Overlayed image of St Sabinus - Woolacombe Overlayed image of St. Mary's - Mortehoe Overlayed image of St. Matthew's - Lee

Weddings at Woolacombe, Mortehoe and Lee. 

A couple exchanging rings

We are delighted to welcome people who wish to be married in one of our churches. To find out more, please contact the Vicar, Revd Susan Oldham:

Legal requirements

There are certain things that must happen in a church wedding to ensure the marriage complies with both UK civil and church law.

In marriage you take on a whole new legal status. The vicar knows how to advise and prepare you for your wedding day and everything must comply with all relevant UK and Church of England laws. These are the main legal points to consider before you begin planning:

You must be old enough

The legal age of marriage in England and Wales has been raised to 18 under the The Marriage and Civil Partnership (Minimum Age) Act 2022. This means that 16 and 17 year olds are no longer allowed to marry or enter a civil partnership, even if they have parental consent.

Same-sex marriage legislation

It is not legally possible for same-sex couples to marry in the Church of England.

Marrying away from where you live

It’s possible to get married in a church that’s away from where you live if you have a certain kind of connection with it. You may be legally connected to a number of churches in different ways. Read more about marrying away from where you live.

Until recently, the law established a right for a couple to marry in the Church of England in the parish church where one or both of them lived, whether they were baptised or not, and whether they were churchgoers or not. To marry in any other parish required a special licence or six months of regular attendance followed by entry on the local church electoral roll. But new laws, initiated by the Church of England and approved by Parliament, add to this right of residency, making it just as easy for couples to marry in a church where they have a family or other special connection, even if they don’t live there.

You have the right to be married in a church, if one of you lives within the parish boundary, or if you are a regular worshipper and on our membership list.  In addition, if you or your family fulfil one of the following criteria, then you can be married in your Parish Church.

  • One of you was baptised or prepared for confirmation in the parish.
  • One of you has ever lived in the parish for six months or more.
  • One of you has at any time regularly attended public worship in the parish for six months or more.
  • One of your parents has lived in the parish for six months or more in your lifetime.
  • One of your parents has regularly attended public worship here for six months or more in your lifetime.
  • Your parents or grandparents were married in the parish.

And did you know that if you move house, you’re immediately connected to the church there? That means you can marry in the church of your new parish.

In all cases involving church services – i.e. going to normal church services, baptism, confirmation or marriage – this applies only to Church of England services.

If you cannot demonstrate any of the above connections, you could create one, simply by attending your chosen church’s usual services at least once a month for six consecutive months. If you decide to do this, leave enough time after your attendance for the banns to be read before your wedding too – about another two months should be enough.

Talk to the vicar there well in advance to discuss the options open to you.

If you’re marrying in a special church that’s not where you live, your local church would still love to support you as you prepare for the wedding, and afterwards too. Find out more information about how they would locally support you.


Please use this link to take you to the Church of England fees for Weddings: https://www.churchofengland.org/life-events/your-church-wedding/just-engaged/cost-church-weddings

The fees listed above are the statutory fees payable and do not include charges for heating, the services of a verger, music (e.g. organist, choir), bells and flowers, which are fixed by the Parochial Church Council. In the case of a marriage service in church, any costs and expenses incurred in respect of routine administration (including arranging dates and times and the making of entries in registers), making the church available and lighting it are included in the fee prescribed as payable to the Parochial Church Council.

Documents you’ll need

All couples will need to show the vicar their passport as proof of nationality. If you don’t have a passport, there are other documents which would be acceptable, so ask your vicar about this.

If either or both of you are divorced, you will need to bring your decree absolute for the vicar to see.

You may also be asked to provide evidence of your connection to the church, such as utility bills which show you live or have lived in the parish, or your parents’ marriage certificate if they were married there, for example. Your vicar will guide you on acceptable documents for your particular connection.