What is a humanist wedding ceremony?

Getting married is one of life’s biggest, best moments.  And your wedding day will celebrate the love and the commitment between you and your partner-for-life. A humanist wedding ceremony is a catalyst for all the joy that entails!  Putting love centre-stage, your ceremony will remind everyone how much there is to celebrate.  I experienced the magic of a humanist wedding in marrying Mr H. in our humanist wedding in 2005.  Now a humanist wedding celebrant myself, I am passionate about bringing real meaning and warmth to non-religious, personal wedding ceremonies.

A relevant & meaningful wedding ceremony

Humanist wedding ceremonies are not dictated by religious belief or a legal contract. Instead, they are built around the love between you and your partner and your commitment to each other. I will design a ceremony to reflect the things that are most important to you: the values that shape and define your relationship, the reasons you want to get married, and your hopes and dreams for the kind of future you want to share.

Your wedding ceremony, your way

A humanist ceremony is completely flexible. Whatever the atmosphere you’re looking to create for your big day, be it relaxed, romantic, or quirky and fun – as your celebrant it’s my job to deliver exactly that. There are no arbitrary rules and regulations about what can and can’t be done… or when, or how! And wherever you long to exchange your vows – in a beautiful room, or a characterful out-building, in a marquee, in a field, in a wood, or on a hillside – there are no limits on location.  Humanist ceremonies are very popular for natural, outdoor weddings.  I conduct far more ceremonies outside than in!

As unique as you are

One of things I love about being a wedding celebrant is the chance to really get to know couples. Every couple are unique; their experiences and their love stories are unique. So every humanist wedding ceremony I write is equally unique! Often, a big focus of the wedding ceremony is telling the story of a couple: how they met and fell for each other, and what experiences have led them to their wedding day.

Full of personality

On your wedding day – a day of celebration, all about love – don’t settle for a bland or boring ceremony. There are so many ways to make your ceremony sparkle with personality.  These include: the choice of readings, including a sing-along to a favourite song, or lots of fun ways we can reflect your passions and interests. For example, a couple that loves rock-climbing could have a handfasting using climbing rope (see Emily and Rex’s gorgeous wedding for inspiration). In the words, themes and allegories that I write bespoke for each couple, I will include references that are personal, recognised by your guests, and always meaningful to to you.

Inclusive ceremonies

The best wedding ceremonies unite friends and families. They sweep up everyone present to share the moment with you. Humanist weddings are non-religious but designed to be inclusive and meaningful for everyone there, whatever their beliefs. There are plenty of ways to include family and friends in the ceremony. As a result, your guests will feel involved and invested.  And you’ll feel the love and support radiating back from them in return.

All the feels

There will be heartfelt, thoughtful moments but most importantly, your ceremony will share the love – with lots of smiles, laughter and joy.  Read here what couples I have worked with have to say about their experiences.

What’s involved in a humanist wedding ceremony?

Your ceremony can be short or long, follow a traditional structure or break with convention. You can include readings or poems read by family and friends, and you can also have music and singing if you want to. You make your promises to each other, choosing the words that fit best. Then we mark the wedding with a symbolic action – usually exchanging rings, but extra elements can be lovely, such as hand-fasting or other types of unity ceremonies.

The legal status of humanist weddings

Humanist Ceremonies are not yet legal in England and Wales (unlike enlightened Scotland, and more recently Northern Ireland). So, you’ll need to legally register your marriage at a Register Office. Most couples do this in quite a low-key way during the week before or after their ‘real’ humanist wedding ceremony.

A heart-felt celebration of your marriage

Humanist wedding ceremonies are a  personal and meaningful way to celebrate a marriage. You will share the love with friends and family, and this creates an over-riding sense of joy that will power-up your celebrations for the rest of the day and probably long into the evening!

Humanism and Humanists UK

Humanists are people who shape their own lives in the here and now. Because they believe it is the only life we have.
Humanists UK is a charity that exists to advance free thinking and promotes humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. They have been the leading provider of meaningful, personalised, non-religious ceremonies for over 120 years.


Featured Image: Auguste Smailyte Photography  IG: @bite.hard FB: AugusteSmailytePhoto

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