What? Yes, that was the headline in a recent article in the “i” newspaper.
“Crazy rules stop people marrying in churches”
The article centered around comments from Lloyd Grossman, who’s the outgoing Chairman of the Churches Conservation Trust. It seems hard to believe, but there are churches in England where you can’t actually get married! The reason is that these churches are maintained not by the Church of England, but by the Churches Conservation Trust.
There are 347 little used place of worship across Britain, some of them 1,000 years old. The Trust advocates using the buildings as community facilities in order to keep their history alive. Lloyd says that hosting weddings in these historic buildings is made difficult because of the bureaucracy that surrounds the licencing of wedding venues.
To host a wedding there’s a mountain of red tape to be negotiated because they’re not deemed to be regular parish churches. The permission of an Archbishop’s required (along with another member of the clergy) in order for a priest to marry couples inside them. Even if this is granted, it would seem that many parishes are either reluctant to help out, or are just too busy with their own churches.
Lloyd told The Sunday Telegraph it was “completely crazy” to make it so difficult to host weddings in churches which are in need of use but which remain empty. “There are many instances where people who want to get married in one of our churches can’t, so get married in the hotel across the road, which is completely crazy“.
It does seem a shame that these lovely, historic buildings are sitting empty when they could be used as they have for centuries, to host that most special day of a couples’ lives.
St Nicholas Church in Studland which, I must point out, is NOT one of the Churches involved. Indeed, I’ve had the pleasure of shooting several weddings here! 🙂
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