The historic Church of King Charles offers a beautiful setting for your wedding, right in the heart of Royal Tunbridge Wells, and a place of significance to celebrate the occasion in the presence of God.
The spacious interior is lit with chandeliers and is noted for its ornamental 17th-century ceiling, decorated with cherubs and fruit. There is a recently restored organ and a church choir may be requested. The church is right next to the Pantiles, the town’s famous historic street, and within easy walking distance of many local restaurants and reception venues. The railway station and local car parks are all within 10 minutes’ walk.
Can I Get Married at The Parish Church of King Charles the Martyr, Tunbridge Well?
Arranging a wedding can be extremely stressful and you will no doubt have many questions about how to arrange your forthcoming marriage service in Church. The following information is designed to help you understand the legal process and to explain what you can expect when you visit the Vicar who will take your wedding service.
If you wish to get married in Church then the first thing you need to do is contact the Parish Office to discuss your wedding plans – we look forward to speaking to you.
The Parish office will put you in touch with the Vicar for an initial phone call.
What will the Vicar Ask Me?
Before we can set a date for your marriage service the Vicar will need to check some details. This can be done over the phone when you make initial contact. Many of the questions which the Vicar will ask are explained below. Pleased be assured that all our clergy are very friendly and are looking forward to hearing from you. Once you’ve made initial contact the Vicar will invite you to a meeting. This is so you can get to know one another, explore these questions in more depth and discuss the plans for your special day.
The following statements may help answer any concerns you have about getting married in Church ahead of contacting the Vicar.
Can I get married in Church?
In current UK law a couple over the age of 18 (16-18 with parental consent) are eligible to be married in their parish church. If a couple live outside the parish in which they wish to be married then they can be married in a different church by virtue of their qualifying connection. If you do not live in the parish, please see the section below entitle ‘Can I get married at King Charles the Martyr Church if I don’t live in the parish’
When can I get married?
You can be married on any day of the week between the hours of 8am and 6pm. Most weddings take place in the early afternoon. At King Charles the Martyr Church we like to avoid Sundays and Major festivals such as Christmas and Easter. Please note that organising a date for your forthcoming marriage will depend upon certain legal stipulations such as your qualifying connection to the parish, your citizenship and previous marital status. Please contact the Vicar before fixing a date with friends and family.
Can I be married in Church if I’m divorced?
In The Church of England we understand that sometimes marriages breakdown for a variety of reasons. If either of you have been married before, the Vicar will need to have a conversation about the breakdown of any previous marriages. The Vicar will also need to see proof of any former marriages being dissolved. This document is called your Decree Absolute.
Can I get married at King Charles the Martyr Church if I don’t live in the parish?
To be married in a Church of England church, you must have a qualifying connection to the parish itself. A person has a qualifying connection with a parish if:
- that person: was baptised in the parish (this does not apply where the baptism formed part of a combined service of baptism or confirmation); or had his or her confirmation entered in a church register book of a Church or Chapel in the parish;
- or has at any time had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least six months; (please note the Vicar will need to see proof of address such as a utility bill/bank statement or drivers licence).
- or has at any time habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least six months;
- or if a parent of that person has at any time during that person’s lifetime: had his or her usual place of residence in the parish for at least six months;
- or habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least six months;
- or if a parent or grandparent of that person was married in the parish.
- In all cases involving Church services, i.e. coming to, going to, attending normal Church services, baptism, confirmation, or marriage; this applies only to Church of England services.
If you are unsure which applies to your circumstances then please ask the Vicar. In most cases a qualifying connection can be made if a couple attends the church on a regular basis for a period of six months or more prior to the reading of Banns.
What are Banns of Marriage?
Banns are an announcement in 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 are an ancient legal tradition and have been read out every week in churches across the land for millions of couples, over many centuries.
After your forthcoming marriage is announced, the congregation may be invited to pray for you both. It can be quite special and moving to hear this, so do go along if you can. Banns need to be read in the parish where each of you lives as well as the 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 usually done over three consecutive Sundays but does not have to be.
As well as being a legal requirement, your banns readings are special public occasions when people in church hear of your intention to marry. It’s an exciting and happy time, so you’re welcome to invite your family and friends to hear your banns too, if you’d like.
If there is not enough notice given for the banns to be read before the marriage is due to take place, or if one or both of you are British but do not live in England (or Wales), the Common Licence procedure needs to be used rather than banns.
If one or both of you is a national of a country which is outside the European Economic Area, you will require a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate to marry, rather than have banns read.
(This information comes from the C of E website: YourChurchWedding.org)
What happens if I’m not a British Citizen or we are living abroad?
To be married in the UK, regardless of civic or religious status, the Vicar will need to see proof of identity – a passport/driving licence or birth certificate. If you and your partner are both British citizens then the process is straight forward.
If either of the couple does not have British citizenship then the process becomes a little more complex. If either of the couple is a national of a country within the EEA (European Economic Area) then you will need to obtain a Common Marriage License. This process can take some time to organise and will involve both parties to be in the UK. This process also applies to British Citizen who are no longer resident in the UK.
If either of the couple is a citizen of a country outside the EEA then they will need to apply for a Superintendents Registrar’s License. The application process for a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate (SRC) involves the publication of a notice at the civil Register Office of the district where your marrying church is. You’ll need to find out from your Vicar if you need an SRC. If you do, you’ll need to allow enough time ahead of the wedding for the application and approval process so that it can be shown to the Vicar in good time.
How much does a church wedding cost?
Please note that all legal fees are set nationally by the Church of England and increase by a small amount each January. Below is the list of fees for 2020. Other fees such as an organist and flower arrangers are set by the individuals concerned.
Publication of banns of marriage: £31.00
Certificate of banns issued at time of publication: £0.00
Marriage Service in church: £463.00
Organist at King Charles the Martyr: £125.00
Total including organist at King Charles the Martyr: £619.00
If you live outside the parish and therefore require your banns of marriage to be additionally read in the parish in which you live, you will need to pay that parish for the reading of banns and for a certificate. You will not need a certificate from the church in which you are being married. The certificate will cost an additional £14.00. Please note that the minister taking your service will need to see the certificate from the parish in which you live prior to the marriage service.
We very much hope that you will consider holding your wedding at King Charles the Martyr Church in Tunbridge Wells and we are looking forward to meeting and getting to know you both as you enter this very exciting time of your lives.