It used to be the case that you had to live in the local area to get married here. In 2008 a new law was passed called the Church of England Marriage Measure. This recognised that lots of people have a meaningful connection with a church, even though they do not live nearby.
To get married in Kemsing or Woodlands Churches, you could be eligible for one of two reasons:
You live here
If you live in the ecclesiastical parishes of Kemsing or Woodlands, you are entitled to get married in either St Mary's Church Kemsing or St Mary's Church Woodlands. Please note that the ecclesiastical parish is not the same thing as the civil parish. Civil parishes are the lowest level of local government, and relate to things like the Parish Councils and the Electoral Register. The ecclesiastical parish is the geographical area around each Church of England parish church; every location in England falls in one of the parishes of the Church of England.
To find out whether you live in one of our parishes, you can put your postcode into the "A Church Near You" website. You then need to click on the map to indicate where your house is, because sometimes a postcode area can straddle a parish boundary.
You have a "qualifying connection"
The Marriage Measure of 2008 defines 7 possible connections you could have with either of our churches. Any one of those entitles you to get married here. They are:
- You were baptised in the parish
- You were confirmed in the parish, and this was recorded in a church register in the parish.
- You have lived in the parish at any time for at least six months.
- You have habitually attended public worship in the parish at any time for at least six months.
- One of your parents has lived in the parish for at least six months - at any point during your lifetime.
- One of your parents has habitually attended public worship in the parish for at least six months - at any point during your lifetime.
- One of your parents, or one of your grandparents, got married in the parish.
When you make contact with us to explore the possibility of a wedding here, we will help you work out which may apply, and also what documents might be needed to demonstrate this.
Three other conditions
As well as either living here, or having a qualifying connection under the Measure, there are 3 other conditions:
- You must be aged 18 or over.
- You must not be close relatives.
- You must not be married to somebody else.
Where someone has been married before, but has been widowed, they are free to marry.
Where someone has been married before, but the prevoius marriage has been dissolved and the former marriage partner is still alive, this would need to be discussed with the vicar, to explore whether a church wedding would be possible.
If you have any questions about any of this, please contact the vicar.