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Marriage Licence

Special Licence 

Lots of people marry in their own local church, but you might like to marry in a church away from where you live because it has special significance for you through family or other connections. If you want to marry in a church outside your own parish, but cannot satisfy any of the qulaifying connections to a church that are set out in the new Marriage Measure, you will probably need to apply for a Special Licence.

Qualifying connections are

An engaged couple can now do just that if either of you can show just one of the seven connections with the parish listed below. 

You can marry in a CofE church if you can show:-

That one of you: 

  • has at any time lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • was baptised in the parish concerned or
  • was prepared for confirmation in the parish or
  • has at any time regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months or

That one of your parents, at any time after you were born:

  • has lived in the parish for a period of at least 6 months or
  • has regularly gone to normal church services in the parish church for a period of at least 6 months or

That one of your parents or grandparents:

  • was married in the parish

And did you know that if you move house, you’re immediately connected to the church there? That means you can marry in the church of your new parish.

In all cases involving church services - i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage - this applies only to Church of England services. Even if you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, we want to help you explore whether it may still be possible for you to marry in your special church. 

If you genuinely feel you have a connection with a particular church, the Vicar will be able to help you in applying for a Special Licence. The application is sent to:

The Church of England’s Faculty Office 
1 The Sanctuary, 
Tel: 0207 2225381 

The fee for this is around £175. We want to help you find a way to marry in your preferred church but Special Licences are not automatically granted. Be sure to plan well in advance, up to 18 months, of your wedding to expand your options.

Common Licence

If your marriage is taking place too soon for Banns to be read, or one of the people marrying is a foreign national, then a Common Licence application may be appropriate for you. It is granted in the name of the Bishop of the Diocese you are marrying in, and he has discretion whether or not to grant it. In order to obtain such a Licence, one of you must have had his or her usual residence within the parish or district of the church in which the marriage is to due to take place, during fifteen days immediately preceding the application, or must have had his or her usual place of worship at the church. 

Common Licences can only be granted for marriage to take place within the Diocese, and are only valid for three months. Application should be made to a surrogate for granting marriage licences in the Diocese, or to the Diocesan Registrar. The fee for a Common Licence is around £100.

Superintendent Registrar's Certificate

A Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate is another alternative to having Banns read, and involves the publication of a notice at the Register Office of the district. The Vicar of the church where you want to marry has the discretion whether or not to accept a Superintendent Registrar's Certificate. The residence requirements are in effect the same as for Banns. 

This is the normal procedure for marrying under Methodist Church rules.