A Guide to being married in church

This page has been prepared to help couples interested in being married in Dumbarton Riverside. If you would like more information, or would like to book your wedding, please contact the Minister.

Booking the wedding

Contact the Minister after the service on Sunday, by telephone through the Church Office on 01389 726685 or at office@dumbartonriverside.org.uk to arrange a meeting to discuss matters further.

You do not need to be a member of this or any church to be married in Dumbarton Riverside. However, your marriage here will be a service of Christian worship and we hope that it will help you express your love, your commitment and your faith.

If you are not a member of Dumbarton Riverside, or you live outside the Parish, you will be asked first to contact your own Parish Minister who has the right to insist that if the wedding is to be in the Church of Scotland, it must be conducted by him/her in his/her church. In most cases your Parish Minister will have no objection to the wedding being in Dumbarton Riverside.

Fixing the date

You probably have a specific date in mind, and usually there is no problem in arranging the wedding on your preferred day. However, should either the minister or the church not be available that day, it may be necessary to choose either an alternative day or venue.

Fixing the time

Most weddings begin at 2.00pm, 2.30pm or 3.00pm. When choosing the time take into account the following factors:

  • are there going to be any evening guests? It is better to have the meal and speeches finished at least 15-20 minutes before the evening guests are due to arrive. It is also annoying for a band or disco if they have to hang around before they can set up their equipment
  • when do you aim to eat? Check with the venue for your reception when you aim to eat and how long they expect the meal and speeches to take
  • allow time for people to meet, chat and mingle before they eat
  • allow time for travelling to the Reception
  • allow ample time for photographs at the church and anywhere else

(If necessary details of the timing can be adapted nearer to the date as details of the day become clearer).

The length of the service

About 20-30 minutes, including time for signing the Schedule.

The Marriage Schedule

The Schedule is vital – without it the wedding cannot take place!

You must contact the Registrar about six weeks before the wedding and complete a Marriage Notice. You will need to take with you birth certificates (and, if either of you has been married before, marriage certificate, divorce papers or death certificate).

A few days before the wedding you collect the Marriage Schedule from the Registrar. This must be given to the Minister before the start of the service. After the service it is signed by the Minister, the newly married couple and two witnesses over the age of 16.

After the wedding the Marriage Schedule must be returned to the Registrar within 3 days – so if you are going away on honeymoon you will need to arrange for someone to do this on your behalf.

To find out more, visit the West Dunbartonshire Council website, call at the Municipal Buildings in College Street Dumbarton or phone 01389 738350.

The Service

The central part is the Exchange of vows/promises and ring(s), after which the Minister declares you to be husband and wife. Around that are hymns, readings from the Bible and prayers. At the end of the service the Bridal Party sign the Marriage Schedule, before processing out of church.

The Minister who is conducting the service has the final decision on its shape and content, but is happy to consider requests for particular hymns, readings or for a friend or relative to read.


You will be able to choose from one of four sets of vows. For those who are interested, there is no promising ‘to obey’.


It is customary to have hymns and music at weddings in church, but it is not compulsory.

The usual musical items are:

  • music played quietly before the bride arrives (usually the organist’s choice)
  • Processional music for the entry of the Bridal Party
  • opening hymn
  • closing hymn
  • music played quietly while the Marriage Schedule is being signed
  • Recessional music for the exit of the wedding party.

The Minister and Organist will be happy to assist in selecting hymns and music

Order of Service

It is a matter of choice, and budget, whether you have a printed Order of Service. Many people do have them, but some prefer to use hymn-books. The Minister will be happy to provide guidance on what to include in the Order of Service if you have one

It is advisable to let the Minister see a copy of the draft Order of Service before going to print.

Other items relating to the Wedding Service


It is customary to have flowers in church at a wedding, but it is not compulsory. What you have will depend on your taste and budget. Discuss your thoughts with your florist. We can arrange for them to have a look at the church if they wish to plan their arrangements.

Photographs and Video

It is your special day, and you may wish to have it recorded on film, but it is also an act of worship, so any filming must be unobtrusive.

Photographs: We permit a photographer to take photos during the wedding, provided that there is no flash photography and that photographs are not taken during hymns, prayers or readings. Please ask your guests to refrain from taking photographs during the service.

Video: The service may be recorded provided that the person taking the video does not move about, and they have obtained permission from the Copyright-holder to record any hymns or music. Extra lighting should not be brought to the church. There is also an extra fee payable to the Organist if the service is recorded.


There is substantial car parking on the Quayside, behing the High Street, and limited access in the church grounds for the bridal cars and those with mobility problems.


Confetti should not be thrown in the church or grounds, as it makes an awful mess, especially on a wet Dumbarton day! Please notify your guests.

Mobile phones

Remind your guests to turn pagers and phones off, or put them in silent mode, during the service.


A rehearsal will be arranged for a few days before the wedding to familiarise the main people involved with where they will stand, what will happen etc.

Dumbarton Riverside: Scale of fees for weddings

Standard fees                                   

Use of the church, fees for Church Officer and Organist:

Riverside member – £220
Non-member – £330

A deposit of £50 is requested at the time that the booking is made. This will be refunded in the unfortunate event that the wedding arrangements do not proceed. Cheques should be drawn in favour of Dumbarton Riverside Parish Church. A letter of confirmation will be issued on receipt of the deposit.

The balance of the payment should be handed to the minister or to the Church Officer on the night of the rehearsal.

Additional fee paid to the Organist

 If the service is to be recorded on video then an additional £70 is due to be paid to the Organist (ie taking the total cost to £290 or £400).