What are the requirements?
For a couple to be married in the Orthodox Church at least one of the partners must be an Orthodox Christian in good standing (having had a recent Confession and received Holy Communion). The other may be a baptized Christian of a different denomination who is able to produce a valid certificate of baptism. The priest will be able to determine whether the non-Orthodox partner is required to be received into the Orthodox Church before the wedding but, while advisable, it may not be a requirement in all cases. What is always required in this case is a commitment that the couple’s children will be baptized in the Orthodox Church.
The couple must be legally married (being asked to show their marriage certificate to the priest before the Church service).
Inter-faith (between Christian and non-Christian partners) marriages are not possible in the Orthodox Church, and the couple is encouraged to consult with the priest to find the best solution for this.
How do we need to prepare?
Before the wedding ceremony the couple will be asked to meet with the priest for an informal discussion about the meaning and shape of the Crowning service, as well as the challenges and responsibilities of married life. This is to ensure that the couple is aware of the solemnity and importance as well as the benefits of a divinely consecrated union.
How is the Crowning service celebrated?
The wedding (the so-called Crowning) must take place in an Orthodox church in the presence of one or two sponsors/witnesses, traditionally a married Orthodox couple. The role of the sponsors is not to be confused with that of the “Best Man” or “Maid of Honour”, as the latter would have no liturgical role and are not required (but may attend and assist in the ceremony). The attendees are reminded to dress modestly in accordance with the solemnity of the religious ceremony. Decorating the church for the ceremony is allowed on the condition that the church will be cleaned up afterwards.
What do we need to bring?
- a copy of the civil marriage certificate (in order to register the wedding in the parish records).
- a pair of rings (the “Wedding” rings to be blessed during the ceremony);
- candles (to be held by the sponsors);
- a bottle of sweet wine (for the common cup shared by the couple) and, in accordance with some traditions, ladyfingers or biscotti.
Crowns and an Orthodox Wedding Certificate are provided by us. It is advisable to check with the priest if there are any special requests.
Are photographers/videographers allowed to capture the service?
Respectful and considerate photographers/videographers are welcome but must observe the protocols set for the by the priest. It is advisable to allow some time for group photos at the end of the service, so make sure to discuss this with the priest when you schedule it.
Are there any fees?
As in the case of baptisms, there are no set fees, but donations are very much appreciated and will go towards the maintenance costs of the chapel and the refurbishment of the new church.