I'm quite new to this vicar business. Indeed, although I have now led 30 or 40 communion services, baptised a couple of dozen or so babies and conducted two funerals (a while ago) I've never taken a wedding service myself.
Now our church is lovely, but modern and brick-built. And other churches are chocolate-box-lovely and all mellow stone etc. And my question is this (and I hope somebody reading this may have an idea):
Why does the Church of England set rates for weddings centrally? Why can't we price a wedding to compete with the Registry Office (because we know people go to the Registry to save money), and St Martin's in the Fields' charge the going rate for a prime central London location with all the trimmings? If we can charge a sensible rate for a wedding, then we can allow more people to marry in church - and with that goes all the pastoral support we can offer and more meaning to those being married.