Banns

The usual method of giving notice of a proposed wedding is for Banns to be called. This means that the minister at the church in the parish or parishes where the parties reside announces their intention to get married on the proposed wedding date on three Sundays prior to the wedding. This gives an opportunity for anyone who might know of a reason why they should not get married to say so. Banns are also called in the church where the wedding is proposed to take place.

The wedding can usually take place only in the church of a parish where one of the parties has a ‘qualifying connection’, as described in the Church of England Marriage Measure 2008. Banns will usually be called in the church where the wedding is to take place, but there are exceptions in the cases of parishes where there is no parish church, or where there is a parish church which does not have a service every Sunday, or the parish church is temporarily closed for repairs. In any such case the parish can be treated as part of any adjoining parish, so that banns may be called in the church of an adjoining parish and the marriage solemnised there.

For information about the services at which Banns may be called, please refer to a note entitled Legal Changes to the Procedure for Publishing Banns of Marriage published in November 2012. The changes referred to in the note came into effect on 19 December 2012, and included two principal points:

  1. There is statutory authority for the use of the form of words for the publication of banns contained in “Common Worship: Pastoral Services”(as an optional alternative to the form of words contained in the Book of Common Prayer)
  2. Banns must be published on three Sundays at the ‘principal service’ (rather than as at present at ‘morning service’) and, as an option, they may additionally be published at any other service on those three Sundays.

These changes were introduced by the Church of England Marriage (Amendment) Measure 2012.

An application for the calling of banns must be made to the minister of each parish where banns are to be called. Banns must be called on three Sundays (not necessarily consecutive Sundays) prior to the wedding and a certificate of publication must be obtained.

A marriage after the calling of banns must be solemnized within three months of the last occasion on which banns were called.

Note that since 2 March 2015, banns may not be published for a marriage where one or both of the intended parties are nationals of a country outside the European Economic Area.