Weddings

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I marry in the church?   
As far as is legally possible we want to welcome you to celebrate your wedding in church. You need to be: of different sex (Church of Scotland ministers are not permitted to officiate at same sex ceremonies); at least 16 years old; not too closely related; be unmarried; be able to understand the marriage ceremony and give the appropriate consents.
The legal procedures are in the hands of the Registrar, Lothian Chambers, 59-63 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1RN). You must lodge marriage notice forms and the associated documents, and pay the statutory fee, to the local registrar. You must post (not email) the completed forms to arrive normally 10-12 weeks before the date of the proposed marriage and certainly no later than 29 days before.
It cannot be stressed too highly that the wedding in the church cannot take place if the necessary papers, issued by the Registrar, are not brought to church on the day of the wedding and be available for signing during the service.
Please visit the National Records of Scotland website for up-to-date information on how to arrange the necessary papers:https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk

Do I have to be resident in Scotland to get married in the church?
No, but contact the Registrar to find out any special requirements.

I have been married before, can I get remarried in the church?
Yes

What is the cost of a church wedding?
Ask for up-to-date information from Helen Maguire, the Church Manager.

Who plans the wedding service?
The Minister, bride and groom. There is no set format. A leaflet explaining the ‘normal’ format is downloadable here but the minister will always work with the couple to create a format that is personal and appropriate.

How can I meet the minister?
Contact the Reverend John Cowie through the church office, at church on a Sunday, or directly on 0131 5576052 or by email at jcowie@churchofscotland.org.uk

What Hymns & Music are suitable?
There are too many choices of hymn to list here – you are welcome to borrow a hymnbook and explore that – or listen on a Sunday and perhaps you will find one you like that way. Talk to the minister for ideas if you get stuck. • Possibilities for other music is also hugely varied, pipe organ, piano, or music played or sung by family or friends. We have an excellent organist (who is also a first-class pianist) and you can contact her to talk about musical choices.

What Bible readings are suitable?
A wide range of bible readings are suitable for a wedding service. You can discuss readings with the minister to find out which one (or two) you would like to share with your family and friends. The minister will usually speak about the readings during the service, focussing on how they are appropriate for you and your marriage. Here below are a few of the wide range of possibilities.
1 Corinthians Chapter 13 - The most popular reading for weddings about love not being grand gestures but simple kindness, forgiveness and patience with one another.
Genesis, Chapter 1, verses 26-28 - God creates women and men to look after the earth.
Song of Solomon, Chapter 2, verses 10-13; Chapter 8, verses 6&7 – part of a biblical love poem
Matthew, Chapter 5, verses 1-10 - Jesus teaching on the live which brings true happiness
Mark, Chapter 10, verses 6-9 and 13-16 - Jesus teaching about marriage, and how he welcomed children
John, Chapter 2, verses 1 – 11 – the first party Jesus attended in John’s Gospel – a wedding reception story
Ephesians Chapter 5, verses 21-33 – Paul writing about commitment
Philippians Chapter 4, verses 4 – 9 – Paul again, this time the encouragement celebrate life and find God’s peace
Colossians Chapter 3, verses 12 – 17 – developing good living habits and living thankfully
1 John Chapter 4 verses 7 – 12 – learning from God’s love.

Are non-Biblical readingsallowed?
Yes, other readings are allowed, poems - from famous authors or family, or something you have written yourself , letters from
family, or prose from a favourite book that sums up your feelings for your wedding day. You can discuss this with the minister.

Is photography allowed at the wedding?
Yes photography is allowed. We just ask that the photographer be discreet and not to move around too much. The congregation will be distracted if the photographer moves around during readings, vows or when the minister is speaking. There will be times during the service, at the signing, during a musical item, or walking out at the end when it will be possible to hold up proceedings for a set piece photo. And at the end there are many possibilities for family photos on the steps or back at the front of the church.

Can we film or record our wedding service?
Yes the service can be recorded on video or for sound. NB: an extra ‘performing’ fee will be added for the organist if the service is recorded.

Who organises the flowers in the church?
The wedding couple or the wedding organiser (which can be a paid professional, a friend or parents of the couple). A professional florist can be engaged of you can do them yourselves – just make sure to arrange access to the church on the day or the day before with the church manager and church officer.

I am not a churchgoer - can I ask for a church wedding?
Yes you can. Marriage is not a ‘sacrament’ in the Church of Scotland and we gladly welcome couples who want to ask God’s blessing as they begin their marriage.

I am not a Christian - can I ask for a church wedding?
Yes you can. Marriage is not a ‘sacrament’ in the Church of Scotland and we gladly welcome couples who want to ask God’s blessing as they begin their marriage. However you should understand that you will be taking part in a Christian service led by the minister. If you have any further questions please get in touch with the minister.

Can we stream wedding service to family abroad?
We haven’t tried this yet but in principle you could arrange for this – we have WiFi in the church. NB: an extra ‘performing’ fee will be added for the organist if the service is streamed.

Who is involved in the wedding service?
A few or many. A wedding service only requires five people – the couple, two witnesses and the minister. However we normally have an organist and church officer on duty. As to the wedding party, it can be whatever you want – best man or best men, bridesmaid or bridesmaids, page boys, ushers, extra musicians, readers, flower arrangers, drivers, photographer, video crew, wedding planner, bagpiper etc.. We would recommend you do not involve absolutely everyone in your family – leave a few to be part of the congregation – because it becomes an organisational headache. But family and friends often want to be involved so we leave that up to you.

I am not baptised - can I ask for a church wedding?
Yes you can. Marriage is not a ‘sacrament’ in the Church of Scotland and we gladly welcome couples who want to ask God’s blessing as they begin their marriage.

What wedding vows are used?
The vows most commonly used are in the leaflet about the service which you can download here – but others are possible. Choosing suitable vows will be part of your planning with the minister.

Can we use the church hall for our reception?
You can hire our kitchen and halls. Our hall can be decorated for use – up to 80 for a standing buffet reception or 60 sitting round tables. The smaller hall is carpeted and suitable for small children to play in or for nursing mothers to find some peace. We don’t offer a catering service or staff for this but you can hire a caterer, but we ask that everything is set up and cleared away on the day of the wedding. Extra costs may be involved. Please ask the Church Manager if you want to explore this option.

Children are welcome!
Children are always welcome in our services – including wedding services. However do remember that very young children may demand attention and distract people (or drown out the bride and groom). The minister is going deaf and he won’t’ be bothered by the noise.

I am not British - can I ask for a church wedding?
Yes, but for the legal requirements to be fulfilled you and your partner will need to enquire at the Registry Office. The Registrar will explain the extra requirements for non-residents and for people with non-UK papers.

Who walks the bride down the isle?
The person the bride chooses. Traditionally it has been the task of the bride’s father, but it has been mother, brother, another relative or friend. The bride can also choose to walk alone (or accompanied by matron of honour, bridesmaids etc.)

If you have any other questions please email minister@stockbridgechurch.org.uk