Many people like to mark their intention for lifelong commitment to each other in the public ceremony of marriage, or a service of Dedication after a civil marriage.
We are delighted to support them in this, offering marriage preparation classes beforehand, and the support of the church family afterwards, if they are able to remain in the area as a couple. Marriage preparation is an opportunity for the couple to take time out from the pressures of life to talk together about both practicalities and goals for their marriage, with input from videos and other materials to stimulate and guide their discussions. The ceremony is discussed with the Vicar, who will help ensure that all the legal details are covered, and take those involved through a rehearsal shortly before the wedding day.
Normally (as with a civil marriage) you will need to have booked the ceremony at the very least 4 weeks in advance, so that the Banns (legal announcement of the intention to marry) can be read, though of course it is wise to plan further ahead! People who live in this parish may ask to be married in St Thomas's; those who live in other parishes who would like to be married here will need to speak to the Vicar here as well as to contact the Vicar in the parish in which they live, as Banns must also be read in that parish. Because marriage involves solemn promises the Vicar holds to the traditional teaching of the Church of England and does not marry those who have a former marriage partner still living.