I suppose many of us watched the royal wedding on the television. I know a few turned off or did other things, but most of the nation was riveted.
The procession, the cars (what about the vans!?), the guest list, the relations, the dress, the bridesmaids, the music, the vows, the sermon, the exit, cheering crowds and (of course) the kiss: it moved through the process with seamless pageantry.
All of it, except perhaps for the crowds, is actually common to all weddings. Or perhaps I should say all church weddings. Of course most church weddings cannot compare to Westminster Abbey, but a wedding in my church is similar in the same way as, for example, the bride’s dress is similar to Kate’s dress.
The church is not as grand as the Abbey but there is a certain beauty and grandeur. This all lead me to puzzle why weddings in church are not as popular as they used to be. I know some of the answers.
For one thing people are not so religious today. But actually you do not need to make a Christian profession of faith to be married in church; you simply have to be prepared to be married before God.
Another reason sometimes given is cost. In actual fact a church wedding is now as cheaper than a registry office wedding (about £350), unless you opt for other items like bringing in a choir. The other reason is that people like to have the marriage and the reception in one place rather than move from the church to the reception.
On the other hand a lot is gained through a church wedding: a walk down the aisle, usually a beautiful building, vows with depth, resonance and committment (in either old language like William and Kate’s wedding or in modern language).
Above all it is a service before God, asking his blessing and help for the couple getting married. This may be why some avoid a church wedding but it is something wonderful that many may not realise is there.
Everyone is entitled to be married in their parish church and often in another church with which they have connections. If you want to know more, ask your local vicar or the minster of any church.
By John Chitham, the vicar of St. Matthew’s Church, Tarring Road, Worthing, He has been in Worthing for more than 10 years and is married with one son.