Q&A: Humanist wedding ceremony
It can be hard deciding on the type of wedding that’s best for you, we caught up with Sophie, a Humanist celebrant to answer this question…
“We want our wedding ceremony to be meaningful and personal but we’re not religious, is a Humanist ceremony for us?”
Totally! Your whole ceremony will be entirely personal to you as a couple – and what can be more meaningful than that? Humanist ceremonies are for anyone who wants a hand-crafted, non-religious wedding. I can say, hand on heart, that I wouldn’t even dream of copying and pasting anything when writing a new script because all sections of the ceremony are written to reflect what is important to each individual couple. So, for example, the words on love and marriage towards the beginning can reflect one couple’s hopes to start a family and share a family name or they can honestly represent another couple’s wish to be practical and celebrate the fact that they will now be legally recognised as a couple.
You can hold your humanist wedding anywhere too! Beach? Yes please! Unlicensed venue? No problem. You want to include the German tradition of sawing a log at the end of the ceremony? Then you are my dream couple <3
As the government in England and Wales is dragging its feet on passing the law to recognise the legality of humanist marriages, most of my couples book into the register office to do their paperwork beforehand. It only costs the bargain price of £50 in Liverpool if your appointment is before 11am Monday to Thursday . And more often than not the rings, the vows and THE dress are saved for the humanist ceremony (or the ‘real ceremony’ as they call it). Some couples even turn up to the register office in jeans!
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One of the main reasons that I chose to become a humanist celebrant specifically is that I represent Humanists UK who have a long history of campaigning for equal rights for those with non-religious beliefs. There are a lot of us… did you know that 53% of the population now identify as non-religious? One of the current campaigns, of course, is for humanist marriages to be legally recognised here, just as they are in Scotland, Jersey, Australia, Norway and some states of the USA. I am proud that part of the fees my couples pay me goes back to Humanists UK to support this work… so you get to feel warm and fuzzy about helping out this charity organisation too!
If you want to know more specific information about humanist weddings, there is a great FAQ section on the Humanist Ceremonies website. It’s easy to find a humanist celebrant to work with you for your wedding as there’s a really handy ‘find a celebrant’ link . If you can’t make up your mind, why not meet a few of us for free-of-charge initial meetings and choose who feels like the ‘best fit’ for you as a couple? It’s all about you on your Big Day, after all!
Sophie is a humanist weddings and namings celebrant accredited by Humanists UK, based in Liverpool (but is happy to travel further afield!) She absolutely loves getting to know the couples she works with, in the knowledge that she can deliver a ceremony that will be just what they want. Sophie came to this career after having taught Art and RE in secondary special schools for most of her twenty years in education. She says she misses the children… but definitely not the paperwork! She also loves to travel, having lived in Barcelona for a few years in the 90s, trekked in India in 2016 and will be off to follow the Inca Trail in Peru this summer.