Getting Married at Great Hampden
First of all, congratulations on your engagement! Whether you have recently got engaged or are actively planning your special day, we’re delighted that you are thinking about getting married at St Mary Magdalene, Great Hampden.
This church has been serving the people of Great Hampden for about 800 years. Many families have had generations of their members married here, but it is a small village and most of our weddings these days come from couples who live outside the area but want to get married in this very special place.
We believe a church wedding is the best way to begin your married life, whether or not you go to church often. The vows you will make can only be made in church. It is a special and proper place to consecrate your love, ask for God’s blessing and take this important step in your life together.
We will work with you to make your day personal to you as a couple. If you have children, they can be involved too. You have plenty of choice over readings, music, flowers and all the other things that will make your wedding a unique occasion—and a true reflection of your love for each other.
We look forward to celebrating your wedding day with you and send our warmest good wishes as you prepare for the day.
Wherever you are in the process, please feel free to contact the Rector by phone or email if you have any questions or concerns—we want you to enjoy the preparation almost as much as the wedding day itself, so please don’t get stressed!
How It Works
The next step will be to arrange an initial meeting with the minister who will take your wedding. We’ll talk through the legal process by which couples get married in church—it is different to a civil wedding. In nearly every case, is pretty easy to arrange. We’ll talk through the various costs and options that you have. By about four months before the wedding date, we should have a fair idea about the content of the service—the readings, hymns and music. After we’ve planned your service, we talk in more detail about what it all means and what it is all about. We focus on the vows you make to each other: these are the heart of the service. Church is the only place you can make promises this big to each other. By making these promises in church, you invite God, who is loving and caring, to help you keep them.
What about a Wedding Blessing?
Sometimes couples will have a civil ceremony followed by a wedding blessing. A wedding blessing doesn’t contain any legal elements of a wedding, but it does contain all the spiritual elements of vows and rings, and is every bit a church wedding!
Things to think about
Can we involve our children?
Many people getting married will have children and want to involve them in the wedding. There are lots of different ways to do this. The main thing is to make sure everybody is comfortable and happy with what’s happening. Tell the minister early on that you’d like to involve your children in the ceremony, and then you can think through the best way to do that for your wedding.
Getting married after a divorce
It has been possible for people to get married in church after a divorce for some time. If you have been divorced, tell the minister when you meet.
One of us isn’t a British National. Does that change things?
It’s important for you to be sure your marriage will be legally recognised in your home country, if that isn’t the UK. Getting married here doesn’t automatically confer any right of residency. It is generally a simple matter to work out the best route to marriage if you aren’t a British National. Every case is different, so make sure you raise this with your minister at the start.
At St Mary Magdalene we think it is really important that your wedding reflects you as a couple. We work with you as we blend ancient tradition and modern experience to reflect your story. There are lots of decisions to make about your wedding in church.
One area where there is great choice is music. “This year we have had a huge variety of music,” says our Rector, Deiniol Heywood. “Some couples like the traditional choice. Others have had opera singers. We have had string quartets, brass quartets, harpists and even the bagpipes! The key is that we spend time building a relationship with everyone who takes part in the wedding. We get to know the couple and because we know the musicians, florists and everyone involved we can make sure we get it all just right.” We have a close relationship with Hampden House, and about half our wedding couples choose to have their reception there.
Weddings can be expensive, but they need not be. No one is excluded from getting married at St Mary Magdalene’s for financial reasons.
Visit Your Church Wedding for loads of information and help!
And here's more about a lovely wedding that took place here in 2018.