Arranging a wedding, partnership ceremony or renewal of vows is relatively straight forward. However, I do realise that this is only part of your big day, and you will have lots of other exciting things to plan, which at times may be a bit stressful. Part of my role is to take as much stress as possible out of the actual ceremony, so that you can relax and enjoy it.
This is a typical sequence of events:
You get in touch by email or phone
Please give me some outline information, such as the date for your planned ceremony and where you are thinking of holding it.
We have a preliminary discussion
We arrange to have a brief, no-obligations conversation, preferably by Skype or Facetime, so that you can ‘meet me in person’. This is an opportunity for us to get to know each other a little bit and, most importantly, you to decide if you want to work with me. You are also invited to ask any questions you might have about the process. I will explain how I work, what you can expect from me, and what it will cost. I will ask you to tell me a bit more about your plans for your big day.
Booking the date
If you decide to go ahead, I will then send you my standard contract and ask you to secure the date with your deposit. This will then be marked as unavailable to other couples. I will also send you some questions to get your creative ideas flowing.
We meet up in person to plan your ceremony
I will meet you at a location of your choice where we will spend approximately two hours going through your plans and ideas for your ceremony in detail. I will ask you lots of questions about yourselves, your interests and your wedding plans. I don’t expect that you will know everything that you want to include at this point, for example, which readings or music you want to incorporate. I can make suggestions to help you get started if necessary and will explain the different options you might have for making your vows, involving your family and friends, including symbolic acts or gestures, and exchanging tokens of love. None of this is obligatory, but it might give you some inspiration.
I will leave you with a copy of the Humanist UK’s leaflet on wedding and partnership ceremonies.
We keep in touch
I will send you a copy of the notes I have made to make sure I have got all the details right. I will also highlight where I need some more information from you so that I can put together a coherent, personalised ceremony. We may need to meet again, depending on how easy this is and how much we need to discuss, or we may simply exchange information by email or telephone conversations.
I produce a draft ceremony
I will draw up a draft ceremony based on what we have discussed and send it to you by email at least eight weeks before your wedding day. I won’t send it any sooner, because I want it to remain fresh on the day itself. The draft will include everything from the music beforehand to the final exit. I will highlight any gaps where things are still to be decided and ask you to supply any remaining information.
You may also choose to have a commemorative certificate (this is not an official document), which I can design for you, in keeping with your other wedding stationery
Amendments and changes
There will be ample time to refine the content and change things around as much as you like until you are completely happy with the final product. One of the key things that distinguishes a Humanist ceremony is that fact that it is completely tailored to your wishes. Please let me know If there is anything that you are not happy with – it can be easily changed!
I cannot stress how helpful it is to run through the ceremony in outline beforehand, and would ask that you make the necessary arrangements with the venue and key participants. I don’t advise performing the whole ceremony word by word – this would take away the magic from the day itself, but we will go through all the practical details and choreography so that you know where you need to be and when. Ideally this should include everyone that its playing an active part, for example, giving a reading or holding the rings. We can also do some power, sound and time checks to make sure everything will run smoothly when the time comes. We can go through things as many times as you like, at least until the venue throws us out! This will leave you all feeling relaxed and confident for the day ahead.
Your wedding ceremony
The big day arrives and you can enjoy a ceremony that is designed purely for you.
I will produce a keepsake copy of your ceremony that is printed on high quality paper and will be something for you to treasure in years to come. You can also show it to people who were unable to make your wedding for whatever reason. If you would also like an electronic copy, I will be happy to supply a PDF version as well.
I will say goodbye and leave you to enjoy the rest of your celebrations. Included in your folder with your keepsake ceremony is a feedback form. I would be really grateful if you could complete this and return it to the British Humanist Association. Alternatively, you can submit your feedback online by going to the ‘Leave Feedback’ tab on my website.
Tell your friends and family
Please tell all of your friends and family about your experience of a Humanist wedding ceremony and pass on my details as appropriate.