How much do church weddings cost? – Yes, church weddings cost money. It used to be (many years ago) that you could get married in your local church for free. Nowadays, however, you have to pay.
Anglican (Church in Wales / Church of England)
What you pay should be pretty standard as the Church in Wales and the Church of England have set fees. What you will find however is that some churches choose to ignore those guidelines and set their own fees. Therefore it pays to ask up front what it would cost for the church wedding. Researching this post on the cost of church weddings I’ve found costs from £100 to over £1000 depending on what you want.
The figure for marrying in 2018 breaks down as follows for couples marrying in their own parish:-
- the fee set by law payable to the church: £441
- your marriage certificate: £4
- having your banns read at the home church: £29
Total for marrying in your home parish (providing you both live there) in 2018: £474
If a couple marry in 2018 away from where they live the cost breaks down like this:-
- the fee set by law payable to the marrying church: £441
- your marriage certificate: £4
- having your banns read in the marrying church £29
- having your banns read at your home church: £29
- the banns certificate from your home church: £14
Total for marrying outside your parish in 2018: £517
In 2018**, it costs £517 if you marry away from where you live and £474 if you marry in your home parish. This is set by the Church of England nationally and is the same for every church.
What does the money go on?
Weddings take hours and hours of prep time as well as the service itself.
There is the checking of the legalities of a couple getting married, meeting the couple (often many times), helping and approving and proof reading order of service, checking the organist is available, checking the verger is available, helping out with all the people like florists who will need access to church, speaking to photographers, a rehearsal, reading the banns, writing the banns book, writing the banns certificate, writing the registers (that takes 45mins), being there to welcome people well before the bride gets there etc.
Paraphrased from Rachel, a Vicar in the North East of England.
How much do church weddings cost – The Extras!
Extra costs include thing like paying for a videographer. Well, not exactly the videographer but the license for the videographer to video the church service. You may find that some churches just include this costs anyway, even if you don’t have a videographer whilst others have it as a separate item. More info on this link – Weddings & Video.
*** You do not need a license or contract or to pay any extra money to take still photographs. (The vicar may not allow you or your guests or your professional photographer to take any photographs, but that is another story.)
Other things include Organist (expect to pay £30-£50), Bell Ringing (expect to pay around £100), Verger (expect to pay £20-£30) and extra heating (expect to pay £50-£70)
Voluntary costs – general church running costs; you can expect to pay £300 although this is totally voluntary. Churches take a lot of money to keep in good order; usually, more than the general congregation gives in each Sunday service so every chance for the church to get a little bit extra.
So, generally for the bells and whistles, you can expect to pay around £700 for a Church of Wales / Church of England Wedding.
More information on the cost of church weddings in the Church of England can be found here. Church in Wales tends to follow the same guidelines.
Updated costs for 2018 – click here
The Roman Catholic (RC) churches don’t charge you. Getting married in an RC Church is a sacrament and the RC don’t feel that people should pay for the sacrament. They do ask for a donation to the running costs of the church though, usually around £150.
As one RC church website puts it “There is, however a long-standing custom of free will offerings made by the faithful on the occasion of certain sacraments. These offerings reflect both gratitude to God and appreciation of the ministry of priests”.
The Collection Plate
Whatever the cost of your wedding to the Church itself, the church you are getting married in still needs to be kept clean, tidy, updated etc. It’s no small cost, especially to the smaller and much quainter village churches. What the vicar will do is leave a plate at the back for anyone who wishes to donate to the upkeep of the church. It is optional, but I’d suggest it’s nice for your guests to give whatever you can. (The church in the picture at the top costs approximately £9k a year to keep open and run.)