Weddings at Oriel

Past and present members of the Oriel community are welcome to inquire about the possibility of having their wedding service in the Chapel. It is advisable to start the planning process between nine and twelve months in advance of the 

proposed date of the service. The Chaplain will be pleased to hear from you and discuss the possibility.

Oriel Chapel is part of the Church of England. A wedding is a public service and normally takes place in your local parish church in the community of which you are a part. Banns (legal notice of the intention to marry) are read in the parish church in the weeks beforehand. If, however, a couple wishes to be married somewhere else (such as a college chapel), there are a number of different formalities to address before any firm arrangements can be made. You must first obtain permission – a 'Special Licence' – from the Archbishop of Canterbury. You will need to apply for a Special Licence from his Faculty Office. You will normally be eligible for a Licence if one of you is:

  • A current or former student of Oriel College
  • A member of staff (academic or non-academic) of Oriel College
  • A child of a member of staff (academic or non-academic) of Oriel College
  • A former member of staff of longstanding service (academic or non-academic) of Oriel College

Weddings in Chapel are at the discretion of the Chaplain. Possible dates depend on the Chapel schedule, academic terms and vacations, and other events taking place in College. It is not normally possible to arrange a wedding at Christmastime or Easter. The Chapel seats 92 comfortably. A further 18-20 can be accommodated in the gallery but the view is very restricted. This makes a total capacity of about 110.

You should contact your local parish church to find out about doing a marriage preparation course. The Chaplain will require a letter from your local vicar and your may need his assistance in witnessing your application for a Special Licence.

A couple would normally meet with the Chaplain in Oriel two or three times during the months prior to the wedding to discuss the service in detail, and also to talk  about the meaning and purpose of marriage in a Christian context.

It is usually possible for public rooms in the College to be hired for a wedding reception.  All enquiries concerning the use of College rooms, and details of hire charges, should be addressed to the Events and Conference Co-ordinator: (01865) 276563, conferences@oriel.ox.ac.uk.

To learn more, please contact the Chaplain.