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Research commissioned by the Archbishops’ Council led to a new strategy – the ‘Weddings Project’. It brought churches across the Church of England a fresh approach to wedding ministry, including a range of resources to help, a new understanding of the opportunities we have and a challenge to do this ministry well.

Its aims were to:

  • Attract more people for a church wedding.
  • Build in the mind of the general public an understanding of the Church of England’s core beliefs about marriage.
  • Care for couples and their families so well, that they continue to come back to church after the wedding.

And in October 2008 a change in the law, initiated by the Church of England, came into force. The Marriage Measure introduced a relaxation of rules around who may marry in a particular church.

Explore the links below to find out more about the research, and why there are key moments for mission along the wedding planning journey.

  • Growing Church Wedding Ministry

    There are new opportunities emerging for mission and ministry around weddings throughout 2021 and into 2022. It is a unique moment for the church – this page explains why and offers simple ways for rebuilding wedding ministry from Autumn 2020 onwards.

  • First contact

    A really key finding of the research was an understanding of how couples really feel when they approach a church for a wedding. With the right response, this crucial moment could be the beginning of a long term connection. Read on to discover the things that worry couples, and what can be done to make their church experience better.

  • The first meeting

    Maintaining personal warmth and friendliness is important even when gathering essential legal information. Read more about resources that make this easier and how contact with the vicar makes a difference in these early planning stages.

  • Space to think

    Couples expect the church to prepare them for their wedding day, but there are some things about a church wedding that make this stage of the planning a great opportunity for thinking more about the bigger questions in life, including faith and belief. Read more about this and why resources don’t feature the term ‘marriage preparation’.

  • Keeping in touch

    There can be a long gap between making the arrangements and the wedding day – sometimes more than two years. Hotels, florists and photographers will be in contact with the couple. How can the church keep in touch too?

  • On the day

    Every couple wants to look back on their wedding day as uniquely special. There are so many ways in which marrying in church helps to make the day outstanding – and it’s so much more than the look of the place.

  • Happy returns

    Weddings are an amazing opportunity to share in a special time in a couple’s life. It can be a key moment in their faith journey as well as their life journey. So keeping in touch afterwards is really important. Simple ways to do that are offered on these pages…

  • Blessings and thanksgivings

    Services for couples who are already married are wonderful occasions to celebrate marriage, whether after many years or after a civil marriage ceremony at home or abroad. This section explains some of the opportunities, looks at the liturgies available, and gives ideas for making the time special.