Subject to the current COVID-19 guidelines and the College's own guidelines on capacities and events, St Catharine's Chapel is able to offer marriage ceremonies for current or alumni members of the College. In general baptisms and memorial services are reserved for current rather than alumni members of college.
Below, you can find information about some of the things you will need to consider if you'd like be married in the College Chapel.
The following notes serve as an initial guideline - please read them carefully. If you would like any further information, or wish to apply to be married in the College Chapel, please be in touch with the Chaplain who will be glad to send you further information, to meet with you to discuss practical arrangements and to set up some conversations in preparation for the celebration of marriage.
- The Consent of the Chaplain. Please be in touch with the Chaplain at the earliest opportunity to arrange a meeting during which it must be established that there is no legal impediment to your being married, and that your application fulfils the criteria set forth by the Archbishop of Canterbury's Faculty Office.
- The Permission of the Governing Body. Once it has been agreed that there is no impediment to your marriage, we may begin to discuss a date for your wedding. The Chaplain will apply to the Governing Body for permission to hold the service in the Chapel. St Catharine’s College Chapel requires that the bride or the groom must be either 1) a Fellow or former Fellow of the College, 2) a staff member of the College, 3) a current member of the College, or 4) an old member of the College. There may be restrictions on weddings at certain times of the year, such as during the examinations period.
- An Archbishop's Special Marriage Licence. Assuming the Governing Body grants permission, the Chaplain will guide you through the process of applying for the Archbishop's Special Marriage Licence which you will need. The College Chapel operates outside the normal parochial system of the Church of England and the Special Licence replaces the Banns that would normally be read in a parish church. See this link for further details. If you are to be married in a civil ceremony elsehwere, we can discuss the possibility of a Service of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage, sometimes known as a 'Blessing Service'.
At present we are limited by COVID-19 guidelines to 29 people in the Chapel, but under normal circumstances, the Chapel comfortably seats about 100-110 guests, With additional seating, the number may comfortably be increased to around 150. The numbers will depend on whether you choose to have a choir and/or instrumentalists at your wedding.
Once the Governing Body has granted permission for use of the Chapel, you should be in touch the Director of Music Dr Edward Wickham if you would like an organist to play and a choir or soloist to sing. You will need to seek Dr Wickham's permission if you require anyone other than one of the College Organ Scholars to play at your wedding but please note that, in line with the standard engagement of professional musicians, a fee will still be payable, unless a College organist is unavailable. Dr Wickham will also be able to advise you if you wish to have musicians (for example, a string quartet) play at your wedding and/or reception.
If you are interested in holding your reception in College, please do not make any firm bookings until permission from the Governing Body has been granted.