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Church of England’s stalls at wedding fairs

by
20 January 2017

Write, if you have any questions you would like answered, or to add to the answers given below.

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Your answers
Is there a legal reason that churches don’t advertise at wedding fairs? The public are beginning to think that they can’t get married in churches. This is an absurd situation.

 

Churches have been well represented at wedding fairs national and local for many years. In my book Making the most of Weddings (CHP, 2007), there is advice and encouragement to do so.

One of the joys of being retired is that I can be on stalls at Sunday fairs when my younger colleagues have other commitments. There are always profitable conversations with both visitors and other exhibitors. Display materials are available from Church House, Westminster, and from many diocesan sources.
(The Revd) Andrew Body
Ludlow, Shropshire

 

There is no reason why churches cannot advertise at wedding fairs and, here in the diocese of Rochester, there has been a substantial effort to do exactly that.

In my experience, however, some wedding-fair organisers are not keen on churches’ being present, especially if the fair is held at a licensed wedding venue. One can only presume that they don’t want to advertise the competition, especially if it is cheaper.

The other issue, of course, is that couples who marry in Church of England churches can do so at only churches with which they have a qualifying connection; so there has to be a willingness or system to refer couples to the church most appropriate for them.
(The Revd) Paul White
Hadlow, Kent

 

St Mary’s, Peterborough, had a stand at a local wedding show this year. We were able to help couples find the right church for them, and also to encourage people to think about getting married in church.

What was surprising was that many had not even considered it. With that in mind, Peterborough rural deanery will be holding a wedding show, based at St Mary’s, to promote getting married in church.

Most importantly, however, we will be starting on a journey with these couples and inviting Jesus to be part of their married lives.
(The Revd) Michael Moore
Peterborough

 

I can only suggest that there is no legal reason as the precedent has already been set, as the Church of England has regularly had a stand at the large and popular Wedding Show at the National Exhibition Centre for several years.

Possibly one of the reasons we as local churches don’t do it is that we are too territorial. Would we be seeking to promote and encourage a wedding in church for a couple if they had not come from our “patch”?

As someone who has few weddings in the church, I would love to consider having a stand and promoting what the Church can offer.
(The Revd) Rob Marsh
Desford and Kirby Muxloe
Leicester

 

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