Weddings at St John's

The Setting

As well as the church itself, St John’s lawn and garden area is a feature. The bridal party and their guests are welcome to gather here for an hour after the wedding at no additional cost. The church, the bluestone hall and the priory frame the garden on three sides, behind a circle of crepe myrtle trees. These provide a beautiful backdrop for photos and for mingling with guests after the service (Wedding Package) with optional Champagne Service

The church does not look empty with fewer than the 160 people who can comfortably be seated in the 23 pews: 12 on one side and 11 on the other. And more can be accommodated with temporary seating.

Legal Requirements

Both church and civil law have requirements that apply to all marriages.

The Commonwealth Marriage Act requires that:

  • Both parties to the marriage be at least 18 years old
  • The couple completes a Notice of Intended Marriage form and give this to the celebrant less than 18 months and more than one month before the wedding day. This is available from the celebrant or at www.ocba.sa.gov.au/bdm/marriages/requirements.html
  • The couple gives the celebrant copies of birth certificates, if born in Australia, or, if born overseas, show current passports
  • The couple signs a Declarations form, which the celebrant supplies, before the wedding day.


The Anglican Diocese of Adelaide requires that:

  • People who are divorced who wish to remarry in the Church must apply to the Archbishop for permission. St John’s is happy to conduct marriages where one or both partners is divorced.

St John's Requirements

  • All are welcome. The bride or groom usually lives within the parish or regularly worships at the church. However, St John's realises that many people share a variety of links with the church, and welcomes all who wish to be married here, regardless of denomination.
  • Rehearsal. The bridal party should arrange to be available for a rehearsal of the marriage service several days before the marriage. The couple will be able to sign the Declarations form at the same time.

Other Clergy

St John’s is also happy to host weddings celebrated by another clergyperson. This person does not have to be Anglican, but must hold a Government license to celebrate weddings. The wedding party reimburses him/her.
The visiting clergyperson should contact the Priest-in-Charge at least one month before the date of the marriage.

Marriage Preparation

St John's highly recommends some form of marriage education for all couples. Courses usually cover aspects of the relationship which can build or undermine a healthy marriage, such as expectations for marriage, effective communication, conflict and resolution, intimacy, family values and keeping love alive.

Anglicare SA (08 8305 9674) run Positive Choices, a program for couples who are about to get married. Other counselling organisations offer similar programs for individual couples or in groups.

Music

St John's is noted for its fine acoustics and has a renowned pipe organ, a chamber organ and a Steinway grand piano. Dr Greg Crawford, the Director of Music and organist, is available to play at weddings.  He is happy to help with the selection of music. Couples contact him about six weeks before the wedding to discuss their music.

Visiting musicians must ask Dr Crawford for permission to play St John's instruments.

St John’s considers that traditional music works best in this traditional church, but couples are free to choose their own style. However the church does not have a sophisticated sound system. If electronic music is the preferred option, couples must contact St John’s sound engineer, Michael Cant, to ensure compatibility.

Couples are welcome to organise an additional instrumental or vocal soloist or group to perform during the ceremony, and St John’s can provide some names. The cost is in addition to the Wedding Package.

Flowers

A large arrangement of white flowers is included in the Wedding Package, which remains in the church for the following Sunday’s service. Colours can be arranged for a small additional charge.

Confetti

Confetti must not be used inside or outside the church. St John’s opens directly onto Halifax Street; therefore throwing confetti is an offence under the Litter Act.

Alternatively, fresh or dried rose petals, rice or bubbles are environmentally friendly. These can be thrown in the garden, but, please note, not inside the church. Fabric rose petals are also not permitted.

Photography and Video recording

A photographer and/or video photographer are welcome.

Good professional photographers are able to record the service unobtrusively. St John’s leaves it to couples to give clear instruction and/or to invite them to attend the rehearsal.

St John’s asks that if possible no additional lighting be used and that flash photography be kept to a minimum.

The Ceremony

The ringing of the bell in the entry porch in Halifax Street heralds the bride's arrival at the church.

wedding bellThe bridal procession, to the accompaniment of organ or other stirring music, moves down the central aisle to the altar. Usually the bride and groom face each other in front of the priest, with the bridal party in a semicircle behind. That way all participants are in full view of the family and guests.

The priest begins the ceremony by welcoming everyone. Hymns, readings and a prayer usually precede the consent of the couple to marry. The exchange of vows and rings follows. The legal signing of the register is done at a table at the side of the altar, again in full view. The priest gives his blessing and the newlyweds, followed by the bridal party, move down the aisle, again to music, through the other porch and out into the garden.

The ceremony lasts about 35 minutes, depending on the choice of readings, hymns and other music. St John’s usually follows the traditional Anglican service, but is open to variations. Couples can choose the hymns, songs, readings and additional music to include in the ceremony. Some couples choose to have none! St John’s can help with suggestions, and also with the order of service. You are welcome to write your own vows or variations on the traditional vows.

Wedding Times

While Saturday afternoons are the most popular times, some couples prefer Sunday afternoons as being more relaxed. Saturday morning weddings are another option, and St John’s occasionally holds weddings during the week. During daylight saving twilight weddings are something different. St John’s does its best to be accommodating.

If there is more than one wedding on the same day, an interval of two hours between is required so as to avoid any possibility of overlap.

We do ask brides to try and be on time as late arrivals give rise to anxiety on the part of guests and St John’s staff. Staff often have several commitments on the day and are not expected to wait indefinitely

Wedding Fee

The fee for the Wedding Package is quoted on personal application.  It is subject to annual review at the end of June each year, so that for example, the fee for 2011 will be decided in June 2010.  St John's does not anticipate that the increase for 2011 will be substantial.

The fee is not subject to GST.

Reductions are not made for choosing an alternative clergy person, musician or florist.

Please make out cheques to Father Christoper Myers. (Sorry, St John's cannot accept credit cards.) The fee is usually paid at the rehearsal.

Booking Confirmation

Temporary telephone bookings are valid for one month.

On the return of the booking form, St John’s sends a letter of confirmation, suggests a rehearsal time, and outlines relevant steps the couple needs to take leading up to the wedding.

Interview

The Priest-in-Charge, Father Christopher Myers, is contacted six weeks before the wedding for an interview. This includes completing the Notice of Intended Marriage form and finalising details.

Reminder

St John's requires couples to designate a member of the wedding party, a family member or a guest to check that all items brought to the church are removed afterwards, on the day of the ceremony. These may include your pew bows, orders of service and baskets, as well as any unused drinks, food, drinks and trays.

While St John’s makes every effort to ensure that these are put aside, it cannot guarantee their safety.