Where does it say in law… canon law… or civil…

You’re welcome to marry in the Church of England whatever your beliefs, whether or not you are christened and regardless of whether you go to church or not. It’s your church, and we welcome you!

As at www.’your church wedding.org

Now I have absolutely no problem with this  – except I can’t find where it says it in law – whether that be Canon Law or civil.

A friend and I are at opposite ends of the country, doing different course, but both with essays on marriage to complete this week. We’re both looking for the same bit of info!

The closest I’ve found is Canon B30.3 which states:

It shall be the duty of the minister, when application is made to him
for matrimony to be solemnized in the church of which he is the minister,
to explain to the two persons who desire to be married the Church’s
doctrine of marriage as herein set forth, and the need of God’s grace in
order that they may discharge aright their obligations as married persons.
So, there are things a priest has to say to the couple, and there’s a load of stuff about what rules there are regarding pre-existing relationships and age etc. but where is the


  1. This is where being the established church comes in … I don’t have a copy of teh whole statute, but I think you will find that this right is in the marriage Act 1949. So it’s part of the law of the land, rather than the law of the church.

    However, the right is only to be married in the parish church of the parish where at least one of the parties lives – or now, where at least one has a qualifying connection. It also only applies to those not previously married (and it makes no difference where the previous marriage took place)
    It is a right based on residence, not faith .

    Not sure where QCs come into the state law – the local registrar didn’t seem to know about this when I told her at about the time QC came in!


  2. Thanks Rosalind, I looked at the Marriage Act but it still doesn’t say!

    But I’ve also had the following from a Facebook conversation from a friend also doing an essay on marriage this week – totally separately I may add (for an MA in Durham)

    ‘The incumbent’s obligation to officiate at weddings predates any statute and is derived from pre-Reformation canon law.’ (i.e. even before Lord Hardwicke’s Act!) Quote from ‘marriage in church after divorce’, London: CHP, 2000 p25.

    So there we go! Live and learn!


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