Getting Married at St Mary the Virgin
There is little doubt that the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin is one of the most stunning venues for weddings in the region and we have been fortunate to have been celebrating Holy Matrimony with the people of this parish from 1877 until the present day.
Christian marriage is a Sacrament - a means of God's grace - and, as a lifelong union between man and woman, it reflects the unbreakable bond between Jesus Christ and His Church. The Abbey, then, is more than a venue - it is a place in which this holy institution is valued and rejoiced in and in which God's blessing on your union is assured.
Who can get married at St Mary the Virgin?
Although the Church of England recently made it somewhat easier for couples to get married in the parish church of their choice it is still not quite as straightforward as picking your favourite church, and certain legal requirements need to be met if you decide you would like to get married here. The first step, if you think that you would like to have your wedding at St Mary the Virgin, is to download our Wedding Booklet by clicking the image at the bottom of the page or popping in to church to pick one up and reading through it carefully. If you have any further questions you can always get in touch via the contacts page.
What if one of you is divorced?
At present, if either bride or groom has been married before and has a former spouse who is still alive we are unable to offer the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony at St Mary the Virgin, but there are ways that we can help you to celebrate your wedding. We understand, of course, that life and relationships are complicated and the current position is not a judgement on you, but it is the case that none of the priests who serve the Abbey Church of St Mary the Virgin recognise that they have the authority to dispense with the traditional teaching of the Universal Church. That said, it doesn't mean that we don't recognise that your forthcoming wedding can't or won't be a blessing on you, your families, friends, and wider community, so, if this applies to you, we are able and would be delighted to welcome you into church after a civil ceremony in another venue for a Service of Prayer and Dedication. This looks a little different to a wedding, in that bride and groom enter together and rings are not exchanged (you will, of course, have already done that!), but it is a beautiful ceremony and certainly, we hope and believe, an option worth considering.