London, July 14 (ANI): Brit couples may soon be able to exchange vows in the church where Liz Hurley married Arun Nayar, thanks to the Church of England that has relaxed rules allowing people to marry in any church of their choice without having a strong connection to the parish.
Some of the churches likely to be in demand include St Mary's in the gardens of Sudeley Castle, where Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar married, or St Mary the Virgin in Turville, Buckinghamshire, the setting for The Vicar of Dibley.
Church leaders hope that this will enable them to challenge costly stately, castles and hotels in the lucrative wedding market.
The move means permission can now be given to people who want to marry in churches they have little association with as long as they can prove "a qualifying connection" with a parish in the area or benefice.
Pleasant churches that are seen in movies, or are used for celebrity weddings, are expected to benefit from this move.
Members of the General Synod, the Church's parliament, agreed to the relaxation despite some clergy with attractive buildings having previously warned that they could be overwhelmed with requests.
Rt Rev John Packer proposed the motion and argued that the current bar to couples was hurtful and difficult to justify.
"It is always surprising how many people want to get married in churches at the ends of muddy lanes surrounded by cows," the Telegraph quoted Packer as saying.
He said that was important for a parish priest to be able to "work with a couple and their family to create the right ambience for the wedding to take place".
There has been a sharp decline in the number of people opting for a church ceremony over the last decade.
Since 1994, the number of civil weddings in 'approved premises' has risen to more than 50,000 a year, while Church of England marriages have dropped by 40 per cent over 10 years to about 55,000. (ANI)