Church of England wedding length

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  • Posted: 10 Jun 2018 23:22

    Church of England wedding length

    My future husband loathes hymns whereas I adore sacred music. He knew a church wedding was important to me but I want him to feel comfortable. My non-religious friends tell me they'd rather be spectators to the music than feel forced to sing. So we have drafted the following:

    2x hymns

    1x psalm (sung)

    1x anthem

    1x scripture reading

    2x secular readings

    Then for the signing of the register is another short anthem and a piece of secular music we both love. And there is in/out music as you'd expect (both secular)

    Is this ok? All the music and readings are short (I think the longest is 4 minutes for the register and the shortest is 90 seconds). My fiance wants to keep it at about 45 minutes whereas I was aiming for closer to an hour. I had hoped there would be room for some more sacred music (3.5 minutes but probably could be shortened) but I'm worried I am getting carried away. I've not allowed time for the sermon but our priest has assured me he likes to keep things short!

    If we do need to cut things - how?!?! I just love it all so much :) it is so much a part of how I worship and I feel that spiritually I need elements of this on my wedding day.

    How long is your ceremony and what choices are you having?

    Any advice would be great.

  • Posted: 11 Jun 2018 9:33

    Re: Church of England wedding length


    At the end of the day, it's down to the 2 of you, and what you feel comfortable with.

    I'm with your FH in that I can't abide hymns at weddings and funerals - but that's because I'm not religious and so singing them makes me feel very hypocritical. I've also found that at religious weddings that I've been to, half the group don't join in, because they feel uncomfortable, or don't know how the song goes, so it's often been carried by a few people who can't be heard over the organ. 

    That said, if you have a good number of people who will participate, you should be fine. I think that 2 hymns and a psalm is good number - especially if your FH isn't keen, after all it is his day too. 

    Regarding the length of the  service, I personally think anything much over an hour is too much, but anything up to that is fine.

    Our ceremony is going to be just under an hour, and will run more or less like this:

    - Music in for BM's & myself (my brother is playing his guitar for us Smile)

    - Registrar/legal part (the bare minimum), Sign the register so the registrar can go

    - Humanist ceremony with celebrant:

    - Reading 1, Vows, Ring exchange, Reading 2, Handfasting, Jump the broom and out for confetti and fizz

    All in, it should be between 40-60 minutes. I guess we'll have some music playing when we're signing the register, but I'll probably just get my brother to play some more. 

    Hope this helps! 

  • Posted: 11 Jun 2018 13:42

    Re: Church of England wedding length

    Some info for others.

    I would say that 95% of Church weddings that I photograph are between 40 and 45 mins long. With 2 or 3 hymns. What I have seen is that if you plan on trying to make it quick by only having two hymns then the priest will just speak for longer  Big Smile. Hymn choice is also sometimes guided by the priest because if you try to have all 3 hymns as Morning has broken, all things bright and beautiful, and Jerusalem Wink then you may find that the priest may politely ask you to consider a different choice for one of them.

    I tell bride and grooms that for a 40 min service at  say - 1 pm then expect to be outside with the bells ringing at 2pm. This allows for you to be 5-10 mins late whether you intend to be or not, walk down then the service starts, then give time for people to slowly filter out, even if you do not plan on having anything in particular photo wise at the Church then you still wont be climbing in the car until 2.30, after confetti and mingling - everybody wants a piece of you here.

    This is the main area where people underestimate during their planning as they usually think for a 1pm wedding - 40 mins so will will be travelling to the the reception at 1.50 which never going to happen.

    Some Churches will allow other non religious music for your arrival and leaving and most don't mind during the signing of the register but it all depends on the individual priest/vicar             

  • Posted: 18 Jun 2018 0:11

    Re: Church of England wedding length

    Does the church have a choir who could 'carry' the hymns? (I know that costs extra like the bell-ringers and organist).If not, I would definitely choose really well-known hymns to avoid most people not being familiar with them.

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