As from 19 December 2012, the law with regard to Banns will change very slightly (and to a large extent in ways that will simply reflect existing practice).

1. Legal effect is being given to the form of words that can be found in the Common Worship Marriage Service at page 132 paragraph 2. This is already widely used, and the purpose of the change is to underscore its availability. Equally, clergy may continue to use the Book of Common Prayer announcement.

2. Banns must continue to be read on three separate Sundays during the three months prior to the wedding service. However, a new definition of ‘Principal Service’ has been provided, so that clergy are not bound to read the Banns at ‘Morning Service’ but may do so at whichever service ‘the greatest number of persons who habitually attend public worship are likely to attend’. In addition, Banns may be read again on the same day if there is a pastoral reason for doing so (for example, if the couple concerned do not attend the ‘principal service’ but attend an evening service). But if Banns are read twice on the same day, that still only constitutes ‘one time of asking’, and they will still need to be read on two other Sundays.

There will be a further change in relation to Banns and Qualifying Connections early in the New Year, but we will write separately about this when the time comes. Watch this space!