Considerations when planning a wedding at the Cathedral

Special Licence or Banns

By law, you are required either to apply for a Special Marriage Licence or to have your Banns of Marriage read in church. (Banns are for people who live in the Cathedral’s parish. A Special Licence is for people with a worshipping connection.) Whether Special Licence or Banns, you need to complete an application form and Revd Canon Matthew Vernon will help you with this.

Order of Service

The Wedding Service can be either the contemporary English service (Common Worship) or the traditional language Service (the 1928 Prayer Book). We recommend the Common Worship Service, unless there are strong reasons otherwise. Some people like to include a service of Holy Communion (Nuptial Mass) in their wedding celebration.

It is usual to have a printed Order of Service. You can either produce this privately, or the Cathedral office can produce it for you. Wherever it is produced, the Cathedral clergy agree the details before it goes to press.

A standard Order of Service is as follows:
Entry of the Bride – Organ Voluntary
The Introduction
A Hymn
The Declarations
The Readings
The Address
The Marriage
The Signing of the Registers (with music)
The Prayers
A Hymn
The Blessing
Recessional Voluntary

The signing of the Registers is completed by the bride and groom, the priest and two witnesses. You need to arrange the two witnesses. They should be eighteen years old and can be parents, the best man, bridesmaids, or some other people.


There is a wide range of music to choose from for your wedding. It is one of the ways you make your service unique. You will need to choose music for the beginning and end of the Service, the hymns, and music for the signing of the registers. The Cathedral Musicians are glad to help you make choices: you can contact the Director of Music for guidance.

You can request the Cathedral Choir. If it is available, there are various options you can choose depending on the size of choir that is appropriate.

External singers and musicians are also welcome.


Wedding Flowers are prepared and arranged by the Cathedral Flower Arrangers and should be discussed with Mrs Susan Cockram whose contact details can be obtained from the Cathedral Office. Professional florists are not permitted to arrange in the Cathedral for weddings, but relatives of the bride and groom who are experienced flower arrangers are welcome to discuss possibilities with Mrs Cockram. For various practical reasons, floral pew ends are not used in the Cathedral.

Fees start at around £85 for a small pedestal, which includes flowers, oasis and any other equipment. The final fee will depend on the number and size of pedestals and the cost of flowers at the time of the wedding. No charge is made for the actual arranging, however the flowers are the property of the Cathedral and have to remain in the Cathedral after the Service. The only exception to this is during Lent or Advent when wedding flowers are removed the same day and usually sent to the Hospice. This is because flowers are not used in the Cathedral during Advent and Lent.


Photography during the ceremony is restricted to one official photographer, with flash (if necessary) during the signing of the Registers and when the couple return down the aisle only. Otherwise, the photographer is simply asked to be sensitive to the atmosphere of the service.

Video Recording

A video recording solely as the family’s memento of the day is allowed; but this is only on the following strict understanding:
(a) the person doing the video does not move about during the ceremony, but is located in an unobtrusive spot. No additional lighting is necessary.
(b) The video is a record of the service, and in no way is the service re-arranged to accommodate it.
(c) An additional fee is payable for the use of Cathedral equipment.


You can choose for the bells to be rung as you leave the church at the end of the Service. The bells ring in celebration of your marriage. There is a ring of 12 bells in the Norman tower.


This is permitted outside the Cathedral on the lawn. You are asked not to throw confetti in the Abbey Gardens.


Unfortunately this is very limited in the vicinity of the Cathedral, so do warn guests to arrive in good time. Permission can be obtained from the Borough to lift the bollards by the Norman Tower for the wedding limousines.


If you have ushers they normally distribute the Orders of Service and direct people to their places. Bride’s family normally sit on the left, and the Groom’s on the right as you face the altar. On the wedding day, Ushers should contact the Verger directly on arrival.

Drinks and Canapes

The Pilgrims’ Kitchen can serve delicious canapes and celebratory drinks or other refreshments, on the Cathedral Garth following a wedding in the Cathedral. To find out more contact us on 01284 748738 or email