Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Church Weddings

In the presence of God

Church of Scotland wedding ceremonies are a more relaxed affair than you would imagine. Any couple, including believers of other faiths, can be married in a Church of Scotland as long as they believe in monogamy and mean the vows that they will take. The ceremony doesn’t even have to take place in a church!

Compared to the Church of England, things are incredibly simple. There is no need for banns and there is no residency requirement. As long as the registrar is given notice at least 15 days before the wedding date (and you meet the legal requirements) you will receive your Marriage Schedule which must be given to the minister before the service begins and signed after the minister has declared you man and wife.

Although a minister has the right to refuse to marry a couple, the Church of Scotland is generally happy to marry any couple including divorcees. A meeting is held with your minister who will explain the order of the day, discuss your vows to make sure that you understand them and make arrangements for any part that the Church will play in your wedding. If you are divorced and remarrying it is at this meeting that you will be asked to detail the reasoning behind your divorce and the steps that you will take this time to prevent a reoccurrence.

The minister may ask you to attend the Church for a number of Sundays on the run up to your wedding which is more good manners than anything else. In our case my minister knew that as a barmaid on a Saturday night until the early hours it wasn’t going to be the easiest option so he asked that I attend and help out at two Church fundraisers. Remember – ministers are human with busy schedules too, they will understand if you have a good reason!

Every wedding ceremony will be different as ministers often tailor them to suit their style. Typically the minister will welcome the congregation and invite them to sing the first hymn. A prayer is then said and a lesson is given on the sanctity of marriage, again the length of both of these is dependent on your minister. Then comes the important part, the minister will ask if anyone knows of any reason why you should not be married, if there are no reasons then you will continue on and say your vows. The rings are then exchanged and the minister will join your hands and pronounce you as married. Some ministers like to add a little something extra, indeed recently at a wedding the minister spoke of the origins of the names of the couple and tied that into the meaning of marriage, which was a lovely touch.

Please note that this is a general guide and you can discuss with your minister where and when you would like hymns, prayers and additional readings. Ministers are great with regard to readings and hymns, some modern bride's are not overly keen on the more traditional bible readings - speak with your minister about this and see if they can suggest something more fitting to you as a couple.

A joint collaboration with Jac at Little Tiger Creations

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