We are sorry, but for the duration of the Pandemic lockdown, all churches are closed to the public, and therefore, although we can help you plan your wedding, at the monent we cannot confirm any dates.

We are closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and its impact upon our church life and activities. In particular, we are following all advice given by the Church of England daily.


Once the Lockdown has been eased:


Now we're congratulated you, let's get down to practicalities.


Preparing for a wedding is not simple – but you probably don’t need us to tell you that!

There are many questions to be asked and decisions to be made.  You will probably have moments when you wonder whether you are ready for this commitment and whether you are making the right move.  It is important and healthy to ask these questions, and inevitable that you will experience doubt and anxiety. We are always happy to listen if you need someone to talk to in confidence. Feel free to contact us.

But often it is the multitude of small worries which crowd your mind as the big day looms closer – whether the bridesmaids’ dresses will match the flowers, who will stand where… We hope that this page will help to answer these practical questions as you work your way through the process of planning your wedding


First things first…

Can I be married at your Church?

To be married at one of our Churches, one of you must live within the parish boundaries or be a regular worshipper here, or have a qualifying connection with the parish. these include: that you used to live here, your parents still live here or you were baptised here. If you meet these criteria we would be delighted to marry you after calling your banns (see below).

There  is no legal definition of 'regular worshipper', but here in Ashbourne we want you to feel relaxed and part of the church family. basically, come as often as you are able, and become a part of our church! If there is no existing qualifying connection to the parish, but you still want to marry here, then the simplest solution is to come to Holy Communion and become one of the congregation!

If either you or your partner is a foreign national, then a special licence needs to be obtained. Please speak with us at the earliest opportunity so we might advise on this.


If you move house out of the parish between booking your wedding and the actual date you may disqualify yourself from being married in the right Church. If you are considering such a move please contact the Vicar at the earliest opportunity.


What if I have been married before? What about Same-Sex Marriage?

The issue of re-marriage is a complex and delicate one, affecting not only you but also the wider community, especially the members of your first family.  If either you or your partner are divorced and your former spouse is still living we will, therefore, take extra care to help you consider the impact of a new marriage and the best way of celebrating this new beginning.

Sometimes we do marry those who have been divorced, and a member of the Clergy will be happy to discuss the possibility with you: please contact them directly to arrange a meeting. It may also be possible to offer a Service of Dedication and Blessing following a Civil Marriage or Civil Partnership. We are an open, inclusive and accepting Church and welcome everyone, just as Jesus accepted everyone.

Although it is legal for same-sex couples to be married in the UK, the Church of England currently does not allow for the legal ceremony to be celebrated in Church, although we in this parish pray that we might be able to do so as soon as possible. However, we are able to offer a service of prayer and dedication to any couple married in a Civil Ceremony, including same-sex couples (as well as different-sex couples). Please speak with Duncan about the possibility of this.


How do I book a wedding?

One or both of you needs to first contact either the office on (01335 343 825) or Duncan on (01335 343825) and arrange to come and see him. Please note that this isn’t to reserve a date which will be discussed when we meet.  There may be other weddings also on the day, but we always ensure there is plenty of time between them (at least 2 hours). You'll be asked to fill in a form, and at that stage we can confirm the date. You'll also be given various booklets and information on aspects of the wedding service, including costs (we don't take deposits, but we can arrange for fees to be paid over a number of months if that helps spread the cost).



Calling the banns is a legal requirement if you are to be married in the Church of England. We read out your names on three Sundays and announce that you are planning to get married. This gives people in the local community a chance to object if they know of a reason why you cannot legally marry (If you marry in a registry office, your names would be displayed for three weeks before the wedding for the same reason).

If you are wanting to get married in another church and have been told that you need your banns calling with us (because you live here) then please complete this form. After the banns have been read, the Church Office will give you a (paper) certificate or letter to give to the priest marrying you in exchange for the banns fee (in 2017 £42). We do not charge for ‘home’ banns so if you live in this parish there will be no charge.

We will read your banns on the first three Sundays of the month before the wedding - we will tell you the dates of the banns. You do not have to be present in church to hear them, although a lot of couples like to be there, especially as everyone in Church pauses and prays for you, your wedding preparations and your future married life together.

If one of you lives in another parish, you must have your banns read there as well. Banns must be read at some point during the three months before the wedding. Please contact the other church in good time so that they can arrange this. When the banns have been called in the other church, they will give you a certificate (which I'm afraid you must pay for, the rate for which changes each year) which you must bring to us.

This is your responsibility. We cannot marry you if we have not seen this certificate and it is something that is often overlooked and causes panic at the last minute, which spoils the preparation for the 'big day.

Let's just say that again - without your banns being read, we cannot marry you.


What if my partner isn’t Church of England?

If your partner is, for example, a Roman Catholic or a Methodist, or of another faith, their banns must still be read in their local CHURCH OF ENGLAND church. This is a purely legal requirement. However, they can still be married in St. Oswald's.

If you would like a minister from another denomination to take part in the ceremony, we would be very happy to discuss this.  For legal reasons, however, the exchange of vows must be conducted by a Church of England Priest.

If your partner is a foreign national, special provision must be made and you should contact a member of the Clergy as soon as possible.

If your partner has atheistic objections to making vows before Almighty God, then we really need to have a serious talk. We do not wish to ask people to act hypocritically or against their wishes, and perhaps you should talk through further what the commitment of marriage signifies to both of you, and whether a compromise can be found. However, we take these vows seriously and expect that you will want to do the same.


Paying for the Wedding

Wedding fees are made up of a number of charges. There is a statutory fee which goes into the central funds of the Church of England from which clergy are paid. We do not get paid extra for conducting weddings (no matter how many we do!)

A suggested donation is listed for the use of the church buildings, which help maintain it as a facility for the community and to pay for the wedding preparation day. Whilst this is optional, we do encourage you to think careful about it - this only starts to cover the costs of maintaining such a beautiful building. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy if our beautiful church wasn’t here for your children’s baptism? Or their own wedding?

A detailed list of fees can be downloaded from the top of this page or here (2017)

They will go up slightly on 1st January each year and the fee you pay will be the fee at the time of the wedding, not at the time of booking - just check with us to confirm everything.


Although we have many excellent flower arrangers in St. Oswald's, if you wish to have any special floral arrangements we advise you to seek a professional florist to decorate the Church. Florists should liaise with the vicar and the parish flower teams to check that what you and they plan are appropriate. However, if you do not have any special plans for flowers, then there will be the usual floral arrangements for the week already in Church. Please do inform us.

Outside florists should be made aware that fixing nails, screws etc into any part of the fabric or furniture of any church is not permitted (St Oswald's dates from 1240 and we want to preserve it!)  This means for example that floral arches around church doors are not an option unless freestanding arrangements can be made - but be creative! Candles may be used around the window sills and the base of the columns if desired (and safe).


Planning the Service

A wedding is not just a personal celebration (and at St Oswald's we will make the day truly a celebration); it is also a legal ceremony, marking a change in your legal status. Because of this, there are rules made by the government about how the service is conducted; by whom, where, and what is said within it.

However, within those limits we can work with you to plan a service which will be special for you. We like to be flexible and we will enjoy hearing your ideas and helping you plan.  For example, the law says that you can’t write your own vows, but you can write your own prayers, choose readings or poems, and choose the music. So, don’t be afraid to ask if there is something special you would like. We have, frankly, seen just about everything! However, don’t book things without checking with the priest taking the service, as this is still a public act of worship and you have not just “booked the church” for the day.

You will have the opportunity to explore these choices fully when you meet with the parish clergy and at the Marriage Preparation day.


What is the service like?

The Service will usually last about 45 minutes, and will contain not only the legal exchange of vows, but also a bible reading, prayers, a blessing, a short address and the signing of the registers.

If you are a regular worshipper at our Church, the service can include Holy Communion (‘A Nuptial Mass’) if you wish, but this is not very common these days. Saying that, the Nuptial Mass is particularly lovely!

You won’t have to worry about kneeling during the Service (most couples prefer to stand throughout these days) so you won’t have to worry about creasing the dress; and the Groom won’t have to have “help me!” painted on his shoes! If you need to, there are plenty of places for you to sit!

None of this - right?
None of this – right?

Service Sheets

You can print your own orders of service, and we can email you example templates. We are also very happy to prrofread the service and make sire there are no 'howlers'! Alternatively, we can print out a full set of personalised sheets on nice paper for a modest cost. Please discuss the format with the priest conducting the wedding so that we can make sure that it is correct.  It is your responsibility to make sure that you have any necessary copyright permission for the service sheets.

If you cleck here you can begin to start thinking about the elements that make up your wedding ceremony.


Hymns and Wedding Music

The Musical Director, Mr Michael Halls, is always happy to discuss your choice of music – the best time to catch him is after the main service on a Sunday morning. His phone number is xxxxx

There are normally two or three hymns during the service. One hymn is near the beginning, one before the prayers and the third just before you leave the church. You could always choose, in place of the second hymn, to have a piece of music, or a song sung by the choir or a soloist during the signing of the registers. A list of suggested hymns is available in a booklet and downloadable at the end of this page, along with downloadable templates of words for your service book.

You can use our hymnbooks rather than printing a service sheet with the words of the hymns but please make sure that the hymn you want is included!

You will need to choose music to be played for the arrival of the bride, for the signing of the registers and for the wedding procession at the end. Please talk to the organist about this. CDs and MP3s can also be used (but not tapes - remeber those?) We have had vocal and musical performances as well, but the organist’s fee cannot be avoided by bringing in someone else: it is a part of his fee, whether he plays or not!


Wedding Hymns

There are plenty of lovely hymns to choose from without resorting to All Things Bright & Beautiful! In the downloads section below are a selection of lovely hymns to well-known tunes


You will need a minimum of two witnesses to sign the registers at your wedding.

They can be any two adults who are present, but are often members of the family (often both Mums or both Dads). The registers are signed on the altar towards the end of the service near the high altar.



It is advisable to have at least two ushers at the wedding. They should be in the church thirty minutes before the wedding with the Best Man and the Groom. They should introduce themselves to the priest as soon as they arrive, so that we can make sure they know what their responsibilities are. Their jobs are to give out service sheets and hymnbooks and to direct people to their seats as they arrive and to assist at the end of the Service. It is a great help if they can also collect books and help to clear up at the end of the service.



We want you and your guests to be able to enjoy your wedding without distractions. For this reason, we suggest that you don't allow photography from the congregation during the service, except a couple of unobtrustive ones from the back taken by a professional photographer (ideally without a flash). Afterwards you can take as many lovely photographs as you all like!

Photographs can be taken freely as you leave the church at the end, and of course, in the church grounds after the service. If the weather is bad couples often return into church for some photographs to be taken inside.

A good professional will speak with the clergy conducting the service beforehand and will be shown good vantage places to get such pictures. We have a good working relationship with all the local wedding photographers.



Copyright rules make the video recording of weddings a complicated business. There is blanket permission granted for the recording of the words of the service.

However, the copyright of the hymns and music resides with the publishers of that music for fifty years after the death of the author. Older, traditional hymns are often out of copyright, but many newer ones are not. It is your responsibility to make sure that you are legally covered - talk to the organist or Church Office for advice. A temporary copyright license can be obtained, from MCPS (which is a part of the Performing Rights Society) at the web address at the top of this page, who will also give advice.  The process is described here.


What happens after we have booked the Wedding?

You will be invitedto attend our Marriage Preparation day (around about St. Valentine's day in February) which is a relaxed and informal preparation for the day and rest of your lives together. Couples who take this course have attested to how useful it was to discuss between themselves these important things. Do not worry: you don’t have to say anything out loud in front of strangers.

Please keep in touch with us as you make plans. If you have any questions please ask them as soon as you can, rather than leaving them to the last minute.

In any case, please contact Duncan about three months before the wedding. He will make arrangements to meet up with you, often in a local pub, so he can get to know you in a relaxed atmosphere. You can discuss with him not only the practicalities of the service, but also anything else which might be on your mind.

Most importantly, start coming to the Sunday Communion, as this makes the fundamental change between getting married at the Church and getting married at our Church. Try to make it a regular part of your preparation: you won’t regret it! Duncan has 6 Churches to care for, and so the Mass cannot be offered in every church every Sunday, but if you check the parish calendar, you will see where Duncan is!


Preparation for your Marriage

It’s not just about preparing for the Wedding, we are most interested in preparing you for the whole of your married life.

This article is good: The Marriage Rules