You know that you can get married without a religious ceremony. You have probably bought or been given collections of wedding poems, readings, songs, vows and prayers, so that you can compile your own service from these resources. Weddings may be held in homes, halls, hotels or out-of-doors. In other words, a wedding may be an entirely do-it-yourself affair.
Why then have a religious service?
We will answer in simple terms. A religious service, normally held in a church, mosque or synagogue and conducted by a member of the clergy, brings “something else.”
Such a service assumes that more than two people are involved in a marriage and therefore in a wedding. A family is involved. A community is involved. A tradition is involved. A Presence is involved. All these make up the “something else.”
That is why most communities, be they Jewish, Christian or Muslim, follow a particular wedding ceremony conducted by an ordained member of their clergy. The purpose of the ceremony is to preserve and remind the couple and all those present of that “something else.”
We would like you to understand how the wedding service in the King’s Chapel Book of Common Prayer conveys this “something else,” we should first tell you where it came from.
Our wedding service, an old English translation of the medieval ritual, is at least five hundred years old. From time to time it has been revised, usually not very much. Here at King’s Chapel we have used it for over three hundred years, slightly altered from its Anglican original. (For example, in 1785 they changed the service so that the woman no longer promises to obey the man.) At least several thousand couples have been married with this service in our present sanctuary (built in 1749) or its predecessor (built in 1686).
Because we believe that marriage is a choice that takes love, support, and community to sustain happily, we take our application process quite seriously. Couples who get married at King's Chapel get to know our clergy quite well and begin conversations about their relationships that (we hope) will help them navigate difficult times as a couple down the road.
The questions we typically ask people to answer in advance of the initial meeting with our clergy are the following:
1. Why do you want to get married in a church? 2. Can you tell us a bit about your faith backgrounds?
At this stage, if you and King's Chapel feel this is a good fit for your wedding service, then the process continues and the date is yours. Between this initial meeting and the ceremony, the clergy officiant will meet with you three times to discuss your relationship (what is great about it and what its challenges are) and to plan the details of the wedding service.