Getting married at All Saints Church Wokingham
At All Saints we are delighted to welcome couples wishing to be married in church.
Your first step is to contact us (through the Parish Office) and make an appointment to meet with one of our priests who will be happy to explain the process and make a booking.
Here are some notes about what happens after you have booked, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Important notice: All Saints Church will be closed for refurbishment for up to 9 months starting in 2020. This closure date will not be earlier than 1st May 2020. Please contact us for up to date details. Couples planning a wedding with us during the closure period who would be entitled and would have chosen to be married at All Saints Church will be able to be married in a neighbouring parish church eg St Paul, Wokingham with one of the All Saints clergy conducting the ceremony.
Marriage Exploration Days
Our marriage exploration day course will help you to plan the ceremony on the great day itself and also to think about issues affecting your future married life. You will be invited to a Saturday course usually about six months prior to your wedding day. Topics include getting on together, dealing with conflict, intimacy, choosing your wedding music, the order of the wedding service itself and what getting married means. The course is delivered jointly by All Saints Church Wokingham, St Paul’s Church Wokingham and St Catherine’s Church Bearwood, Winnersh. Up to 10 couples from the three churches take part in each course. This is an informal and friendly course. It has been attended in the last two years by virtually every couple to be married in All Saints and it has received huge amounts of excellent feedback from couples for its usefulness to them.
One of our priests at All Saints will take your wedding. He or she will make contact with you as soon as we know availability; usually in January of the year your wedding is due to take place (or earlier if your wedding date is in the winter or Spring). Please see the notes below about protocol issues if you have any questions about who might take your wedding. The priest taking your wedding will arrange to meet with you as a couple on at least two occasions to make the plans for your particular ceremony; agree the order of service and explain the various options; and will be your first point of contact for everything to do with your order of service. Your priest will also arrange a simple rehearsal of the service usually during the week before the wedding.(See note about rehearsal below).
What if one or both of you have been married before and has been divorced?
All Saints welcomes couples who have made a conscious choice to seek our help about a church wedding even if one or both of you have been divorced. There are different legal considerations in this case and the decision to go ahead with a wedding in church will depend on what seems right to both you and the Rector, The Reverend Canon David Hodgson, or other member of the clergy on his behalf, according to guidelines set by the Church of England bishops. Many couples have been married in All Saints in recent years where one or both have been previously married and divorced.
Your order of service printed
Many couples choose to have the order of service printed, with the words of hymns and perhaps some prayers, for distribution to the congregation at the service. It is helpful if your priest is able to see the draft copy for comment before the final print run. Also, if you are preparing the printed order yourself, All Saints Parish Office can provide hymn and prayer words and advise you on copyright issues.
This takes place in church usually on an evening during the week before the wedding; but, unless it cannot be avoided, preferably not the evening before the big day itself! Your priest will take you through the service: this gives you a feel for the “shape” of the ceremony; reminds you of the words to be spoken; and enables those final decisions to be made about who does what and where in the service. It is very helpful if the following people are able to attend the rehearsal: bride and groom (!); bride’s father or person “giving away” the bride; best man; a representative of the bridesmaids (if any); at least one of the ushers. Others are welcome too though not essential. It is not helpful for the videographer to attend the rehearsal because at this point our focus is on clarifying the process of your ceremony. Please bring at least one copy of your printed order of service to the rehearsal.
The fees are a combination of: statutory fees set by Parliament for wedding services in the Church of England and optional fees depending upon what your service involves. Please see the special fees sheet and complete and return it to the Parish Office as soon as possible. This provides us with information about your choice of options. Fees may increase slightly in a new financial year and you should note that your fees will be those in force on the date of your wedding. Payment of fees should be made before the service takes place. You will be sent a formal statement of the fees owing about a month before your wedding day. Some couples like to pay the fees in instalments between booking and their wedding day. We are happy to receive fees in this way. Please ensure you obtain a signed receipt from a member of the clergy or a church officer to show what you have paid whenever you bring in any fees instalment payments.
Banns or licence: legal requirements prior to marriage
If one of you resides in the parish, or is on the church electoral roll, or has a qualifying connection with the church, you may meet the legal requirements prior to marriage by the calling of banns. Banns are called on three consecutive Sundays within three months of the wedding date in the parish churches of both bride and bridegroom. At All Saints this is done usually on the first three Sundays of the first month of the three month period prior to your wedding. Our Parish Administrator will advise you when this will be so that you may hear them. Banns are called at the main service which begins at 9.30am each Sunday. If, for a variety of reasons, usually no previous or existing connection with the church, you do not meet the legal requirements for banns you will need to apply for a licence to be married in All Saints Church. A member of our clergy will explain to you how to apply for a licence and what conditions will need to be met. Special fees apply for licences.
Our Director of Music is Richard Smith. He will be pleased to discuss the choice of music for your wedding; both organ and choral pieces. Your priest will advise you on the choice of hymns. If you would like recorded music to be played we have the facility to deal with compact discs; but please discuss your choice of this music with your priest first. At your marriage exploration day course you will receive advice on music and hymns. Please note that we do not encourage guest organists and special permission must be sought from our Director of Music. However, we welcome other guest musicians or singers you would like to take part in your service.
All Saints Flower Guild provides the main flower arrangements for all weddings which take place here if you choose to have any flowers. Please see your fees sheet for current information and contact name.
The timeless sound of English church bells can provide the perfect backdrop for your wedding, announcing for all to hear that you are now husband and wife, as you celebrate with your family and friends after the service. All Saints has a fine ring of eight bells, and ringing is available as an optional part of your wedding. The bells normally ring after your wedding, as you emerge from the church and mix with your guests while taking photographs, but our bellringers offer some extra options as well, including a special performance dedicated to you. See the wedding bells leaflet.
The church seats approximately 300 people.
Photography and videos
Photography and videoing of the service is allowed only by the official photographers/video camera operators designated by you. This note is printed on a welcome card given to guests when they arrive for the service.
An additional fee is charged if your wedding is video-recorded, to cover the higher payment made to musicians when work is recorded; please see your fees sheet for details.
Please ask your photographer and videographer to familiarise themselves with the church layout well before the service begins; preferably on another day.
If your guests intend to use confetti after the service they are asked to throw it at the exit of the churchyard away from the church itself. This request is printed on a welcome card given to guests when they arrive for the service.
The wedding cars carrying the bride’s mother, bridesmaids, bride and bride’s father may pull up outside the West (Main) entrance of the church on Wiltshire Road temporarily to drop their passengers; but must then park elsewhere. The official wedding car may park on the apron of The Cornerstone during the service but no other cars may be parked there except for disabled users. Other members of the bride and bridegroom’s families should use the official All Saints church car park which is inside the walled entrance on the side of Norreys Avenue opposite the churchyard behind the Piggott Court flats. Guests are advised to park in the Easthampstead Road car park from where there is access to the church by footpath crossing London Road or Peach Street and Wiltshire Road. Parking on Norreys Avenue is limited to the churchyard side only and may be fully occupied by local shoppers on Saturdays. Wedding guests must not park in the residents only spaces on Norreys Avenue on the side opposite the churchyard.
Ramp facilities exist to allow wheelchair users to enter by the same door as other guests. The South Door which has no steps also may be used. There is a disabled toilet facility in The Cornerstone accessible from the outside wall facing the church. The church is fitted with an audio induction loop for hearing aid users. There are specifically reserved parking spaces for the disabled on the apron in front of The Cornerstone and there are spaces for wheelchairs alongside the front pews in the church.
The toilet for use by visitors to the church is in The Cornerstone building but is accessible from a direct outside door on the wall facing the church which is always available during church services because there is no toilet in the church building itself. The interior of The Cornerstone itself need not be accessed to use this toilet. This is also a disabled persons’ toilet and has a baby-changing facility.
Keeping in touch
Here are some ways of keeping in touch with All Saints Church both before and after the contact we will have arranging your wedding:
You are welcome to any of our regular services and this is the best way to keep in touch with the worshipping community of All Saints. The principal service every Sunday is Parish Communion at 9.30am. There are short child-friendly family services at 11am every Sunday. For lovers of choral music there are services of Choral Evensong at 6.30pm on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of the month. Prayer for healing and wholeness is available at some of our morning and evening services.
Like our page on Facebook: All Saints Church Wokingham
Follow us on Twitter: @allsaintschurch
A regular subscription to our Parish Magazine is also a good way to keep in touch with All Saints Church. You can request a subscription here. You can either have it delivered or collect your named copy from the back of the church. It is published at the beginning of each month except January and August and the annual subscription is £9. If you leave the area, with the addition of £1-90 postage, it can be posted on to your new address.
If you have any general enquiries prior to your wedding please contact our Parish Administrator, Jo Asplin, at the Parish Office in The Cornerstone
One of of the All Saints clergy is available by appointment in the Parish Office.
Once you know which priest is taking your wedding please keep in touch with him or her on any matters concerning your ceremony.
Having a church wedding is more than simply booking a venue; it is sharing the celebration with your local church community. We ask that you observe the following protocol.
1. If you wish to specify which of our priests you would like to take your wedding service, please first advise The Reverend Canon David Hodgson, Rector, of your request.
2. All Saints may be served by both male and female clergy , who are all authorised to take marriage services.
3. Please seek the permission of The Reverend Canon David Hodgson, Rector, if you wish to invite a minister from outside the parish to take the service in full, or to take part in the service; or if you wish any person other than one of All Saints’ ministers to preach the sermon or address in the wedding service. Please supply the full name and contact details of you guest minister/preacher to the Rector when requesting permission. Please note that a Church of England priest must conduct the marriage itself; though ministers of other churches are very welcome to take a part in the service.
4. Please agree all elements and aspects of the ceremony with the priest taking your service; or if a guest priest is doing so, please ensure all elements and aspects of the service are approved also by the Rector or by the All Saints priest designated as your link contact on behalf of the Rector.
5. Please inform the Parish Office immediately of any changes in your circumstances prior to the wedding which will affect our ability to contact you or the information you have given us for registering the marriage or if you wish to make changes to the agreed time or date of the wedding.
6. The wedding will be considered firmly booked only when you have both signed the marriage application form which details the agreed date and time. No advance fee deposit is required.
7. Please inform the Parish Office immediately if the wedding is to be postponed or cancelled and confirm this in writing.