Frequently Asked Questions
Dates the Church is unavailable for weddings: Christmas Eve (24 December), Christmas Day (25 December), Holy Week and Easter (2019, 13-22 April; 2020, 4-13 April; 2021, 27 March-4 April)
The following answers most of the questions those considering being married at St. John’s ask, and provides all of the details the majority of those planning a wedding at St John’s need. There are 14 sections, do please read each carefully.
1. WHO CAN BE MARRIED AT ST. JOHN’S?
Anyone desiring to be married in the church may do so. There are, however, some requirements and conditions as set out below. Please read this section carefully.
You must agree to be married according to the rites of the Anglican Church of Australia (this is both a church and a legal requirement). The rites of the church are set out in full on the Ceremony step by step page.
We deeply regret that at the present time, it is not legally possible for Anglican clergy to conduct marriage services for couples of the same sex. We look forward to the day when we will be able to do so. Until this legal problem is addressed however, the clergy of St. John’s would be pleased to welcome any couple, including couples of the same sex, to have a service for the blessing of their marriage, including a renewal of vows, following a legal marriage conducted by a celebrant licensed to do so. Please contact the clergy for further information.
An Anglican priest must preside. It is not possible for priests, pastors, or ministers ordained in traditions other than the Anglican Church, nor for Civil Celebrants, to conduct a marriage at St. John’s. See further below at ‘3. Celebrant’.
You do not need to live in the parish area.
You do not need to be a ‘member’ of our church or of another church. St. John’s is well used to conducting marriages where one or both parties to the marriage have an affiliation with Christian churches other than the Anglican Church, are from non-Christian traditions, adherents to other religions, or have ‘no religion.’
If one or both partners to the marriage have been married previously, and are divorced, this will not prevent you being married in our church. The priest who will conduct the wedding will need to make application to the Bishop for permission to conduct the marriage after speaking to you and discussing your situation. This can be discussed at the first meeting, or in advance with the Vicar.
The Anglican Church of Australia requires that one party to the marriage must be baptised in the Christian tradition – the baptism may have been conducted in any recognised Christian church or denomination.
At St. John’s we have had the great joy and privilege of baptising into the Christian tradition many who have come to St. John’s to be married over the years, so if you have not been baptised previously, why not consider it now? See the Baptism page for more information.
2. FIRST CONTACT
The Marriages Act 1961 requires that at least one month’s notice be given to the proposed celebrant before the marriage takes place. Couples desiring to be married at St. John’s should contact the parish office to check that the time and date desired is available. At this point a tentative booking can be made, although this will not be confirmed until a non-refundable deposit of $500 has been paid.
All ordained ministers of our church (the Anglican church) undergo extensive training, and by virtue of what they do on a daily basis, develop highly professional skills in leading services, addressing gatherings of people, and in public speaking. The celebrant at St. John’s will normally be one of the parish clergy, the Vicar, The Revd Dr. Peter French or the Assistant Curate, The Revd Elizabeth Murray. In the event of either of our clergy being unavailable, a replacement Anglican priest will be found. Where couples have an existing relationship with another Anglican priest they may seek permission from St. John’s to invite that priest to conduct their marriage. This must be done in writing to the Vicar. Please note that St. John’s, as an Anglican church, may only be used for the purposes of Anglican worship with an Anglican priest presiding. It is not possible for the church to be “hired out” or “used” for other purposes, nor is it possible for clergy (priests, ministers or pastors) from churches other than the Anglican Church to conduct marriages at St. John’s. Ordained ministers of other Christian churches may, however, assist and participate, usually at the point of the homily (sermon) and/or prayers. Couples desiring this must contact St. John’s to discuss this and to obtain approval to do so, before inviting another minister to participate. Under no circumstances may a civil celebrant preside at, nor lead, nor participate in, any part of a marriage service at St. John’s.
4. NOTICE OF INTENTION TO MARRY
All couples being married at St. John’s must arrange to meet with the priest who will be celebrant at their marriage to complete and sign a Notice of Intention to Marry (NOIM) form, which must be lodged with the celebrant at least one month prior to the wedding taking place. Please complete this requirement as soon as possible. The NOIM form can be downloaded here, but must be signed and witnessed in the presence of the proposed celebrant. To complete the NOIM form both parties to the marriage will need to supply original birth certificates or extracts, or a Passport, to verify their date of birth. If one or both parties to the marriage have been previously married, evidence of the end of the previous marriage must also be provided (this will usually be in the form of a document issued by the Family Court in the event of divorce, or a the certificate of death for the previous spouse if a widow or widower).
5. FIRST MEETING
A wedding booking may be taken by phone, or other forms of communication, and confirmed at any time. The next step will be the first meeting with the priest who will be the celebrant. Apart from meeting and discussing marriage, and taking the opportunity to find out a bit about those being married in our church, another purpose of this meeting is to sign the NOIM form (described above). The appointment is made by contacting the parish office.
6. MARRIAGE PREPARATION
St John’s strongly encouages all couples being married in the church to undertake a recognised course of marriage preparation such as the relationship program offered by Lifeworks.
Our fees are set by the Parish Council and are all inclusive. The fees include:
The celebrant, for the rehearsal and wedding
A professional musician (organist, and co-ordinator of the music used during the ceremony)
A verger (who prepares the church, with red carpet on the steps, aisle candles, bows at the end of the pews, operates the sound system, and clears up the church afterward). During Advent and Christmas please be aware there will be decorations in the church which cannot be removed.
A bellringer – the bells are rung as the bride arrives and at the conclusion of the service
Flowers – two large arrangements at the front of the church. Under no circumstances after the ceremony may the flowers be removed from the church.
All documentation and lodging of all forms
Assistance and support from the parish office as required
The fees also includes a contribution to the upkeep of the historic church and the gardens
The fee for a wedding at St John’s Toorak is $2,900, deposit $500. The fees are made up of two components:
(i) A deposit (non-refundable) of $500 paid within a month of confirming the booking
(ii) A further payment of $2,400 paid in full no less than one month prior to the date of the wedding
Payment can be made by the following means:
(i) Cheque made out to ‘St. John’s Toorak’ and mailed to St. John’s Anglican Church, 86 Clendon Rd, Toorak, Victoria, 3142.
(ii) Credit card, details provided by phone or in person, during business hours, to the parish office.
(iii) Bank transfer, using the surnames of the bride and groom in the subject or reference line, to BSB 033086 Account Number 871931. Couples paying by bank transfer should send an email to the parish office advising that payment has been made by this method and requesting an email receipt.
8. THE REHEARSAL
The rehearsal normally takes place during the week prior to the wedding. Typically the rehearsal will take about 30 minutes. The main purpose of the rehearsal is to practise the entry of the bride and her attendants into the church, and to give the bride and the groom some practical instructions about where things happen and how the service proceeds. The time and date of the rehearsal is arranged in consultation with the celebrant.
9. THE CEREMONY
10. CONFETTI etc.
Please ask your guests to refrain from throwing anything at the entrance of the church, as a courtesy to other weddings taking place on the same day and to maintain the beauty of the church grounds. Biodegradable matter only (i.e. rose petals and potpourri) may be thrown in the church grounds on the south lawn (along Clendon Road). Paper products (e.g. confetti) are not to be used, nor should rice be thrown as it becomes a trip hazard on paths when wet.
11. PHOTOGRAPHS AND VIDEOS
The church has no objection to professional photographers taking photographs of the service nor to the ceremony being filmed by a videographer arranged by the couple being married. It is important that the photographer and/or videographer introduce themselves to the clergy before the service begins and heeds all instructions given by the celebrant.
12. BUXTON HALL
The beautifully decorated and recently renovated Buxton Memorial Hall, adjacent to the church, offers a wonderful environment for drinks and canapes between the ceremony and reception, or formal wedding receptions. Located on site at St. John’s, Buxton Hall further provides the convenience of not having to drive or travel to a subsequent location. Click here to go to the Buxton Hall page.
The parish office, during business hours (03) 98261765.