Having a Wedding Blessing

A couple pose with family after their wedding blessing
Terence and Glynis, who renewed their vows at St Mary’s, West Malling in 2015

Many couples who have had a civil wedding ceremony sometimes decide they would like to dedicate their marriage to God in church by having a Wedding Blessing.

There are two main types of Wedding Blessing, depending on your circumstances. Some couples ask for a ‘Service of Prayer and Dedication‘ while others seek a ‘Renewal of Marriage Vows‘.

Service of Prayer and Dedication

A recently married husband and wife can have their marriage blessed in church; whether they chose to get married in the UK or overseas.

For couples who marry abroad, a Wedding Blessing can also help to ensure more family and friends are able to take part in the celebrations of your marriage if they were unable to travel to another country for the marriage itself.

Historically, couples might have made use of this service if either the husband or wife were divorced and they still wanted God’s blessing on their marriage. However it is now possible to marry in church, even if you have been married before and divorced in many circumstances. Nonetheless, a blessing also remains an option either because they aren’t able to marry in church because of the circumstances of their previous divorce, or because they simply feel that it’s what they choose to do.

Renewal of Marriage Vows

For a couple that have been together for longer, there can sometimes be a pastoral need for a renewal of marriage vows. Perhaps like Terence and Glynis (pictured above right) a couple may wish to mark a significant anniversary with a family celebration in which they renew their vows to one another.

Alternatively some couples may want to renew their commitment to one another after a rocky period, and a renewal of vows can provide a lovely opportunity to signify your ongoing commitment to one another and seek God’s blessing for the road that lies ahead.

It is our privilege to offer both a Service of Prayer and Dedication or a Renewal of Marriage Vows in our parish churches and work with you to find the best fit for your circumstances and shape the service to make it feel personal and appropriate.

What are the services like?

Whichever option you choose

  • Both are simple services acknowledging the commitment you’ve already made between husband and wife and asks for God’s blessing and guidance in your future life together.
  • Because it is not a marriage service, there are no legalities to consider. Banns are not required, there is not usually an exchange of rings (although new rings can be blessed, for example if one has been lost or no longer fits) and there is no signing of Marriage Documents.
  • It can be designed to have a similar feel to a wedding with hymns, readings, flowers and even bells if you would like that. Alternatively, it can be an intimate, low-key service. If you want to do so, it can just be the two of you and the Vicar.
  • The service itself has no statutory fee (because it is not a legal service) but we usually ask couples to make a donation to help support the ongoing life and ministry of the church. We usually suggest £150 as an appropriate amount, but we recognise everyone’s circumstances differ. If you can’t afford that donation, it’s fine. We only ask that everyone give according to their means.
  • There may also be some other costs, such as flowers, bells and use of an organist if you want to include those options. These are charged at the same rates as wedding services.
  • You can have a blessing in any of our seven parish churches, so long as the church and the Vicar are free on your preferred date. There are no restrictions based on where you live, or your level of previous church attendance.
  • Many couples have opted for this service where one or both of the couple are remarrying after divorce. If this is your situation, talk things through with our Vicar who can offer guidance on remarrying in church or having a blessing. If you want to marry in church, rather than have a blessing, it may be possible to do so.

What’s our next step?

If you would like to explore your options and perhaps book a date for a Blessing, please contact our Vicar and we will be delighted to help you get started.