Church of Scotland

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Church of Scotland Ceremonies

Introduction
It is not only couples living north of the border who can enjoy a Church of Scotland wedding ceremony. Since 1st January 1978, believers of other faiths can now be married in the Church of Scotland as long as they believe in monogamy and the vows that they are to take. Religious ceremonies may be conducted at any time and in any place in Scotland including Scottish churches.

Legal Requirements
Unlike the Church of England, banns are not published and there are no residency requirements, although notice has to be given to a registrar no later than 15 days before the wedding date. If everything is in order then the District Registrar will issue a Marriage Schedule not more than seven days before the date of the ceremony. This must be given to the minister officiating at the marriage ceremony before the service begins.

The Church of Scotland is generally happy to marry divorced couples although you will be asked to clarify the circumstances of your divorce and your minister will want to be sure that your new marriage will not be detrimental to you or any children involved. The minister has the right to refuse to marry a couple.

For more information, see the Scottish section of our Marriage Legal Requirements article.

Preparing for a Church of Scotland Wedding

The Church of Scotland believes that marriage should be a lifelong commitment so your minister may wish to see you beforehand to help you to understand the nature of the decision you are making and discuss the order of service.

On the day, your ushers should be the first to arrive at the church, about 45 minutes before the ceremony, and be primed about where guests will sit. The front right hand pew is reserved for the groom and best man and his close family sit in the second pew behind him. The front left-hand pew is reserved for your parents and bridal attendants. Split up their duties so that someone can supervise parking arrangements, hand out buttonholes, order of service sheets and prayer and hymn-books.

Your groom and best man should arrive at the church at least 30 minutes before the ceremony begins so that they can greet guests as they arrive. Your guests will arrive at the church 15 to 20 minutes before the ceremony begins and are shown to their seats by the ushers.

The next to arrive at the church are your bridesmaids and your mother who usually wait until you arrive. The chief usher will then escort your mother to her seat, which is the cue to the organist and guests that you have arrived.

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