Humanist weddings and Civil Partnership ceremonies are an alternative for those wanting a non-religious ceremony. Civil ceremonies must be conducted in approved premises whereas humanist ceremony can take place anywhere, from a back garden to a beach. A humanist ceremony will be individually written for each couple following an extensive meeting to determine what is wanted and it may include poetry and music as well as some sort of symbolic act in addition to the more usual exchange of rings. I will be able to offer suggestions as to what is possible.
Understanding you and your ideas
One of the best parts about choosing to have a humanist wedding ceremony is the commitment any humanist celebrant will make to get to know you as a couple before the ceremony. Not only does this allow us to talk through any ideas you have for the ceremony and ask advice, but it also means that your ceremony will be led by someone you feel that you know.
It may be that you have very clear ideas about your ceremony, but don’t worry if not, I will be there to help you. In addition, any couple who choose to have me conduct their ceremony can request a login to the Wedding Extras part of this site where there are a collection of pieces of information I have collected over the years.
A ceremony will usually include some promises, commitments as well as some readings and music, although the exact order of service is tailored to your needs.
Promises and commitments
The words which you speak in your ceremony are often referred to as promises and commitments. You are free to write these yourselves or I can help you craft them. There are also sample promises and commitments which have been drafted by the BHA and can be used to help frame your ceremony.
Many people choose to have some form of reading as part of their ceremony. This might be a poem, reading from a play or book or even the words of a favourite song. I am able to give advice about readings which might be suitable for your ceremony.
It is completely up to you which pieces of music you want to include in your ceremony. Most people like to incorporate some music which is relevant to them, although others choose music they may not have heard before but think is particularly appropriate to their ceremony.
Unlike Civil Ceremonies, humanist wedding ceremonies can be conducted anywhere you want – in a field, on the beach, in your back garden. I am also willing to conduct ceremonies abroad, please contact me to discuss any particular requirements you have with regards the location of your ceremony.
The legal bits
As humanist ceremonies are not legally recognised in England, in order for your wedding or civil partnership to be legally recognised you would need to have a civil ceremony. Many people choose to have a quiet civil ceremony in advance of their humanist ceremony which is the ceremony in which they make the promises and commitments they have chosen to make, in front of their family and friends.
Humanist ceremonies are legally recognised in Scotland and in a number of other countries around the world.
“Thank you so much for being a part of our special day. It has been wonderful working with you. Thank you for being so patient and so inspirational, it has been so very lovely to know that you were there!”
Rebecca and Duncan Hurley
“We don’t really think words can explain how much we appreciate everything you have done to make our wedding day so wonderful. The day was so fabulous and we enjoyed every minute so thank you so much for your wise advice and support throughout the preparations and for your calmness on the day! You conducted a truly personal and intimate ceremony for us with such warmth. We have gorgeous memories to treasure forever and you helped in their creation so we will always be grateful to you.”
Mark and Charlotte Allison
“Thank you for all your help in making our day so special. Everyone commented on how wonderful the ceremony was.”
Liz and Jon Ward
“We really do appreciate everything you did for the ceremony. It was exactly as we wanted it. Such a lovely atmosphere, and an amazing start to a great day. So many people commented on it and said how much they enjoyed it. We had a fantastic time.”
Alasdair and Sue Cochrane
“Thank you very much for doing an absolutely superb job with our wedding ceremony – we both thought that it was perfect; being warm and personal. We felt that it was very true to ‘us’ and plenty of people have commented on what a lovely ceremony it was. So thank you again for all of your help both in planning our ceremony and in conducting it!”
Poppy and Will Flanagan
“A big thank you for your presence and prowess as a celebrant. We loved our ceremony and felt that you delivered it brilliantly and we have had loads of compliments about how personal it was. Thank you for all your help both before and on the day.”
James and Sarah Cas