What are Banns of Marriage and Why are They Important?
If you are planning to get married in a church, you may have heard of the term “banns of marriage” or simply “banns”. But what are they and why are they required?
Banns are a public announcement of your intention to marry that is made in the church where you live and in the church where you are going to get married. They are usually read out loud by the minister on three Sundays during the three months before your wedding date. The purpose of banns is to give anyone a chance to raise any legal objections to your marriage, such as if you are already married, related by blood, or under age.
Banns are an ancient legal tradition that dates back to the 13th century. They are still required by law for most Church of England marriages, as well as some other Christian denominations. However, there are some exceptions where banns are not needed, such as if you are both foreign nationals, if you have less than three months’ notice, or if you have a special licence from the bishop.
Banns can also be a special occasion for you and your partner, as they mark the public declaration of your love and commitment. You can invite your family and friends to hear your banns and join in the prayers for your future happiness. Hearing your banns can also help you feel more connected to the church community where you are going to get married.
If you have any questions about banns or how to arrange them, you can contact your local parish priest or visit the Church of England website for more information.
How to arrange your banns
If you want to have your banns read in your local church and in the church where you are going to get married, you need to contact both churches and fill in a banns application form. You will also need to pay a small fee for the banns certificate, which is a legal document that proves that your banns have been read and that there are no objections to your marriage. You will need to show this certificate to the minister who is going to marry you.
You should arrange your banns as soon as possible, ideally at least four months before your wedding date. This will give you enough time to sort out any issues that may arise, such as if one of you has been married before or if you need a special licence. You should also check with both churches when your banns will be read and try to attend at least one of the readings.
What to do if you have a problem with your banns
Most couples do not have any problems with their banns, but sometimes there may be a reason why your marriage cannot go ahead as planned. For example, if someone knows that you are already married, related by blood, under age, or coerced into the marriage, they have a duty to inform the minister or the authorities. If this happens, your banns will be stopped and your marriage will be postponed until the issue is resolved.
If you have any doubts or concerns about your eligibility to marry, you should talk to your minister as soon as possible. They will be able to advise you on what steps you need to take and how to obtain any necessary documents or permissions. You should also be honest and open with your partner about any previous marriages or relationships that may affect your banns.