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.

Church of England statistics released in 2012 showed that the number of Blessings happening in church is growing. Couples who don’t marry in church still want to involve the church in their marriage, which is great news! The two liturgies available can offer something really special to couples, whatever the circumstances:-

Blessings
A Service of Prayer & Dedication gives couples the following options:

  • To invite family who could not go to the wedding to a formal service.
  • To invite God’s blessing on the marriage.
  • To have a church service with ‘all the trimmings’ if the civil service was low key.
  • In certain circumstances, to involve the church if the couple have divorce in their background and you felt unable to offer a marriage service.

Legal tip: At your discretion, a blessing can be done in the same venue as the civil marriage on the same day, providing:

  • the registrar has left
  • there is enough time left in the day
  • it is at a completely different time after the marriage and is obviously separate to it.

Thanksgivings
Couples may like to renew their vows, either on a special anniversary or perhaps after a period of difficulty in the marriage. The Thanksgiving for Marriage allows them to do this in church, with the following advantages:-

  • Because it contains the vows, it can be tailored to have a similar look and feel to a wedding. Some couples choose this service after a low key civil wedding instead of a Service of Prayer & Dedication, for that reason.
  • At your discretion, a thanksgiving can be done in a venue other than a church. This may be helpful for some couples who are having an anniversary party in a particular venue.

Remind couples that there is no legal fee associated with either of these services, and they can have them in any church, so long as the church and the vicar are free on their preferred date.