Sodor and Man Diocesan Registry

Formalities for a Church wedding in the Isle of Man


1. These notes deal with the formalities for a wedding at a church or chapel of the Established Church (ie. the Anglican Church) in the Isle of Man. They do not apply to marriages at a non-conformist church or chapel. They are intended to be a brief outline only: further advice can be obtained from the Diocesan Registrar if required:

Diocesan Registrar
Sodor and Man Diocesan Registry
Stamford House
Piccadilly
York YO1 9PP

+44 (0)1904 623487
registrar@sodorandman.im

Also on this site are —

General

2. A request for a church wedding should in the first instance be made to the rector, vicar or priest-in-charge of the ecclesiastical parish in which the church where the wedding is to take place is situated. This will normally be a parish church of the parish in which the bride or groom lives. Certain churches and chapels other than parish churches are licensed by the Bishop for weddings.

For details of parishes, churches and clergy click here. Use the MannGIS online maps to find the parish in which any place is located (go to Local Information).

Age

3. No-one may be married who is under the age of 16. Parental consent is required where a party is under 18 (but may be dispensed with by the High Court if it is refused or cannot be obtained).

Where a wedding may take place

4. A wedding may take place after banns or by common licence (see below) either —

Note:
1. A church or chapel is the "usual place of worship" of any person if (and only if) he or she is on the church electoral roll of the parish in which it is situated.

2. A party has a "qualifying connection" with a parish if:

A wedding by authority of a registrar's certificate may take place only in the church or chapel specified in the certificate.

A wedding by special licence may take place at any convenient place.

Restrictions on marriage in church in certain cases

5. A clergyman is entitled by law to refuse to marry, or to allow his church to be used for the marriage of, certain couples:

5.1 if their relationship is listed in the Marriage Act 1984 Schedule 1 Part 2, eg. where one is the child of the other's former spouse;

5.2 if one of them has a former spouse or civil partner still living; (the Bishop has issued advice to the clergy on the exercise of this discretion;)

5.3 if one of them is the former spouse or civil partner of the other's parent, or the parent of the other's former spouse or civil partner;

5.4 if the gender of one of them is an "acquired gender" (under the Gender Recognition Act 2009).

Preliminary formalities

6. There are four different formalities allowed by law for a church wedding in the Isle of Man. NB These have changed with effect from 1 July 2023.

6.1 Banns

Marriage after banns is the usual procedure for a church wedding. Notice of the intended marriage is given by the minister at a church service on three Sundays. Banns must be called in each party's parish church, that is, the parish church of the parish in which each party is living at the time the banns are called. If the parties are living in different parishes, banns must be called in both parishes. If the wedding is to take place in another Anglican church or chapel which is the usual place of worship of a party (see 4. above), or in another Anglican church or chapel in a parish with which a party has a qualifying connection, (see 4. above) banns must be called there in addition.

At least 7 days' notice must be given to the minister of a parish before he may call banns. An application form is available. The wedding must take place within 3 months of the last calling of banns. If banns have been called in a parish other than that in which the wedding is to take place, a certificate of banns must be obtained and given to the minister who is to conduct the wedding.

If one of the parties lives in England, Wales or Jersey, banns called at that party's parish church there are valid for a wedding in the Isle of Man.

When applying for banns the parties must produce evidence (usually valid passports) that each of them is a British citizen or an Irish citizen. If this cannot be shown, the wedding must be authorised by a registrar's certificate (see 6.4 below).

6.2 Common licence

Marriage by common licence is an alternative procedure if there is a difficulty with banns, eg. because one of the parties is abroad. A marriage can take place under a licence granted by the Bishop, the Vicar General or a surrogate (one of the local clergy), and for this purpose one of the parties must —

The wedding must take place within 3 months of the issue of the licence.

When applying for a common licence the parties must produce evidence (usually valid passports) that each of them is a British citizen or an Irish citizen. If this cannot be shown, the wedding must be authorised by a registrar's certificate (see 6.4 below).

6.3 Special licence

The Bishop of Sodor and Man, in his discretion, may issue a special licence to marry at any convenient time or place in the Isle of Man. The application form for a special licence includes guidance notes, and guidelines indicating the matters to which the Bishop will have regard when considering applications for special licences.

6.4 Registrar's certificate

If either party is not a British citizen or Irish citizen, a wedding cannot take place after banns or by common licence. Unless a special licence is granted, the wedding may be authorised only by a registrar's certificate.

Enquiries about banns, a common licence or a registrar's certificate should be addressed to the vicar or rector of the parish where the wedding is to take place. Enquiries about a special licence should be addressed in the first instance to the Diocesan Registrar (address above).

Fees

7. Fees are payable for banns, licences and weddings. The principal fees are fixed by statute, and are as follows:

  From 1.1.24
Publication of banns
Certificate of banns £32.00
Bishop's special licence £280.00
Common licence £120.00
Marriage service £455.00
Marriage certificate £11.00

Other fees (eg. for church heating, music, videoing or recording of service) are set by the parish concerned. Details of such fees may be obtained from the rector or vicar of the parish.