“Thank you so much for marrying us in the most magical way. You told our story so beautifully and everyone said how unique and emotional the ceremony was.
We feel so fortunate that you were able to give us the ceremony we wanted and be such an integral and special part of our ongoing story.”
Charlotte and Adam – Wharfedale Grange wedding, Autumn 2021
Do I have to be a humanist to have a humanist wedding ceremony?
No - you certainly do not have to be a humanist to have a humanist wedding ceremony! Although many people who are interested in humanist wedding ceremonies, who have never heard of humanism before, often stumble across it, and realise that the general ethos of humanism fits their values perfectly. My ceremonies are unique, romantic, highly memorable and very personal. They do not feature any religious or spiritual content in readings, vows or song. They are inclusive of everyone so they're perfect for non-religious or even inter faith couples who prefer not to have religious content in their wedding.
How inclusive are you?
Very! You don't have to ask. Love is love. Being inclusive is really important to me. My logo - I hope - represents the fact that all my weddings are celebratory of everyone's love - regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, size, race, colour, culture, ability, religion or spiritual belief. I am very LGBTQ+ friendly! My ceremonies are crafted with love, and focused on storytelling, commitments and visual symbolic acts - whether you prefer a traditional, beautiful, solemn, humourous, lighthearted or totally off the wall style!
What is humanism?
Humanists believe that we only get one life so we should live the best life we can, without following any religion, belief in any god or a belief in an afterlife. Humanists believe that we should treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves – ie with equality and fairness –with humanity. Humanists believe that we should take responsibility for our own actions, and have respect for the environment and every living thing that shares our natural world. We make sense of the world through logic, reason, and evidence, and always seek to treat all those around us with warmth, understanding, and respect. Humanists UK is the charity with which humanist celebrants train and are accredited. We are part of a national network of humanist celebrants.
We’re not religious, but our families are – will they feel it’s appropriate?
In many people’s opinions, humanist wedding ceremonies are perhaps the best, most personal and uplifting weddings of all. It is usual these days to have representation from all cultures, religions and beliefs within a wedding party and guest list. This is where a humanist wedding really excels. Humanists don’t follow any religion but we are totally accepting of others’ beliefs in all faiths and religions. Therefore ceremonies are designed to be entirely inclusive so that everyone – regardless of their beliefs - feels comfortable with, and a part of what will be one of the most important celebrations and occasions in your life. If you really want someone to read or sing something religious that’s poignant to them for whatever reason, I can certainly discuss options with you!
What kind of symbolic acts or rituals can we include?
You don't have to include anything. Most couples exchange rings as a token of their commitment but we can also include customs and traditions from any culture or religion – eg a flower ceremony, glass smashing, certificate signing, hand fasting, sand mixing, the lighting of a unity candle, drinking from a loving cup, tree planting or jumping the broom. Or let your imagination run wild and make up your own symbolic act!
“Thank you so much for our wonderful wedding ceremony and all your hard work, advice and support in the run up to it. We had a truly perfect day and looking back on the ceremony just makes us smile so much. It felt so special and personal – everything we had hoped for. So many of our guests said it was so “us". Our presentation script is beautiful and we will treasure it forever."
Anna and Kev, Grassfield Hall wedding, Spring 2021
We've already booked a registrar. Can we have a humanist wedding ceremony as well?
Yes, absolutely. Think of the civil (legal) ceremony as just covering the legal paperwork - a bit like registering a birth or a death.
You can have a basic legal ceremony at a register office in the weeks or months before or after your main wedding day, or you can ask a registrar to attend the venue before your main event takes place. A humanist ceremony will give you all the pomp and ceremony of a traditional wedding ceremony, but with bags more oomph and warmth. You can still exchange rings, say unique or traditional vows, include a range of symbolic acts if you like; you can have readings, music, poems, I will tell your very own love story and the good thing is that there will be no restrictions. I can pronounce you as husband and wife, husband and husband or wife and wife at the end of your humanist ceremony!
Is a humanist wedding legally recognized?
Humanist weddings are now legally recognized in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey. However, England is still dragging its feet. Humanists UK are on the case - and things are starting to happen in central government - so hopefully they will become legally recognized really soon. In the meantime, legally, people can have a wedding and change their surnames if they wish to without registering their celebration with a legally appointed registrar or religious minister. However, most couples who choose to get married prefer to have the wedding legally recognized for financial reasons and to legally change their surnames on the passport, bank account, driving licence and other official documents.
There are various options available from as little as £46. There is an option of having the registrar at the same venue and/or on the same day as your humanist ceremony, but it must be within a separate ceremony. Most couples choose to do the legal paperwork within a week before or after their humanist wedding ceremony, however there is no restriction on time.
Click here for more information :https://www.gov.uk/marriages-civil-partnerships.
For more information, please visit: https://humanism.org.uk/…/human-rights-and-e…/marriage-laws/
For more information on Giving Notice of Marriage or Civl Partnership at North Yorkshire County Council (Harrogate Register Office) https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/give-notice-marriage-or-civil…
For current information on civil partnerships and marriages within the boundaries of North Yorkshire County Council: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/civil-partnerships
For registration (and therefore legal recognition) of your humanist ceremony with North Yorkshire County Council: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/marriage-arrangements-and-cer…
North Yorkshire County Council Register office fees: https://www.northyorks.gov.uk/registration-service-fees
So if it’s not legally recognised, will it be a real wedding?
YES, YES, YES. But more so! It's how a wedding ceremony SHOULD be! Around the world, for centuries, people have got married. The preparations are made, the invitations sent, the outfits are arranged, gifts are chosen , vows are written. The ceremony is officiated. The happy couple declare their love to each other with solemn vows and commitments for their life ahead in front of witnesses and guests. A feast is had, with much jubilation, song and dance. This is a wedding day.