Publication of banns of marriage

Changes to the law of the publication of banns of marriage came into effect on 19 December 2012. This relates to the wording used and the service(s) at which banns may be published:

1.  The Measure provides statutory authority for the use of the form of words for the publication of banns contained in Common Worship: Pastoral Services (as an optional alternative to the form of words contained in the Book of Common Prayer)

2.  The Measure requires that the publishing of Banns (on three Sundays, as at present) must be at the ‘principal service’ (rather than, as at present, at ‘morning service’). There is an optional provision that they may additionally be published at any other service on those three Sundays.

Please note that the recent change in the law relates to the ‘time of publication’ on a particular Sunday. The law on the ‘dates of publication’ remains unchanged. Banns are to be published on three Sundays preceding the marriage but there is no requirement that these must be three successive Sundays.

The Church of England Legal Office has provided a more detailed briefing setting out the changes, which can be found here.