The principal law relating to marriage in Church of England parish churches is contained in The Marriage Act 1949. The Act provides that before a marriage can take place in a church, one of the following legal requirements must be fulfilled:

  1. The calling of Banns; or
  2. The issue of a Common Licence by the Bishop of the Diocese; or
  3. The issue of a Special Licence by the Archbishop of Canterbury; or
  4. The issue of a Superintendent Registrar’s certificate