It might be helpful to first look at the difference between priests, vicars, pastors and ministers – it can get a little confusing, especially for those of us who are not frequent visitors to church, who choose a church for its aesthetic value, or because it’s convenient.
A pastor – a priest in charge of a parish; priests who are recently ordained tend to start as associate pastors.
A minister – in Christian churches a minister is authorised by a church to perform functions such as teaching of beliefs, leading services such as weddings and funerals and providing spiritual guidance.
A priest – authorised to perform the sacred rites of a religion.
A vicar – is a deputy or substitute. In the Anglican church a vicar is a type of parish priest; in the Roman Catholic church a vicar is a bishop or priest who heads a church not yet a full diocese.
Questions you might want to ask your minister:
- Can we marry in your church? Sounds pretty obvious, but if you’re not catholic or haven’t been confirmed, some churches will not marry you. Other churches may operate a parish jurisdiction – if you don’t live nearby you can’t marry; and yet others expect you to have attended church for at least six months
- Who will marry us? It may well depend on the date of your wedding as to who is most likely to marry you. If it’s a busy church, the priests divide up the various ceremonies between them
- How much will it cost? Each church has a different fee attached to a wedding and you need to possibly include a choir, an organist or even bell ringers
- Do we need to decorate the church? Not always necessary, as often the church has weekly flowers for services, but it’s good to know beforehand
- What does the minister need from you? A lot of churches expect you to undergo a marriage preparation course, there is the rehearsal to organise, you might need to choose the humns and readings, and you may need to supply certain documents like your ID
Happy Wedding Planning!