Wedding Banns

a) To publish your intention to marry, Banns must be called in the Parish Church of the parishes in which both the bride and groom reside. In the Church of England, Banns must be published three times before the wedding. This is a legal requirement. They are read out on three consecutive Sundays during the three months prior to your wedding date. If you reside outside the Parish of St. Mary’s and are on the electoral roll of this parish because you attend services here regularly, it is still necessary to have your Banns read at your local Parish Church as well as at St. Mary’s.

b) It is your responsibility to arrange for the calling of Banns and it is advisable to contact your parish church at least four months before your wedding in order for them to be called.

c) Banns are called on three consecutive Sundays within three months of your wedding. They do not need to be called on the same Sundays in both/all churches. It is desirable that you should come to church to hear the Banns read on at least one Sunday.

d) Many couples and their families choose to attend the publication of their Banns of marriage and we look forward to welcoming you for this. At St. Mary’s, they are usually read at the end of the 10am Service. The publishing of Banns usually takes the form: “I publish the Banns of marriage between John Smith, of the parish of St Martin’s, Low Marple, and on the electoral roll of this parish, and Jane Brown, of this parish. This is for the first time of asking. If any of you know any reason in law why these persons may not marry each other you are to declare it.”

e) The Banns Certificate: where Banns have been called in another parish, the certificate should be sent to the Church Administrator at least 14 days before the date of your wedding.

f)  There are two recent changes in the law concerning marriage being introduced from summer 2021.

The first set of changes, which took effect from 4th May 2021, are in the way marriages are registered. So, if you have had banns read beforehand, at your wedding we will no longer have the “Signing of the Register” but instead it will be the “Signing of the Marriage Document”. The marriage document differs from the old register in naming mothers and fathers equally. We need to know the same information for your mothers as you have already provided for fathers, i.e. full names, whether living or deceased, and occupation. You also have the option not to name either or both parents if you prefer. There is also an option to name stepparents as well if you wish.

g)  For those couples who are not having banns read, but instead have applied through the local Register Office, they will be issued with a “Marriage Schedule” by the Register Office. The schedule will contain the same information as the marriage document and the other changes affect marriage documents and schedules equally.

h)  Another part of this change is that we will no longer issue your marriage certificate in church. Instead, we will deliver the marriage document to the Civil Register office for the London Borough of Richmond after the service, and they will create a digitised record and the marriage certificate. It will be our responsibility to deliver the document to the register office, and then your responsibility to request the certificate from them:

Richmond Register Office York House,
Richmond Road, Twickenham
Tel: 0208 891 7000
[email protected]


i) The church will provide you with a keepsake certificate on your wedding day to confirm your marriage, and this may be of practical help before your certificate is issued, but it will not represent formal legal proof of your marriage. The second set of changes, taking effect from 1st July 2021 are about the way in which you first apply to get married in church. These are changing because of the end of freedom of movement rights for EU citizens following Brexit. In future, only British and Irish citizens will have the automatic right to marry by banns, proving their citizenship using their passport or similar identity document. EU citizens who have ‘settled’ or ‘presettled’ status will be able to marry by banns but as well as showing their passport they will also have to provide the church with a code which enable us to check their status on the government website.

You can download our Banns Request Form here