If you are planning to get married and are
considering a Methodist church, here are guidelines to help
What is the first step?
Usually a couple wishing to get married should approach the
Methodist Minister of the church at which they wish to be married.
This would normally have to be in the civil registration district
in which they live.
Marriage preparation is provided at a local level by the circuit
ministers. The best route is to start making links with the
minister likely to conduct the wedding. As part of the legal
process, prospective marriage partners will need to go to the local
registry office and will be given a copy of a book called 'Married
Life', which is a helpful resource for people thinking about the
implications of getting married. The Methodist Church produced a
Christian Preparation for Marriage report in 1998. There is also an
ecumenical website about marriage preparation.
One of us is divorced. Is that OK?
The rules and laws relating to divorce are not made by the
church but by the State. Methodist Church House is not in a
position to offer advice on couples' pastoral situations. The best
advice is to speak to the local minister or the superintendent
minister of the circuit where you live.
The Methodist Church is generally willing to marry people who have
been divorced, while their previous spouse is still alive, as long
as there are not major obvious reasons why it would be
inappropriate to do so. There are a very few ministers who will
never marry someone who has been divorced, but such a minister will
refer the couple to a minister who is willing to marry divorced
The local minister will be able to explain the legalities about
going to the registrar for a certificate and so on. The Methodist
Church does not argue that the grounds for divorce should be
changed from the present ones. We would certainly encourage a
couple going through difficulties in their relationship to seek
advice, counselling and support to see if they can rebuild it. We
would also expect people to take very seriously their
responsibilities to any children of the marriage.
Does one of us have to be a Methodist?
People wanting to marry in church don't have to be members of
the church, but most ministers will ask them why they wish to marry
in church. A church marriage is a solemn Christian ceremony, with
prayers and Bible readings reflecting Christian understandings of
what marriage is about. Whilst people wishing to marry in a
Methodist church do not need to be church members, most ministers
will look for a genuine desire on the part of a couple to take
their marriage seriously along the lines set out in the service.
Discussing what this means in practice will be part of the marriage
What if we are from two different
Many marriages in Methodist churches (and many couples marrying
in Methodist churches) include people from different Christian
denominations. Where two people from different church traditions
marry, it is quite common for ministers from both churches to take
part in the ceremony. This is welcomed. Sometimes, people from
different faiths marry - and there is advice available for such
For further information
The first point of contact is your local
church where the minister can discuss your questions