Barham Downs Churches

  • The Rectory
  • The Street, Barham
  • Canterbury
  • Kent
  • CT4 6PA

01227 941561
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A printed Order of Service

Most couples tend to have a printed Order of Service, and many choose to do it themselves. Please ask if we can help you by providing the text, including the words of hymns. We are also happy to look at a 'proof' before you go to print, just in case anything may need changing.

When you decide on how many to print, be generous on the quantity as you may wish to keep a few copies to send to absent family members. Also, if you have booked a choir, they will need copies as well.


Normally each church is decorated with a flower arrangement somewhere near the Altar. These are done by local volunteers, often using whatever flowers are available at the time. If we know what your 'colour' is for the wedding, we will ask the flower arrangers if they can include that in their display.

The only exceptions are the weeks of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) and Lent (the six weeks before Easter) where normally churches are left without flowers. This is so that there can be a significant contrast when flowers are brought back in for the festivals of Christmas and Easter.

Many couples choose to supplement the normal flower arrangement. Sometimes there may be a skilled flower arranger in the family who enjoys doing some arrangements. Most churches have odd flower stands that can be used. Others choose to bring in a professional flower arranger - and that fine. But do remember that flower arrangements need to be dismantled before they look sad!

Another attractive idea can be to tie bows or small arrangements down the end of the pews or chairs of the centre aisle. And sometimes people have decided to do an arch of flowers or greenery either over the church door or the church gate. Fell free to come up with creative ideas!

Flower Girls

Sometimes people appoint one of more small girls to be 'Flower Girls' who will go before the bride and scatter petals. If you wish to do this, please ensure that someone is appointed to sweep them up afterwards!

Calling Banns

This legal requirement goes back several centuries, when the names of couples had to be read out in their home villages to give people the opportunity to object if either were already married. Today, with the population being far more mobile, and fewer people going to church, the chances of your names even being known by the church congregation are somewhat remote. However, the law still requires this to be done, and also requires us to charge a Fee. Banns need to be read in the parish(es) where you live and where you will be married (if different) and other parishes have to supply a Certificate to the church where the wedding takes place to prove that no objection has been raised. If you need to be sure in which parish you live, click here and enter your Postcode.


It is usually a good idea to appoint one or two 'Ushers'. These will welcome people, hand out Orders of Service, ensure people have appropriate seats, be available in case of any problems, and do a bit of tidying up afterwards – including the flower petals already mentioned!


Most couples employ a photographer to record the event. We are very happy to assist in this, but we do ask that flash is not used during the service itself, and also that the photographer remains in one position rather than moving around, which can be distracting. We can usually suggest the best position to place a tripod.

When it comes to the signing of Registers, for some legal reason the actual signing is not supposed to be photographed. To get around this, we pose a signing immediately after you have actually done it. For this, obviously the photographer needs to move into an appropriate position.

If you also wish to have video made of your wedding, there are additional issues of copyright and performing rights as far as music and singing are concerned. We can offer advice on this, and there has to be an additional fee charged – currently £40. Following a recent legal judgement, this also applies if someone is taking a video of your wedding on their mobile phone.

Mobile Phones

The mention of mobile phones in the last paragraph is a reminder that increasingly people disturb weddings when their phones start ringing. It's a good idea to get your ushers to politely ask people to switch off their phones, or at least switch to aircraft mode or silent, for the duration of the service.


If you wish to have confetti thrown, please ask people to use either bio-degradable confetti or rose petals – otherwise it's a nightmare to try and sweep it up afterwards! We also suggest that people hold on to their confetti until the photographer asks them to throw it - that way it can be orchestrated into a lively photograph.

Disability Requirements.

We can accommodate disabled people in each of the churches, although Womenswold access requires you to help carry wheelchairs up and down steps.

In Barham, where there are chairs, it is very easy to remove a chair or two so that wheelchairs can be incorporated into the main area of seating. Barham also has a hearing loop, and a toilet at the back.


It is often a good idea to appoint someone to act as a car park attendant, and to help people park appropriately.

Barham has plenty of parking alongside the church, and cars are asked to park at 90° to the direction of traffic so that more cars can be accommodated. Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes (such as coaches) need to come down from the A2, not up from the village centre.

Bishopsbourne has some street parking, but we can also put you in touch with the owner of the field opposite if you wish to use that.

Kingston has limited street parking, and we recommend booking Kingston Barn both for its parking, and also for its toilets.

Womenswold is somewhat limited on available parking.

In each church we reserve an appropriate space close to the church for the bridal car.