Here are some guidelines to help you if you are planning to get married in a Methodist Church.
What is the first step?
Usually a couple wishing to have a Church wedding should approach the Methodist Minister of the church at which they wish to be married. This would normally have to be in the civil registration district in which they live.
Marriage preparation is provided at a local level by the Circuit minister. The best route is to start making links with the minister likely to conduct the wedding. As part of the legal process, prospective marriage partners will need to fill out THE MARRIAGE NOTICE APPLICATION FORM available here http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/marriage-notice-application-form-gro-446.pdf?rev=0 and returned to the Marriage Registrar for the district in which the marriage is to take place.
The minister will give them a copy of ’The Marriage Book’ by Nicky & Sila Lee which is a reader-friendly book that uses the principles of the Christian faith to help married couples build a more loving and caring relationship. The Marriage Book provides practical advice for any married or engaged couple who wish to build a strong and lasting marriage.
See the link below to view the Report the Methodist Church produced on Christian Preparation for Marriage in 1998. http://www.methodist.org.uk/downloads/conf-marriage-in-the-methodist-church-2002.pdf
This link leads to the ecumenical website about marriage preparation http://www.marriage-preparation.co.uk/
One or both of us is divorced. Is that OK?
The Methodist Church is generally willing to marry people who have been divorced, while their previous spouse is still alive, as long as there are not major obvious reasons why it would be inappropriate to do so. The best advice is to speak to the local minister of the superintendent minister of the Circuit where you live. There are some ministers who will not marry someone who has been divorced, but such a minister will refer the couple to a minister who is willing to marry divorced people.
Does one of us have to be a Methodist?
People wanting to marry in church don’t have to be members of the church, but most ministers will ask them why they wish to marry in church. A church marriage is a solemn Christian ceremony, with prayers and Bible readings reflecting Christian understandings of what marriage is about. Whilst people wishing to marry in a Methodist church do not need to be church members, most ministers will look for a genuine desire on the part of a couple to take their marriage seriously along the lines set out in the service. Discussing what this means in practice will be part of the marriage preparation.
What if we are from two different denominations?
Many marriages in Methodist churches (and many couples marrying in Methodist churches) include people from different Christian denominations. Where two people from different church traditions marry, it is quite common for ministers from both churches to take part in the ceremony. This is welcomed. Sometimes, people from different faiths marry, and there is advice available for such marriages.
For further information
The first point of contact is your local church where the minister can discuss your questions with you. Visit our Find a Church section for Methodist Churches in Ireland.