Can Vicars do ‘modern’ weddings?

The Church Weddings Handbook by Gillian Oliver ~ reviewed in Sunday Telegraph 22.10.2012

In The Sunday Telegraph (21.10.2012) the headline on the front page read ‘Church welcomes ‘Posh and Becks’ ceremonies in weddings overhaul’ and of course this caught my eye as a Wedding Planner.

It would seem that over the past four years research has been carried out by church clerics, known as ‘The Wedding Project’ following  a drop in church weddings where now it is a mere one in four  (22%) who opt for church rather than a civil ceremony.

I think it is great to read that the Church is embracing the couples of today and having a fresh look however a church ceremony can’t become a ‘novelty’.   I believe that if you opt for Church you are choosing a traditional ceremony and that you have decided to follow a religious path and therefore I can see how some Vicars will not be happy to have ‘Test Match Special’ as the music to enter church!

Some of the Church’s suggestions for making weddings more personal are interesting and these are just some of my comments as Wedding Planner, Sarah Ducker of SJD Events Limited.

  • Personalizing the Proceedings ~ of course couples like to reflect their personalities in the service and this is always something that I discuss with couples as it is extremely important in the overall ‘dream/vision’ but you also need to keep it real.


  • Modernise Music Choice ~ I agree that relaxed views on music should be welcomed however in my experience this has been also dictated by the Director of Music, namely the Organist but other musicians and styles should be welcomed.  Not that I wish to bring a gloomy side to this article but nobody questions the music that is played at a funeral.    I also have to agree that there should be some regulation on costs of organists and music in general in the Church as it does seem to vary considerably.


  • Photography Free for All ~ I have to say that I disagree, and think that it should be just the official photographer snapping during the service as it can be distraction not only for the vicar but also the couple.   And, certainly guests should be asked to turn off mobile phones or at least put it on vibrate, even if they are using the camera.  I did a wedding about eighteen months ago in a church and was shocked because the best man had an ear piece throughout because he couldn’t be without his phone, it was on silent but really.


  • Funnier and Friendlier  Vicars ~ From my experience with couples weddings that I have been involved in, all of them have had great meetings with the vicars prior to their weddings whether over a glass of wine at the Vicarage or afternoon tea, they certainly haven’t been stuffy.    As for the humour in the service, it depends on the personality of the vicar but in my experience they have always tailored it to the couple and this is certainly important.


  • Refreshing Rules and Rituals ~ I believe that  marriage classes are slightly dated but it is part of the traditional church ceremony chosen, however it  maybe that a series of different classes can be offered dependant on the couples situation, a few hours as opposed to a full day I believe would be welcome by some of my clients for sure.
  • Aftercare ~ I am not sure what one can say on this point as Vicars are busy and I am not sure couples would want to fill out a questionnaire.

So, what do you think about the ‘modern’ wedding in Church?  Check out The Church Weddings Handbook by Gillian Oliver for more information.


About sjdeventsltd

Owner of SJP Consultancy, specialising in offering, flexible services for all types of events, including fundraising projects in the charity sector.
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