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. [Answers, 20 January]
Another response — only available to certain churches I know — is to host the fair itself. We were inspired by Ripon Cathedral’s wedding fairs, and realised that our huge and flexible space would be ideal. Aisles make great catwalks. We found that exhibitors, jaded by their usual venues, responded enthusiastically to being in our stunning architecture. They even coped with its not being warm. Sixty stalls became 80 the next time.
As the host, we had a stall for free, and could speak to all the exhibitors and visitors. Above all, the venue reminded people that church was an option for their wedding. Every year since, we have conducted weddings for couples we met at the fair.
Yes, we have wrestled with the question whether such fairs glorify the wedding above the marriage that follows, and, yes, we have wondered about hyper-commercialisation. But the overwhelming experience has been positive, and has reminded people that the church has so much more to offer to couples than just the experience of the wedding day.
There are some wonderful juxtapositions. At the first fair, our Mothers’ Union were next to the stall advertising cosmetic surgery. They still talk about it.
(The Revd) Jeremy Fletcher (Vicar of Beverley Minster)
Beverley, East Yorkshire
Where do I find an article by Alec Vidler or John Robinson, “The Appalling Amateurishness of the Church”? D. G. H.
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