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Church offers £1,000 wedding for couples struggling with big day costs

Thu 10 Jan 2019
By Cara Bentley

One church is Cheshire is bucking the trend of extortionate wedding costs by arranging every aspect of the service for £1000 and church members offering their skills. 

St John the Baptist Church in Hartford in Cheshire will offer the 'Grand Service' to three couples in 2019 who otherwise would not be able to afford a church wedding. 

The vicar, Rev Mike Smith told Premier's News Hour: "It was an idea that came a few years ago now, when we had a couple who cancelled their wedding in church for cost reasons. That was followed by a couple more who did the same thing. It was about that time the Church of England decided to put a massive hike on its wedding fees and I felt uncomfortable with that and so began to put together a team of volunteers with the idea that we could do somebody's whole day for an affordable price."

The average cost of a wedding in the UK this year has now risen to over £30,000. 

The offer at St John the Baptist includes an organist who will play for free, someone to make a two-tiered cake, a photographer, a lady who is offering dress alterations and flowers. 

The package includes a catered reception in the Church Centre for up to 30 guests including a two course meal. A further 20 guests can be added at pro-rata cost.

Rev Mike said the church have been willing to chip-in with their gifts: "This is a group who very much share the belief that marriage is one of God's great gifts and we want to help people get on that track". 

The church have had eight couples apply for the three dates this year, one of which has already been booked and whom Rev Mike and his curate went to visit this week. 

"They're a young couple, new baby, not high-end jobs by any means. They want to get married, they want to get married in church but this would have been something unaffordable, probably ever but certainly for many years, if we hadn't offered this". 

He added that lots of churches could adopt the same idea by sharing their skills with the community. 

The church has set three dates for 2019 and one of them will be conducted by the Bishop, the Rt Rev Keith Sinclair, to show his personal support for the couple and God’s gift of marriage.

Listen to Rev Mike Smith on Premier's News Hour here:

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