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.

The initial meeting between a couple and the church is really important. The research for the Weddings Project discovered that the first face-to-face meeting is often a source of anxiety, and although clergy know that they are friendly and approachable, couples may not have quite the same understanding or feelings!

The vicar makes the difference
Couples see the vicar as the uniformed representative of the church. A personal response and interaction with the vicar is taken as the response of the church as a whole. So make sure it is the vicar who meets the couple face to face first of all. The research showed that as people come to church, meeting others in the congregation who are in similar circumstances makes it more likely they will keep on returning.

Home or away?
Sitting in a room stacked with books on theology can feel intimidating for some couples, especially if they’ve hardly ever been to church. So if you are meeting at the vicarage, if possible  choose a homely sitting room. However, if you visit them in their home, bear in mind that this might also be a source of anxiety even though it can also be a lot more informal. The couple may spend a long time tidying, cleaning and buying the right refreshments to make a good impression!

First things first
Collecting the essential data can feel like a dry ‘application’ process to the couple. The Welcome Form helps make this a friendlier experience by completing the form alongside the couple at the first meeting. It also offers a neat way to store all the information the church needs. It can either be done online or printed out to be completed on paper.

A special gift
Couples really appreciate information about hymns, readings and ideas for photography and recording. The Wedding Welcome pack provides fact sheets on these things and more. It is designed specifically for the first meeting to give to the couple in person, as a gift. Feedback from colleagues using the packs has been extremely positive. Brides especially are reported to love the pack.