About Steve Emmett

Weddings, Namings and Funerals

North, South, East and West Yorkshire; York; Hull and The Humber; Nationwide and Overseas

“We just wanted to tell you again how much we loved the ceremony you wrote and delivered for us. It really was the perfect ceremony for us – personal, sincere and beautifully delivered. We are so glad we found you and made the decision to prioritise the ceremony part of the day. It has been a real pleasure to take this journey with you from the very start and you’ve helped make us really think about who we are and what is important to us. Thank you so much for all your time, wisdom, sense and direction throughout the process.

JN, Pontefract”


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I create and lead ceremonies that have a humanist philosophy. Equally I deliver those which are more generally non-religious. You certainly do not have to be a humanist to have a humanist ceremony.


“Dear Steve, I wanted to let you know how very grateful the family are for your services yesterday and over the last few weeks.  But more than this, I wanted personally to thank you for all your words yesterday, the kindness you showed my Mum and the sensitive way you managed everything.We were all so very moved and touched with the words you chose to honour my Dad.  From our relatively brief meetings you skilfully extracted the very essence of his personality and life and reflected these yesterday with beautifully chosen words and perfectly selected passages.  As a non-religious person myself I felt at moments that I had been able to obtain that peace that the believer has in the spiritual through your words about the cycle of natural elements and the natural words – it was truly beautiful. Thanks again so much for giving us all an experience which (despite our tears!) was not sad, was supporting and uplifting and calm and felt so very, very right.” SD, East Yorkshire


I think most non-religious people are humanists without realising it, and I enjoy talking to people about Humanism and its philosophy. In my part of England there are often some among the guests who are quite hostile to the idea of a humanist ceremony– believing that only a religious event is proper. Invariably, they are among the people who come to me afterwards to say how much they enjoyed it. Some assume that because a ceremony is non-religious or ‘atheist’ it is about being negative, but this could not be more wide of the mark. Humanist ceremonies are uplifting events, each one unique to the family and their loved ones,  reflecting their lives, hopes, achievements and relationships.


“Thank you so much. A few of our family are regular church-goers and they loved the service. So credit to you. Thanks again.” LE, York


I enjoy all aspects of being a celebrant – meeting people, creating the ceremony, and conducting the ceremony itself. It is an immense honour and privilege to play such an important role at such an important time. I work hard to make sure that each ceremony is exactly right for the family concerned, and nothing gives me greater reward than knowing I have done a good job for them.

“Steve – what a gem to humanism. A real pleasure to meet at a difficult time. It helped that my J read Terry Pratchett books.” S, Selby

If you are looking for a humanist wedding, naming or funeral celebrant, or just want to talk about humanism, then please do give me a call.


“I would like to add my 100% positive feedback for your web site so that others seeking a professional Humanist Celebrant will be reassured that no request is too trivial or too much trouble for you. We appreciated your availability, guidance, management of the difficult funeral director, supportive approach and attention to detail in planning for the celebration of our mother’s life which far exceeded my expectations. My mother would have been delighted with her funeral and described it as perfect. With many thanks.” Jan, London


A bit about me for those who want to know…

I live in the market town of Malton, to the east of York, am an accredited Humanists UK Weddings,Funerals and Naming Celebrant, and was a finalist in the Good Funeral Awards 2014, nominated for Celebrant of the Year. I was born in Harrogate but have spent most of my adult life in London and Italy. Now back in Yorkshire I find being a celebrant and serving my local community very rewarding.

My grandfather was a devout Catholic, awarded the Benemerenti by Pope Paul VI for his services to the Church. It will come as no surprise, then, that I went to a Catholic school, but I never felt comfortable with the dogma, let alone the idea of an almighty. I soon realised that belief in any form of supernatural governance could not satisfy me; it didn’t make any sense. By the time I’d stopped believing in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus, I’d put gods well and truly behind me.

I suppose I’ve been a humanist nearly all my life. As a student I came across the Renaissance humanists and thought what an enlightened bunch they were. I studied architecture, and that really opened my mind in all sorts of directions. Eventually I made my way in the world with my own company selling country houses in Italy. Getting to know Italy and its people so intimately gave me an insight into how religion can exert influence even in so-called secular societies.

I had a great time in Italy but my work didn’t fulfil me. I needed stimulation of a  more intellectual, more emotional kind. So I changed completely and became a writer. I have always loved novels and telling stories. When I returned to Britain I joined the BHA. I soon realised that I could use my skills to help people by becoming a celebrant, to help tell their stories at important events in their lives. As someone who has always taken pride in professionalism, gaining BHA accreditation was something that meant a great deal to me.


 “We would like to give you feedback for your web site so that others seeking a professional Humanist Celebrant will be able to see first hand that your professionalism and caring nature made the whole process an easy one for us.  From our first conversation, we were made to feel at ease and realised that nothing was too much trouble for you.  You captured the life of our loved one perfectly and the tribute you gave was absolutely spot on.  After the service, we had people asking for your details as they too want to ensure that they or their loved ones have a similar experience.  We even had a comment from someone who always thought they wanted a religious service, say that your service far exceeded what they believed a Humanist service was, and as a result of attending our service, they have now changed their mind and will, when the time comes, be having a humanist service, hopefully conducted by you ! Many thanks once again, we were delighted with the service, and would definitely recommend you 100% .”

The Hitchen Family, Leeds.