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Wedding couplePlanning Your Wedding


If you would like to be married in the Church then we would love to welcome you. You do not have to hold any particular beliefs and it doesn't matter whether or not you are christened or go to church. Marrying in church has never been easier and we would love to welcome you to our churches. For some time many churches have also welcomed people who are divorced to be married in church. To be married in the UK you must be over 18 years of age, or 16 with your parents consent.

1. Call the Minister

Let us know your good news as soon as you can and we can help plan the wedding. Call the church office on 01234 342613 and ask for our Minister to be in touch. We will be as flexible as possible in helping you plan the wedding, it can take place on any day of the week, to be legal the wedding must just take place between 8am and 6pm. If you would like to print of a copy of our wedding details booking form you may do so. You can then have this ready for when you see the Minister.

If you would like a copy of the wedding details booking form, please click here

2. Sort out the Banns

For a marriage to be lawful and comply with UK Civil and Church law, Banns must be read out in church. Banns are just an announcement in the local parish church of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as the parish church in which you are to be married, if that is somewhere else. You must have your banns read out in church for three Sundays during the three months before the wedding. This is often done over three consecutive Sundays but does not have to be. 

You will probably wonder what all the fuss is about with Banns, it is an archaic practice which hardly makes any sense at all in modern times, but nevertheless we have to do it because it is ancient law. Once upon a time people would have know who the people were who were getting married and they would know if there was a valid reason to object to the marriage. The reasons are quite specific and include such things as the bride and groom are blood relatives, or already married to somebody else. It is nothing to worry about and it can be quite nice to come along to church and hear you name read out, so come along if you can.

If there is not enough notice given for the Banns to be read before the marriage is due to take place, or in the case of the marriage of people whose nationality is not British, or if one or both of you do not live in England, it is recommended that a Marriage Licence is given instead of Banns. This is especially recommended if there is any doubt as to the legal requirements of the home country of a non-British person for recognition of an English Church marriage.

You may use this form which you can complete online in Adobe

Click here to download a Banns application form to complete in Adobe

Click here for a Banns application in Word Document format

3. Having a Rehearsal

Near your wedding day, perhaps a day or two before, you will usually have the opportunity for a rehearsal with those who are involved.

4. The Big Day

Your Minister will do all he or she can to make the day a personal, meaningful and spiritual experience for you and your guests.

5. Methodist Marriages

If you are having a Methodist marriage then you will need to visit the Registrar of Marriages, Brickhill Drive, Brickhill, to 'give notice' of your marriage. If one partner lives outside the registration district of Bedford they should give notice in their own district as well. This should be done five or six weeks before the wedding. The Registrar will supply you with a certificate authorising the Minister to issue a marriage certificate. This certificate must be given to the Minister as soon as it is obtained.

6. Renewal of Marriage Vows

Sometimes couples who have been married for some time also appreciate a Service for the Renewal of Marriage Vows, to give thanks for their marriage. (please see our special booklet). The ministers will be happy to discuss your special arrangements with you. 

7. Honeymoon and passports

Brides may have their passport in their new name prior to the wedding. This is also advisable if travelling to some countries! Collect a form PD2 from the post office and bring it to the minister to sign.


Planning the Wedding at St Mark's and Putnoe Heights Church

There is plenty of information here below to help plan your wedding. You might also like to visit which is a great site the Church of England operates to help couples plan their wedding

A Church of England Wedding - Back 'Home' (h)


What is the service like ?

If you would like to see a copy of the order of service you may download one in Adobe Acrobat format click here

How much will the wedding cost?

Weddings are expensive as you will probably already have found out! The good news is that the actual wedding itself will probably be one of the cheaper items. The total cost for weddings is shown on the bottom of the booking form. We have tried to keep costs to a minimum but there are legal fees, payment to organist, verger, church etc., copyright fees. The fee must be paid prior to the day of the wedding - at the rehearsal is usually convenient. If paying by cheque we must allow time for this to clear, this is unfortunate but necessary as we have had some disappointments. There is a non-returnable Booking fee of £50 to confirm your wedding (this will be deducted from your final invoice. Please make cheques payable to either St. Mark’s or Putnoe Heights Church. NOTE: Your wedding is not confirmed until the booking fee has been paid and the church reserves the right to re-allocate your booking

In 2015 the total cost of a church wedding, including organist was as follows. The current fee can always be checked online - just type Church of England weddign fees into Google to see the current table of fees.

  1. Legal Fees (Paid to Diocese)        £188  
  2. Legal Fees (Paid to Church)                     £225
  3. Banns Certificate  (Paid to Diocese)  £13    
  4. Publication of Banns  (Paid to Diocese)        £28  
  5. Organist Fees                                   £75

What do I do about flowers?

It is always a good idea to brighten up the church with some flowers for your wedding, although there is no need to be extravagant. The procedure will vary depending upon which church you choose in which to be married. We are fortunate to have people who will advise you and are prepared to make arrangements for you to your specifications at a reasonable cost. If you wish to have flowers please telephone the person responsible at each church. If you are to be married at Putnoe Heights Church telephone Mrs. Ann Hitt on 404186. If you are to be married at St. Mark's Church then telephone Miss Marion Prior on 303254

They can discuss your colours and ideas with you, it may be that somebody else is to be married on the same day and special arrangements can be made to share costs and to match colour schemes. Should you decide not to have flowers or to have a florist or friend make arrangements you must still telephone, so that these two ladies know what is going on. Please telephone now - do not wait until closer to the wedding.

When should we have a rehearsal?

A rehearsal is held in the church for the couple usually the week before the marriage. Please telephone the Minister to arrange a date and time. At the rehearsal you should try to have the Best man, Bridesmaids and the person who is 'giving away' the Bride present. This is a time to run through the service and put you all at ease. The fees should be paid no later than this time. 

Reading from Scripture

The service includes a reading from the Bible, often 1 Corinthians 13 or John Chapter 2 are used. If you would like to ask a member of the family or a friend to read this then please do so and tell the minister.

Bridesmaids and Page Boy

Some people have many bridesmaids and a page boy, however you may not wish to have any at all. Bridesmaids are there to tend to the needs of the bride throughout the service, for making sure that your dress is arranged properly and 'waiting' on you. It must be said that few actually wait on the bride as they should. You will pass your bouquet to the chief bridesmaid at the beginning of the service and if you wear a veil she may help remove it. Traditionally you made your vows with the veil over your face, in case the groom changed his mind!

The best manBest Man

He will be there to assist the Groom, not least in taking care of the ring(s). It is said that once, if the Groom failed to appear the Best Man was obliged to marry the Bride!


In the Methodist service the vows are the same for both partners. If you are having a Church of England wedding the bride will have to decide whether she will say 'Obey' in her vows. If the bride does say ‘obey‘, the Groom will have a different vow as well, he will promise to 'worship' the Bride.

Ushers and Seating

It is helpful if you provide two ushers who will welcome your guests and assist people as they arrive. Ushers should be present forty minutes before the wedding and distribute orders of service and buttonholes. They will also escort people to their seats. It is traditional for the family of the Groom to sit on the right side of church as you walk in, behind the Groom. The family of the Bride sit on the left, with a space saved for the person 'giving away' the bride. Increasingly this is a practice more honoured in the breach than in the observance and you may not wish to split the congregation in this way, especially if one family is very small.

Photographers and video

We are happy to recommend Taymar Video Film Productions, if you are thinking of having a video recording. We encounter difficulties with some of the companies used and we have been forced to make restrictions on filming to prevent weddings being ruined. Film crews running down the aisle in front of the bride, cameras being thrust over the shoulder of the Minister during vows, large floodlights and umbrellas being erected at the front of the church, these are just some of the problems encountered!

We have been impressed by the service offered by TVF and find the filming to be unobtrusive and sensitive to the wedding service. We are happy for bookings to take place with this company without any other consultation with the church. If you wish to take advantage of this service please contact the following :- Taymar Video Film Productions, Mr Barry Ingram, 67 Avon Drive, Bedford, MK41 7UR. Telephone 01234 353704 Mobile 0860 348347 Fax 01234 270876

We are prepared to allow other companies to film your wedding but we would stress that prior contact must be made with the church office by the company concerned so that agreement can be given. There is no charge made for allowing the video filming to take place. If this permission is not sought prior to the wedding day authorisation will not be made for the filming of your wedding. We hope that you will realise that the reasons for this are to ensure that your wedding is a very special day you will remember and not spoiled by insensitive behaviour.

We do allow photographers in church but it is expected that the photographer will contact the church office prior to the service to discuss arrangements. A professional photographer using more than one camera will not need to use flash and will be unobtrusive. Once the service has begun it is difficult to stop disruption, but the verger will intervene if a photographer acts unreasonably in a way that is not conducive to a church service.

RingsRings on a Bible

You may decide to use one or two rings, it has become increasingly popular for both partners to be given a ring. There are appropriate vows for whatever you decide.

Signing of the registers

This takes place in the church either in the middle or at the end of the service. After the signing the photographer will normally want you to pose for some special photographs. The Minister will issue a marriage certificate which will be signed by both of you and two witnesses whom you will appoint. They must be over 18.

Length of the service

We allow about an hour for the service which includes time for the taking of photographs outside afterwards or inside the church if it is raining. Please do not be late as we will not allow a late service to interfere with another booking of the Church Centre and the Minister may have other appointments. If you arrive late then the minister may decide not to proceed or shorten the service accordingly.


This may be thrown by your guests outside the church. Usually the photographer is the one to give permission, so as not to spoil his photographs!!

Orders of service

Some people have their own orders of service printed. This would have the hymns included and it maybe a good 'keepsake' afterwards. The church has facilities to produce an order of service using different coloured or white card, and several designs are available. Samples are available to see, the cost is 65p each. You may also like to include a special item in the service. Please entrust your orders of service to a reliable person - usually female, they often arrive late having been locked in a car boot or forgotten.

What music should I choose?

Most people prefer traditional wedding music as the bride enters and leaves the church - however our organists are accomplished musicians and very happy to vary music according to your wishes. One of our organists will telephone you prior to the wedding to discuss arrangements with you. Permission may be given for you to provide your own organist, however please note that the payment of usual fees to the church for the use of the organ will still be required. Please do choose hymns yourself, perhaps with the advice of the organist, two or three would be normally be suitable. A list is attached with some suggestions but it is only to help and not meant to limit your choice. Hymns and Psalms and Mission Praise are used in both churches, but if your hymn request is not available we are happy to use the church printing facilities to produce a copy of a hymn to enable you to include your choice. There is no charge for this and the church has copyright permission which will cover your wedding.

Music score


Choosing hymns can be difficult. Choose well known hymns your guests will know - here are some possibilities to help you try to decide. 

  • Love divine all loves excelling (Blaenwern) 
  • Lead us heavenly Father lead us (Mannheim) 
  • Praise to the Lord the Almighty, the king of creation (Lobe D.H.) 
  • Praise my soul the king of heaven (Praise my soul) 
  • Now thank we all our God (Nun Danket) 
  • All things bright and beautiful (Monk) 
  • Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy (Slane) 
  • O Jesus I have promised 
  • Father hear the prayer we offer (Sussex) 
  • Dear Lord and Father of mankind (Repton) 
  • Who would true valour see (Monk's Gate) 
  • Amazing grace 
  • Morning has broken 
  • At the name of Jesus (Camberwell) 
  • Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart (Slane) 
  • Blest are the pure in heart 
  • Come down, O love divine 
  • Immortal invisible God only wise 
  • Let all the world in every corner sing (Luckington) 
  • May the mind of Christ my saviour (St. Leonard's) 
  • O for a heart to praise my God 
  • Take my life and let it be (Emma) 
  • The king of love my shepherd is (Dominus regit me) 
  • The Lord's my shepherd

Please make sure that the tune is the one you want!

Traditional entrance music - 

  • Bridal March from Lohengrin- Wagner, 
  • Trumpet Voluntary- Jeremiah Clarke, 
  • Trumpet Tune and Air- Purcell 

During registers - 

  • Sheep may safely graze- Handel, 
  • Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring- Bach, 
  • Morning- Grieg, 
  • Largo- Handel 

Traditional music to leave - 

  • Wedding March- Mendelssohn, 
  • Toccata- Widor.

Hire of premises for wedding parties

Neither St. Mark's or Putnoe Heights are usually available for hire for weddings however we will be pleased to recommend facilities in the Bedford area if you have difficulty finding a suitable venue.


The Ten Commandments !


Here are some important things you MUST not forget

  1. For a Church of England wedding when one partner lives outside the Parish,
    arrange for the banns to be read in their local Church of England Parish
    Church - then show certificate to the Minister performing the service.

  2. For a Methodist wedding give notice with the Registrar at Brickhill Drive -
    then give the certificate to the Minister performing the service.

  3. Decide if you wish to have orders of service printed by the church and inform
    Minister. If you are having your own printed outside the church make sure
    they arrive on time, frequently they do not!

  4. Make sure you have spoken with the organist as soon as possible after
    contacting the Minister, discuss with them your hymns and music. Book now
    so that they do not book their holidays etc. on your wedding date.

  5. Contact Mrs. Hitt or Miss Prior about flowers as soon as possible to tell them
    what you are doing

  6. Tell the Ministers immediately if any circumstances change - such as your

  7. Arrange for the Minister to sign form PD2 for honeymoon passport if going

  8. Ensure video and photographer have contacted Minister for instructions.

  9. Pay your deposit as soon as possible, the wedding is not confirmed in the
    church diary until this is done. You must also pay for service prior to
    wedding - very important!

  10. Keep in touch with us before the wedding we like to hear how things are
    going. Telephone to arrange the rehearsal with Minister to take place the
    week before the wedding.

The Ministers

We hope that this information will be of use to you. If there are any details which
you are not sure about then please contact the Ministers who will be pleased to
discuss your arrangements with you.

St. Mark's Church Centre Office (Open 9.00am - 5.00pm)
Tel/Fax: 01234 342613 visit our website or send e-mail to

Putnoe Heights Church Centre Office (Open Mornings)
Tel/Fax: 01234 365630 visit our website or send e-mail to

(An answering service is available at both churches outside these hours)

You can download this booklet in Adobe Acrobat PDF format

If you would like to know more, then visit

Wedding Carriage at St Mark's