To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Commissioners plan to take to enforce the Statutory Fees Table fixed church fees by law, in response to reports of a number of churches inflating costs on their websites which may deter people from marrying in their local church.
The Church of England wishes to welcome all couples eligible to be married in its churches. The Church provides yourchurchwedding.org as a resource to couples seeking information about all aspects of a church wedding, and this has proven to be a popular resource which is now used by over a million couples a year.
The General Synod and Parliament approve the fees charged by the parishes of the Church of England for these and other services via the Parochial Fees Order. Details of the current fees set for 2021 can be found here:
The cost of getting married in a church remains very modest when compared to other locations. Weddings are bespoke services, and all churches have a basic charge that covers the ceremony, including the calling of banns, the banns certificate, marriage certificate, and administration cost. Should a couple wish to opt for bells, choir, organist and flowers, etc. they are arranged by the parish for an additional fee to cover people's time and additional administration costs. An incumbent priest also has the discretion to waive some of the fees for pastoral reasons.
The National Church Life Events team has worked with Archdeacons across the country to encourage all parishes to distinguish between the statutory fee and additional charges clearer. The local Archdeacon would be best placed to discuss any individual case.