Surrogates for Marriage
Weddings are a way of demonstrating love between two people. But they can also provide an opportunity for the church to minister to couples at a key time in their lives, and support them as they move forward in their marriage.
If you’re looking to get married in a church, you will either need to have your banns of marriage read out in the three months prior to the wedding, or you will need to apply for a Common Licence.
What is a Common Licence?
A Common Licence is essentially permission from a Bishop to get married in a particular church. The diocesan Bishop will need to ensure that the couple meet at least one of the criteria below:
- The bride or groom must have lived within the parish where the wedding is taking place, for at least 15 days before the Common Licence is applied for
- One of the couple must be on the electoral roll for the church where they intend to get married
- The bride or groom must demonstrate that they have a ‘qualifying connection’ with the church. This connection has to align with the Church of England Marriage Measure 2008.
It’s important to note that the application for a Common Licence should not be made more than three months prior to the wedding, as the Licence will only be valid for a maximum of three months.
How Can I Apply for a Common Licence?
To apply for a Common Licence, you can make an appointment at the office of the Diocesan Registrar. However, this may not be a suitable option for those living some distance from the Diocesan Registry. In such instances, an application can be made to an appointed Surrogate.
What is a Surrogate for Marriage?
Surrogates for marriage are Bishop’s Surrogates, which means that they have been appointed by the Chancellor of the Diocese to assist couples looking to get married via Common Licence.
A Bishop’s Surrogate can help a couple obtain a Common Licence, allowing them to get married at a church within their local parish, or at a church where they have a qualifying connection.
How Can I Find a Surrogate?
If you need to apply for a Common Licence via a Surrogate, you can reach out to a local member of clergy. They can then find a Surrogate using the online directory, and put you in touch with them.