Do it yourself wedding – Sidmouth venue offers £4 an hour rate for couples

Unitarian Church in Sidmouth. Ref shs 46 19TI 4098. Picture: Terry Ife

Unitarian Church in Sidmouth. Ref shs 46 19TI 4098. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Couples trying to plan their wedding on a shoestring budget may not have to look far, as one Sidmouth venue can be hired for just £4 an hour.

The Unitarian Church, also known as Dissenter of Sidmouth, in All Saints Road, offers a 'do it yourself' wedding.

The church made headlines in 2015 when it became the first church in Devon to secure a licence to offer same-sex marriages.

The church offers a venue 'free from religious regulation and from all but minimum state interference'. All couples need to do is bring a license from the county council registrar with them.

By contrast, from January 1 Church of England churches will charge £463 for a marriage service, which does not include charge of heating, the service of the verger, music, bells or flowers.

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A leaflet for the church says 'customise your ceremony - religious or secular, same-sex or traditional, low-cost or luxury'.

Since getting the licence in 2015 there has been no same-sex wedding in the town.

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The church remains under the radar with only one funeral in January and its first wedding of the year in December.

Robert Crick, treasurer, said: "We are licensed for same-sex, mixed-sex, religious or civil ceremonies. It is a do it yourself wedding and it costs £4 an hour.

"We do not want to make too much work for ourselves. We put it on the leaflet and see if anyone notices it."

The church has been used by couples where one person is seeking a religious ceremony and the other is atheist, allowing them to create a service to suit them.

Mr Crick's wife, Viv, is an authorised witness who checks the certificates and completes the register and official forms for couples.

He added: "It is there if there is a conflict in religions or if you are gay but wanting something not as soulless as a registry office."

Sidmouth Unitarian church and its adjoining facilities and surrounding grounds are together known as 'Dissenter of Sidmouth' due to its central location in town.

The 'poor church' as it is also known was built over three centuries ago, following the 17th century English Civil War.

Recently the church unveiled the refurbishment of its musician gallery which has been in the church since Victorian times.

To find out more contact 01395 519292.

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