From beach huts to football stadiums, there are few places where you can’t get married these days – which might explain why some churches struggle to host more than a single wedding a year.
But one vicar is fighting back with a bargain deal that any couple would struggle to turn down.
While the average wedding costs an eye-watering £30,000-plus, the Reverend Mike Smith has come up with a package for just £1,000 – including the ceremony, flowers, cake, and food and drink for 30 guests.
Reverend Mike Smith (pictured with Larissa Dominy and Callum Franchetti) has come up with a wedding package for just £1,000
The ‘grand wedding’, as he has dubbed it, was announced last week and already two couples have snapped up the offer.
The Right Reverend Keith Sinclair, Bishop of Birkenhead, has volunteered to conduct the first service at St John’s Church in Hartford, Cheshire, in June.
Mr Smith said: ‘We believe that lifelong marriage between a man and a woman is God’s good gift to all, and that no one should be denied simply because of the cost.
‘In our grand wedding, you have to provide your own clothes but we’ll do the rest and give you a great day. We have done it by putting together a team of volunteers. The thing to remember is this is not a budget wedding – it is a grand wedding.’
This £1,000 buys invitations and orders of service, the church garlanded with blooms, a service, and a reception for 30 guests
The £1,000 buys invitations and orders of service, the church garlanded with blooms, a glamorous bouquet, a full wedding service complete with organist and verger, a reception for 30 guests in the modern church centre with wine and two-course meal, a two-tier wedding cake, and photos of the big day.
The church will waive its normal charges but £250 of the bill will be eaten up by non-negotiable diocesan fees.
Any alterations to a wedding dress also come as part of the deal, thanks to an expert seamstress who is a member of the congregation.
Receptionist Larissa Dominy, 23, and store manager Callum Franchetti, 25, will be having their £1,000 wedding at St John’s in September. Ms Dominy said: ‘It is just too good to be true.
‘Without this we would not be able to afford to get married for quite a few years. We don’t have savings or any family money to fall back on.’
The bride-to-be is now scouring charity shops for a suitable wedding gown.
Recent figures show that some Church of England parishes are likely to host only one wedding each year. Funerals outnumber weddings by five to one.
In the mid-1980s there were more than 120,000 weddings in churches – last year the figure had declined to just 38,000.