USA Today's Cathy Lynn Grossman notes that the Church of England has ramped up its marketing to attract more couples to choose a church for their wedding venue.
A new video on the CofE's official wedding website, YourChurchWedding.org kicks off with a woman priest (controversial with conservative Anglicans but who's raining on the parade) talking about how you pretty much don't even have to be Christian. (No mention on whether you have to be male/female, however). Neither need you be British(although it means extra paperwork)Read (and watch) here.
Happy customers wax poetic about how church staff were willing to help with all the arrangements right down to the car parking. Why bother with renting a hall or a garden when you can step right in to any fabulous stained-glass historic church with almost no pre-requisites (well, maybe you might have to attend church a few Sundays in advance but no biggie.) And it's all pretty much whatever you want including no need to promise to "obey."
I don't have the stats to tell me whether this promotional push (C0fE is working the wedding exhibition circuit, too, like all the other vendors) is driven by the financial needs of the aging stock of churches or the growing competition of civil marriages in an increasingly secular country.
Or maybe, just maybe, it's a glossy attempt to draw people in with the subtle hope that people will be so enchanted with the church and the compliant vicars that they'll stick around and get acquainted with Christianity.