We appreciate that you want to be married at St Thomas’s Church, Rondebosch. Your wedding day is important to you, to God and to the church and I hope that it will be an occasion of very happy memories and a truly joyful start to your married life. The preparation that you put in beforehand, the beliefs that you hold and the attitudes that you both have in getting married will contribute significantly to making your wedding a memorable day. The way in which you approach the wedding will be an indication of the way in which you will approach married life together.
A wedding is an act of worship
First and foremost, the ceremony is an act of worship, a time when we focus on God. This is where married life begins, before God, and I would hope that you will always be aware of the deep spiritual significance of marriage. It is God who seals the bond of love between the two of you, it is in God’s name that you will make your solemn vows, and it is God’s blessing that you will receive. In this act of worship the couple to be married are the ministers of the sacrament. The Church, represented by the priest, and the community, represented by the congregation, are the witnesses to this act of commitment.
There are two aspects. The one is the planning of the wedding and other is preparing to be married. The first is all about the service in church and the reception afterwards. The second is all about putting two lives together that God will make one in the sacrament of marriage.
We provide the opportunity for you to plan your wedding – flowers, music, readings etc but our primary focus is on helping you to prepare for your marriage. A good marriage is not something that simply “happens”. It needs to be properly established and nurtured if it is to grow to a satisfying maturity.
The priest will discuss the details of the Marriage Preparation Course with you. We also recommend that you do the FAMSA Prepare course. It is also recommended that you do an Alpha Course if you have not done one already. These courses together enable you to lay a solid foundation of mutually held beliefs and values. The Prepare course particularly helps you to examine your relationship and to see where you are going to fit together neatly and where there needs to be discussion as to how you are going to share your values and lifestyle e.g. with children, finances, resolving conflicts. The Marriage Preparation Course helps you establish a way of life in marriage that will keep your marriage healthy and enriching.
A second important part of your preparation and the continuing nurture of your relationship is to worship together within the congregation. It is essential that couples feel at home in a safe place to receive help and encouragement as they settle into their married life.
Before making any arrangement you will need to contact the priest to establish the date of your wedding and to arrange for the required preparation courses. St Thomas’s church is a place of worship which is treated with reverence by its parishioners. It is not a venue for hire and weddings are conducted only for those who belong to the church and worship in the church. It is generally expected that one of the clergy of the parish will be the Marriage Officer, that the parish organist will play for the wedding and that the wedding will be conducted according to the Anglican Prayer Book (pages 457-468). If you wish to suggest any special or unusual arrangement for your wedding, please mention it to the officiating priest at your initial interview.
Rector: The Reverend Dr Claire Nye Hunter
Address: St Thomas’s Church, 61 Camp Ground Road, Rondebosch, 7700
The parish has set fees for the services provided by the officiating priest, the parish organist, the verger and for the use of the church. The parish office will render an account and payment is due to the parish secretary two weeks before the wedding.
VISITING CLERGY, ORGANISTS, MUSICIANS AND CHOIRS
The permission of the Rector is require before any arrangements may be made with regard to the services of visiting clergy, organists, musicians or choirs. Private arrangements must be made about any payments to such persons.
ORDER OF SERVICE
It is important that you arrange the service itself with the Rector or the officiating minister before finalising the Lessons, music or drawing up an Order of Service. Music for the wedding should then be discussed timeously with the organist.
Please check with the priest as to whether there are any other weddings on the weekend of your wedding. If so, only one set of flowers may be used for the weekend, and brides must come to some common agreement about the flowers. St Thomas’s church is a beautiful church, loved by its parishioners, and needs to be ready for our regular services on Sundays. For this reason we do insist that floral decorations for weddings are left in the church to conform to certain standards and are suitably positioned for the services on Sundays.
It is a tradition that flowers are not used in the church during Lent and Advent. However, it is felt that for weddings during these seasons, flowers will be permitted for the service and may be left for the Sunday services.
1. We welcome family members or friends to arrange the flowers. We ask that the person arranging your flowers visits the church well in advance of your wedding, arranges to meet with the Parish Secretary and discusses the floral plans so that any uncertainties with regard to position of stands and other arrangements may be ironed out.
2. We can recommend a highly skilled flower arranger if you would like someone from St Thomas’s to do flowers for you. You will make all the arrangements with her and pay her directly.
3. Flowers may be brought to church already arranged, or may be arranged in situ (no pampas grass please).
4. Flowers may not be placed on the altar.
5. Posies may be placed on the end of the pews, but these may only be tied with ribbon (No drawing pins or any adhesive tape or substance etc); and the must be removed after the wedding.
RECORDING AND PHOTOGRAPHY
Sound recording is permitted. Video recording is also permitted, but no extra lighting may be introduced and the recording undertaken from one position designated by the priest. Still photographs, whether using flash light or not, may be taken as the bride enters the church, during the signing of the register (which takes place in the church), the lighting of candles and during the exit of the bridal couple. No photographs may be taken from the Sanctuary (Altar) area and not during the main part of the wedding ceremony. Please make sure that your photographer/video recordist is well aware of the regulations and that they do not step into the Sanctuary or disturb the flow of the service at any time.
No confetti may be thrown within the church grounds but flower petals are acceptable.
There will be a rehearsal of the wedding ceremony a day or two before your wedding. This is a very important part of the preparation for you and your families. It is necessary for you, the groomsmen and bridesmaids, your parents and the reader(s) to be at the rehearsal. I am particularly concerned to meet any young children who are to be involved in the ceremony as they need to get used to me and to the church before the day.
The state requires that people who are to be married furnish copies of your South African identity documents for certification and submission with the Marriage Register. In the event of your not being in possession of these documents, it will be necessary for you to complete a “Declaration for the Purpose of Marriage” (form BI 31).
It is also necessary for us to submit copies for certification of the identity documents of the two persons who are to sign as witness at the ceremony. These must be submitted to the parish office two weeks before your wedding. These copies need to be signed with your specimen signature. These requirements from the Department of Home Affairs and your marriage will not be registered without them.
Minors: If you are under 21 years of age, you must provide the written consent of your parents or guardian (form BI 32). If you are a girl under the age of 15 years, or a boy under the age of 18 years, you will require, in addition, the consent of the Minister of Home Affairs.
Widows & Widowers: A certificate from the Master of the Supreme Court or an affidavit is required.
Divorced persons: The Anglican church requires that people seeking the sacrament of marriage should be baptized Christians. Where a person has been married before and the spouse from the former marriage is still alive, the marriage will fall under Canon 34 and will require the Licence of the Bishop. This procedure takes several months, and no plans can be made for the wedding until this Licence is granted. It will be necessary for you to furnish details of the divorce for the Marriage Register.
Antenuptial Contract: Be aware of the legal implications of your marriage. Please consult an attorney in this regard. If you decide to draw up an Antenuptial Contract, please ask the attorney to provide a letter to this effect for the parish records. It is also essential to have your wills drawn up at the same time.
Marriage Certificate: The original certificate is handed to you at the ceremony. Churches are not permitted to provide any copies other than the original. Further copies may be obtained from any Regional or District office of the Department of Home Affairs.