Barham Downs Churches

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

01227 941561
Email Us



Weddings & Common Licences

  • To publish banns in two churches and have the certificate costs £76 whereas a Common Licence costs £200. We are grateful to the Commissary-General/Chancellor who has cut the fee to £100 (Registry fee now £74 and Surrogate’s fee £26). Although this is still more than than the cost of banns, we recommend that where banns have not been completed, the banns fee is refunded to the couple. 

  • Banns are only valid for three months so if a new date for a wedding is agreed, please check the banns have not expired (including the ‘away’ banns, if appropriate, as they may well have been called at a different time). If banns need to be called again, we recommend that no further fee is charged in these cases. 

  • Couples who would like like to reschedule their wedding date to a later time can contact Rev Stefan Thomas (01227 668190)


Here, and on the linked pages above, is a brief explanation of what a church wedding involves. Also the following websites will be a help:

A Church Near You (ACNY) 
This site will be able to let you know where your nearest parish church is when applying for Banns to be read. All you need to do is type in your postcode.

Your Church Wedding
This is an excellent site for couples to explore all options about how to plan their weddings.

Wedding at Bishopsbourne

We will do all we can to make this a very special occasion for you, but also to help you come to a deeper understanding of how Christian faith can help you build a stronger relationship that can withstand the many pressures of modern life. We hope that by choosing to come to church (rather than a Register Office or other authorized location) you are seeking God's blessing on your life together.

Can we get married in one of the Barham Downs churches?

Yes – if one of you is (or was) a resident of one of these parishes, if your parents live here, or if one of you worships (or has worshipped) here. If none of these are applicable, it may still be possible, but you will need to chat with us to discuss your situation.

What if I/my partner have been married before?

If either of you have been married previously, there is a slightly longer procedure in which the circumstances of your previous marriage have to be discussed, and special permission may have to be obtained from the Bishop before a wedding date can be booked. Our belief is that marriage should be for life, though sometimes we do all make mistakes; but God is also forgiving and generous in his dealings with us all.

What if I/my partner is a foreign national?

Recent changes to the Law in Britain (March 2015) have introduced different procedures for those who are not British nationals.

At your first meeting we will ask you to bring your Passport (or other proof of nationality). If both partners are British citizens, you can get married after the calling of Banns in the traditional way.

If one of you has nationality of an EEC country, we will arrange for you to get a Common Licence. If one of you has any other nationality, you now have to make an appointment to go to the local Registrar (Canterbury, Ramsgate, Maidstone, Dartford or Tunbridge Wells) and get a Superintendent Registrar’s Certificate. This replaces the calling of Banns.

The basic procedure

  • As soon as possible, please make contact to make a provisional booking. As far as possible we try to fit in with your chosen date and time, but there may be other bookings, or a priest may not be available.
  • We will supply you with an Application Form that needs to be filled in at this stage. On other pages of this web site you will find plenty of material which we hope will cover many of the different aspects of marriage, and help you start planning a service that is personal to you.
  • Near the beginning of each year we normally have a Marriage Preparation Day for all wedding couples to talk about marriage, wedding plans, practical arrangements, and discuss the Christian understanding of marriage. The day includes a delicious buffet lunch, and a ‘mock’ wedding in Kingston church in the afternoon. This normally takes place at Kingston Barn from 10.30 am to 3.15 pm normally 2nd and 4th Saturday of February - please feel free to contact us if you would like to attend either of these.
  • Two to three months before your wedding day, we will meet again to go through the arrangements, and try to make the ceremony as personal as possible.
  • If you are being married after the calling of Banns, that will be done in the church where you are to be married, and also in your home parish if you live elsewhere. We will give you the relevant dates (which will be during the three months before your wedding). To confirm the parish in which you live, click here.
    You are welcome to  be present in church to hear the banns read; though we do understand that going to church three times in a row might be too much for some!
  • A day or two before your wedding we will need to hold a rehearsal in church, which will also involve the bridesmaids, best man and bride’s father (or whoever will be giving her away). It is helpful if the ushers and others directly involved are also present at that time.
  • The final step is your special day! We hope that with careful planning it will be a wonderful day for you both, and we pray that God will bless you and you will have a long and happy life together.