Frequently Asked Questions
Dates the Church is unavailable for weddings: Christmas Eve (24 December), Christmas Day (25 December), Holy Week and Easter (2020, 4-13 April; 2021, 27 March-5 April; 2022, 9-18 April)
The following information answers most questions for those considering being married at St. John’s ask. It also provides the details you may need as you plan your wedding. There are 13 sections; do please read each carefully.
1. WHO CAN BE MARRIED AT ST. JOHN’S?
Anyone wishing 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.
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, nor do you need to be a ‘member’ of our church or of another church. St. John’s has conducted many 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.’ However, the Anglican Church of Australia does require that one party to the marriage 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 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.
If one or both partners to the marriage have been married previously and are divorced, this will not prevent you from 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 a member of the St. John’s clergy.
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 wishing to be married at St. John’s should contact the Parish Office to check that the desired time and date is available. At this point a tentative booking can be made. This booking will be confirmed when a non-refundable deposit of $500 has been paid. This payment is due within 30 days of this enquiry. If the deposit is not received, the date will be made available to other interested couples.
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 Keiron Jones. Weddings are allocated on the basis of clergy availability and, as with other celebrations, commemorations or sacraments, all St. John’s clergy share this ministry equally. In the event of either of our clergy being unavailable, another Anglican priest associated with the parish 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. This process is more straightforward if the Anglican priest holds a license in the Diocese of Melbourne.
Please note that St. John’s, as an Anglican church, may only be used for the purposes of Anglican worship with Anglican clergy presiding. It is not possible for the church to be “hired out” or “used” for other purposes. As mentioned above, it is not possible for clergy (priests, ministers or pastors) from churches other than the Anglican Church to conduct marriages at St. John’s. However, ordained ministers of other Christian churches may 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 obtain approval to do so, before inviting another minister to participate. Under no circumstances may a civil celebrant preside at, lead, or 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 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 little 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 encourages all couples being married in the church to undertake a recognised course of marriage preparation such as the relationship program offered by Relationship Matters (formerly Lifeworks) or Prepare/Enrich.
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 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 bell ringer – the bells are rung as the bride arrives and at the conclusion of the service Sample of Toorak Bells
* Flowers: two large arrangements at the front of the church. These flowers must not be removed from the church under any circumstances
* All documentation and lodging of all forms
* Assistance and support from the Parish Office as required
The fees also include a contribution to the upkeep of the historic church and the gardens.
The fee is $2,900, including a $500 deposit. 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:
(i) Cheque made out to ‘St. John’s Toorak’ and mailed to St. John’s Anglican Church, 86 Clendon Rd, Toorak, Victoria, 3142.
(ii) Bank transfer, using the surnames of the bride and groom in the subject or reference line, to BSB 033-086 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.
(iii) Credit card, details provided by phone or in person, during business hours, to the Parish Office. Please note that the following surcharges apply: Debit Card 1%, Credit Card 1.5%. We do not accept American Express.
8. THE REHEARSAL
The rehearsal normally takes place during the week prior to the wedding and takes approximately 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 inside the church. Biodegradable matter only (i.e. rose petals and potpourri) may be thrown in the church grouns. Paper products (e.g. confetti) are not to be used, nor should rice be thrown as it becomes a trip hazard on wet paths.
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 Buxton Memorial Hall adjacent to the church offers a wonderful environment for drinks and canapes between the ceremony and reception, or formal wedding receptions. It provides the convenience of not having to drive or travel to a subsequent location. Click here to go to the Buxton Hall page.
13. USE OF CHURCH AND GARDENS
St. John’s Church is a very popular church for weddings and occasionally there is more than one wedding on one day. Therefore, we must limit the time allocated for each wedding to two hours.