Weddings - Frequently asked questions

Do I need to be a member of the Church to be married in church?

NO. You do not need to be a member of the Church to be married in the Church of Scotland, although of course we would be delighted to welcome you into our fellowship.  In protestant Christian denominations marriage is not a sacrament, nor are you asked to make a promise directly to God.  You are asked to make important promises to each other before God therefore these are binding in His sight and should not be entered into lightly.  

Can I re-marry in church if I am divorced?

Being divorced is not in itself a barrier to remarriage in the Church of Scotland.  Church of Scotland ministers may, but are not obliged to, solemnise a marriage where one of the parties is divorced and the former spouse is still alive. Before agreeing to officiate in these circumstances the minister will want to talk to you in more detail.

For whom will the minister of Perth North Church conduct a marriage ceremony?

Normally, the minister is delighted to conduct marriage services for couples with a family connection with our church or who live within our parish of Tulloch, Hillyland and Fairfield.  He is willing to discuss the possibility of other couples, however, as ours is a lively, busy church this may not always be possible or appropriate.  To enable on-going pastoral care it is best to be married in a local parish church. 

Can I be married by the minister outwith the church building?

It is the minister's preference to conduct marriages in the church.  This said, he is willing to discuss with you marriage at another location providing this is a dignified and appropriate environment (no bungee jumping!).  Decisions will be made on an individual basis.

Can I invite another minister to conduct the service?

All worship, including your wedding service, is the responsibility of the minister of perth North Church.   If you have a friend who is an ordained Christian minister and you wish them to be part of the service, speak to our minister who will normally be happy to involve him/her in some way.  In all situations the primary responsibility for the service will remain with the minister of Perth North Church and in the majority of circumstances he will conduct the marriage ceremony itself.

Can I invite a friend to be part of the service?

Yes. You will be fully involved in the planning process, during which individual items which will make the day special to you can be aired (for example, on occasions couples ask for a friend to read a poem or sing an appropriate song).   In normal circumstances the minister will be delighted to have friends or family involved in your service, the details of which will be agreed during discussion.  

What costs do I have to consider?

There is no charge for the minister's services, although if you are to be married in a location other than the church you should discuss travel expenses with him. 

There are, however, costs which need to be met, for example to pay the organist and church officer.  These are set annually by the Kirk Session and details can be obtained from the church secretary.   There is currently no fixed charge for use of the church, however, an appropriate donation is requested in the context of your overall wedding expenditure.  For your information it normally costs in excess of £100 to open and heat the church for just one wedding.  There may also be extra costs in terms of copyright and performing rights should you choose to record your wedding.  All fees and church donation should be paid at the church office no later than 21 days prior to your wedding date. Please note that (at March 2011) wedding fees are being reviewed and further details will be posted here when available.

What about photography and video?

You will obviously want many photographs to remember your happy day and we will do our best to assist you in this.  The ceremony itself is first and foremost a Christian service of worship and its dignity must be respected and protected.  Flash photography during the service is therefore not  permitted.  When you sign the marriage schedule (or 'register') at the end of the service flash photography is permitted.

Video operation that detracts from or gets in the way of the service is also not permitted, however, there are ways around this.  If you would like a video of your ceremony speak to the minister and he will advise of the best way to do this.  You should note that, under Musicians Union guidelines, if a video recording is made the organist is entitled to request a higher fee.

Christian marriage

The first question you, as a couple, ought to ask yourselves is whether you want a Christian marriage or simply a place in which to be married.  Church is more than a beautiful setting for a ceremony, it is a symbol of the deep and wonderful meaning of Christian marriage.  It is vital for couples planning to be married in the church to understand that Christian marriage implies a belief that God, through Jesus Christ, will play an important role in their new relationship and throughout their life together.  The wedding service is the beginning of that remarkable journey.

Christian marriage is a loving relationship between one man and one woman that was created from the beginning as described in the Bible, Genesis chapter 2 verses 18-24

“And the LORD said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a companion who will help him ... For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined (cleaved) to his wife and the two are united into one …"

Genesis 2:24 is repeated in the New Testament in Mark 10:6-9 and Ephesians 5:31-32. In the latter case, Paul is comparing the marriage of husband and wife to the relationship of Christ and His church – a great mystery – one that while on earth we won't really fully understand.  When something is repeated three times in Scripture it seems clear that God means for us to take notice of it.  Marriage was God's idea from the very beginning and was reinforced in the time of Jesus. Marriage, therefore, is a solemn act and a sacred relationship not to be entered into lightly.

Christian marriage is more than a civil ceremony or a legal process, although any marriage carries with it both civil and legal responsibilities.  At Perth North Church we believe that Jesus Christ must be made central in any marriage for it to succeed. 

Marriage is a covenant and not a contract which means there are no hidden terms, no loop-holes. In God's design, the marriage covenant is a life long covenant broken only by death.  In the fallen world in which we live, worldly pressures have attempted to dilute this covenant aspect of marriage, but we pray that to you and your partner this will be an enduring and purifying cornerstone of your relationship with one another.

Please consider all of the above when planning your future life together.  If you wish to speak more on Christian marriage contact the minister as outlined below.

Our help to you

Once your wedding is agreed we will be delighted to:

  • help you choose the right date and time for your wedding
  • meet with you to discuss Christian Marriage and guide you through the legal requirements pertaining in Scotland
  • hold an initial planning meeting
  • meet with you again (or as many times as required) to plan every detail of your wedding
  • provide you with advice and suggestions in respect of hymns, readings, poems and the like
  • give you advice on music, photography and filming within the church
  • arrange for an organist to play at your wedding
  • provide you with contact details and advice for your florist
  • conduct an informal rehearsal (normally the evening before your wedding)
  • provide you as a couple with marriage counselling
  • provide on-going pastoral support as you start your new life together

The Law and the Church

The current legal requirements for marriage in Scotland are set out in the Marriage (Scotland) Act of 1977. The Act provides for two different types of marriage -

  (i) a religious ceremony, Christian or non-Christian, solemnised by a celebrant authorised in terms of the Act; and
  (ii) a civil ceremony solemnised by a Registrar authorised by the Registrar General of Scotland.

In that same year the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland passed an act stating that, "Marriage in the Church of Scotland is solemnised by an ordained minister in a religious ceremony wherein, before God, and in the presence of the minister and at least two competent witnesses, the parties covenant together to take each other as husband and wife as long as they both shall live, and the minister declares the parties to be husband and wife."

Both parties must be at least sixteen years of age on the day of the marriage. The official witnesses to the marriage must also be at least sixteen years of age.

Each party to an intended marriage must obtain a "Marriage Notice Form" from a Registrar's Office, and must send it, submit it in person, or see that it is given in, when filled in, to the Registrar for the District within which the marriage is to take place, along with the required fee and all necessary documentation as appropriate (e.g. Birth Certificate, Decree of Divorce, Death Certificate of former spouse, Certificate of no impediment for those domiciled outside the U.K.).

Normally the marriage notice should be in the hands of the Registrar about  six weeks before the date of the intended marriage, earlier if either party has had a previous marriage. In the event that one of you resides outside Scotland you should speak to the registrar and the minister at an early stage.  The Registrar will prepare the Marriage Schedule which must be collected from the Registrar by one of the parties in person a day or so prior to the marriage.

The Marriage Schedule must be handed to the minister on or before the day of the marriage. Without this Schedule a minister may not officiate at a marriage. A minister who does is liable to prosecution. After the marriage has taken place the Schedule, which will have been signed by the minister, the two parties, and the two witnesses, must be returned to the Registrar within three working days.

The wedding ceremony

For your guidance, here is a typical order of service for weddings at Perth North Church.

  • Entrance of the Bride and party
  • Welcome by minister
  • First Hymn
  • Prayer
  • A word about Christian marriage
  • Readings
  • Exchange of vows
  • Exchange of rings
  • Proclamation of marriage
  • Aaronic blessing (said)
  • Prayer
  • Final Hymn
  • Benediction
  • Signing of marriage schedule
  • Presentation of husband and wife (recessional) 

Planning your wedding

This page is for those planning a wedding.  If that is you, we rejoice with you in your love for each other and your decision to marry.  If you wish to be married in Perth North Church we'd be happy to speak to you.  Below you will find all the information you need plus answers to frequently asked questions.   

Here you will find information which we hope will help guide you through the things you need to know - about the 'churchy' part of your planning anyway!.  Scroll down to read all sections.  Please remember that weddings are not necessarily lavish affairs and your wedding in church can be just as special  while small and simple in nature.   Really, what we are saying is that church weddings don't have to be part of an overall package that costs lots of money, we will help you make your day special no-matter what else you have planned.

Our Contact Details

We are a congregation of the Church of Scotland, if you'd like to know more please get in touch with us.

Address: Perth North Church, Mill Street / 209 High Street, Perth, Scotland, PH1 5PB
Telephone: 01738 622298
Email: info@perthnorthchurch.org.uk

Opening Hours: Monday - Friday 10.00am - 12.00 noon

Scottish Charity No. SC013014

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