Weddings

St Margaret’s is a popular venue for weddings.  Parts of the building date from the 15th century although a major fire in 1977 means that the interior is modern. The building seats about 100 people comfortably, although with chairs rather than pews there is some flexibility to accommodate more people.   The church is situated in farmland at one of the highest points in Essex with spectacular views across rolling countryside, but is only 2 miles from the centre of Wickford.  The church has its own car park that is adequate for most wedding congregations.  The building is well maintained, and we take pride in the care of the surrounding churchyard.  There is an original 15th century stable block and a dovecote at the entrance to the church which are often used as a backdrop for wedding photographs. 

Can anyone get married at St Margaret’s?
To be married at St Margaret’s one of you will need to have a qualifying connection to the church.  This includes any of the following:

If none of these applies please contact a member of the ministry team to discuss other options. There may be restrictions if one or both of you currently lives outside the European Economic Area.

One or both of us is divorced
This will not necessarily stop you getting married in church, but you will need to discuss your situation with a member of the ministry team and produce your decree absolute.

Further advice
When considering a Church of England wedding we recommend you first visit www.yourchurchwedding.org which contains comprehensive advice on the legalities of a church wedding and tools to help with planning your ceremony. 

When can I get married?
Saturday is probably the most popular day for weddings, but you can get married on any day of the week.  Legally the ceremony has to take place between the hours of 8.00am and 6.00pm.  Please be aware that we have regular services on Sundays therefore if you wish to get married on a Sunday the time slots will be limited.  We will endeavour to accommodate your wishes, but the church may be unavailable at certain times due to other commitments.

Music
The “Your Church Wedding” website has a section on recommended music.  St Margaret’s has a qualified organist and a small choir that can provide suitable music for your ceremony.  If you want music not listed on the website the organist will be pleased to discuss your requirements.  Alternatively, the church has a sound system that can be used to play recorded music.

Bells
St Margaret’s has a peal of six bells that can be rung as you leave the church at the end of the ceremony. 

Flowers
At most times of the year the church is decorated with flowers, but you may wish to have special arrangements, perhaps in a particular colour.  The regular flower arrangers will be pleased to assist you at no charge other than for the cost of flowers and materials used.  Alternatively, you may wish to employ your own florist.

Costs
The Church of England has standard fees which apply to all churches and are shown on the “Your Church Wedding” website.  The standard fees are revised on 1 January each year.  In addition, St Margaret’s currently charges £160 which covers the cost of the vergers who look after the comfort and safety of your guests whilst they are in church, the car park attendants and a contribution towards the maintenance of the churchyard. 
Other voluntary costs are:

When do we need to book our wedding?
If you want a particular date and time, then the sooner the better.  We have some couples booking their ceremonies one or two years in advance.  Normally we require a minimum of six months’ notice in order to complete all the necessary paperwork.

When do we have to pay for our wedding ceremony?
Normally we will take a small deposit at the time of booking, with the balance due no later than 1 month before the ceremony takes place.  We will provide you with bank details if you wish to pay on-line. 

If you wish to make further enquiries about arranging a wedding at St Margaret’s, please use the "Contact us' link below saying that you wish to arrange a wedding at Downham.  Please give your name, postcode, contact details and when you would like the ceremony to take place.  A member of the ministry team will then contact you to discuss the arrangements. Alternatively, come along to one of our services and talk to one of the ministers there. See our Services or Calendar page for details of service times.