
Q. What is ‘marriage preparation’ and why do we need it?
A. You will never make such big promises to each other as you will in church on your wedding day. You are still two separate individuals with different backgrounds, personalities, experiences, hopes and fears. As two become one in marriage, the road isn't always easy and it's important to think about important issues you may face and prepare for them together. Marriage is a serious commitment and opportunity is available to talk through the big issues, sometimes as a group with other couples, if you would like to do so. Our Vicar and our Curate will be able to discuss the options with you when you meet with them.
Q. How much will it cost?
A. Fees for weddings are set nationally so that the same basic fees apply whichever church you get married in. However, there are some variations - usually dependent on your circumstances and what you want in your service (e.g. an organist or a choir) and also what licences to marry apply. We have prepared a special page about the fees for you to read through but please do speak to our Vicar or our Curate when you meet them to discuss the fees in more detail.
Q. I am getting married elsewhere and the vicar there says I need my banns read here, what do I do?
A. First check one of you live in our parish. Go to www.achurchnearyou.com and enter your postcode. There is a form you need to complete. You can download and print it, or ring the church for a copy (01634 681 671). It needs to be returned to the church (there's a letter box on the wall of the church hall) along with a cheque, [by post to St Philip and St James Church, King George Road, Chatham, ME5 0TZ] - you can also pay by card do ring the office first. In 2020 that's £45 payable to St Philip and St James Church. We will contact you to agree when they will be read (which will be no more than three months before your wedding), and we would be delighted to you welcome you to the church (Sunday 10am service) to hear your banns read.