James and Alice, married at St Mary's in 2012

James and Alice, married at St Mary’s in 2012

There is no doubt that the choices you make about your wedding day can make a huge impact on the cost. If you choose to marry in church, we want it to be a day that is personal and special for you, but that does not need to mean you spend thousands of pounds.

There is a relatively small fee for marrying in a church (compared to your other costs for your wedding day or a civil ceremony). The fees are set by the Church of England nationally so whichever church you choose, the basic fees should always be the same.

The cost of a basic church wedding service in 2023 is £539.00* and this fee includes all the usual legal necessities, the cost of the Minister and the cost of the venue. There may be some variation in legal fees if you are in a more unusual situation (e.g. if one of you is not a British national or if you usually live overseas). A full breakdown of the fees is available further down this page.

These fees have ancient origins and they make a contribution to the provision of a church and the Vicar in your community.

Flowers, an organist and/or bell ringers are all considered as optional additional services that can be provided. With the exception of heating, they are optional because if you choose not to have them in your wedding, it’s only right that you don’t have to pay for them. The fees you pay for those additional services go straight to the persons concerned.

The only cost we are allowed to add to the basic, nationally agreed, costs concern the heating of the church. Big churches and small churches have very different heating bills and that is reflected in the costs for our two churches as well. Heating costs only apply for weddings that take place between October and April.

You will need to work out all these costs with us early on so that you know what to expect and can budget accordingly within all that you are paying for your wedding.

* This figure is based on a couple living at the same address and living within the parish boundaries of our churches. It includes:

Breakdown of costs – mandatory fees

  • the fee set by law payable to the church: £505
  • having your banns read at the church: £34

Total: £539.00

Breakdown of costs – optional fees at St Mary’s, West Malling

  • Heating: £60 (winter months only)
  • Verger: £25
  • Organist: £130
  • Bells: £150
  • Wedding preparation course: £40

Breakdown of costs – optional fees at St Michael’s, Offham

  • Heating: £20 (winter months only)
  • Verger: £25
  • Organist: £90
  • Bells: £25
  • Wedding preparation course: £40

It’s worth noting that the Church of England sets these fees nationally every year beginning in January.
So, if you are planning a wedding for 2024 or 2025 now, then you should note that the fees may be different depending on what changes are made later this year for the following years’ fees.