If you are looking at this page because you have recently become engaged – congratulations!
What is Marriage?
Marriage is a Sacrament (an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace). The vows you will exchange are uttered in the presence of God, and in the sight and hearing of the congregation. These vows are the public profession of the inward intention of your hearts. All who witness these vows take a similar vow to uphold you in your married life together (they are promising not to covet selfishly those whom God has joined together, just as you have promised to forsake all others).
Who may get married?
A wedding ceremony is a public witness before God to the love that two people have for each other. It not only marks the beginning of a marriage, but celebrates God at work through our human relationships, and blesses us on our journey through life. We are pleased to receive inquiries about conducting wedding ceremonies at St. Peter’s, and if you would like to be married in church, we will do all we can to help make your special day both enjoyable and memorable.
If you live within the Parish of Cowfold, or have a qualifying connection, then booking your wedding at St. Peter’s is very straightforward. If you do not have a qualifying connection, you are able to gain one by becoming regular worshippers (or by one of you becoming a regular worshipper) at St. Peter’s for 6 months. Please follow the link for more information on Church of England's legal requirements for those planning to get married.
The first step along the Way
Just as a proposal of marriage begins an engagement which is fulfilled at the wedding, so the wedding ceremony is only the beginning of a lifelong relationship with your spouse. The wedding takes place in Church, at the centre of the Parish, to indicate that your life together should be lived in community, lived around His holy Altar. The often-anticipated wedding reception symbolically takes the joy of the Church ceremony out into the Community in celebration of the vows. But it would be much less meaningful without the ceremony. After all, where else can you sing publicly of your love?
How much will it cost?
Spiritually and emotionally, this is the matter which your Parish Priest will be discussing with you in preparation for the ceremony.
As to the cost of the ceremony itself, a Table of Fees has been drawn up in consultation with the Diocese and the Church of England authorities, to let you know the essential and additional costs.
How do I plan the service?
You will be prepared by Fr. Martin for the ceremony and what it entails. There is the fixed order of the marriage itself, and then the additions such as hymns and readings. Often couples will design a service booklet for their guests, which afterwards serves as a souvenir of the day. Here is an outline of the service to act as a template, and also a list of hymns, especially suited to the service.
Helpful information on planning your ceremony can be found on the Church of England Wedding website, including a selection of suitable readings, and music.