Getting Married in the Itchen Valley Churches
It is of course an incredibly special occasion to be married in one of our very beautiful churches in the way that thousands of people have been married over the centuries.
If you are planning your wedding and would like to discuss getting married in the Itchen Valley, please do contact Beccy our Parish Administrator who will arrange a meeting with our minister to discuss this.
We have four churches in the Itchen Valley of differing sizes and that comfortably seat different amounts of people:
St Mary’s, Easton – 120 people
St John’s, Itchen Abbas – 120 people
St Swithun’s, Martyr Worthy – 120 people
St Mary’s, Avington – 80 people
We can help with a number of aspects of your wedding to make it the really special day that you want it to be – we can provide an organist
If you wish, we can provide an organist, some bell ringers and also (in some of our churches) some flower arrangers. So do ask us about these before you make these arrangements.
What entitles you to get married in the Itchen Valley?
One further important matter needs to be considered as you prepare to contact our Parish Administrator. Beccy will need to establish that you have the necessary ‘qualifying connection’ with the parish of the Itchen Valley. Not everyone is entitled to have their wedding conducted in our churches. It is a legal requirement that one of you fulfils the one of the requirements listed in the following document:
The legal requirement for a ‘qualifying connection’ with a parish is achieved for any person if:
(a) that person was baptised in that parish (unless the baptism took place in a combined rite which included baptism and confirmation) or is a person whose confirmation has been entered in the register book of confirmation for any church or chapel in that parish;
(b) that person has at any time had his or her usual place of residence in that parish for a period of not less than six months;
(c) that person has at any time habitually attended public worship in that parish for a period of not less than six months (but please see below);
(d) a parent of that person has during the lifetime of that person had his or her usual place of residence in that parish for a period of not less than six months;
(e) a parent of that person has during the lifetime of that person habitually attended public worship in that parish for a period of not less than six months (but please see below); or
(f) a parent or grandparent of that person has been married in that parish.
In practice this means that anyone wanting to get married in the churches of the Itchen Valley but who does not have a prior personal or family connection with the Valley or the church, can only get married in our churches by fulfilling Option C—that is, by habitually attending public worship in this parish for a period of not less than six months. For those coming from far afield, this requirement to attend habitually for six months may be very onerous. At the very least, this would commit both of you to joining us for public worship at least once a month over a continuous period of six months. We would not be able to agree to your wedding booking until you have fulfilled this requirement. This generally does not work for couples who need to have a confirmed church for a wedding a long time before that.
Finally, we should point that our strong preference is for weddings in the Itchen Valley Parish to be conducted by local clergy. So it is best, please, not to assume that it will be possible for a clergyman or woman from outside the parish to conduct your wedding in the Itchen Valley, except in exceptional circumstances. This then means that it is unwise for you to book a date for your reception and then hope or expect that the church and/or clergy will be available. It is best instead to check the availability both of the clergy and church before making any firm decisions on a reception venue.
Please do contact Beccy, our Parish Administrator for more information – email@example.com