Weddings and Partnerships

Congratulations!  You’ve decided to get hitched….

Humanist wedding outdoor non-religious birmingham west midlands celebrant

Mike and Jo plant a tree on Snowdonia to symbolise their union – photo by Ruth Garner

Making such a commitment to someone you love is a very personal and joyful thing to do.  It’s really important that your special day reflects your values and your world-view – whether it’s a wedding, civil partnership or a renewal of vows.

Choosing a Humanist ceremony enables you to create a unique personal event.  You can write your own vows that say exactly how you feel about each other.  You can add poetry, music or readings.  You can include rituals – ancient, traditional, or newly invented.

Who are Humanist Weddings For?

Any two people who wish to make a public commitment to each other, in a unique tailored ceremony without religious content.  That includes traditional bride-and-grooms, civil partners, same-sex couples, divorced couples, or those wishing to renew their vows.  Humanist ceremonies aim to be completely inclusive and non-discriminatory.

Humanist wedding outdoor non-religious birmingham west midlands celebrant solihull sutton coldfield redditch

Ian and Steve contemplate their vows – photo by David Hardwick

Where are Humanist Weddings Held?

There are unlimited possibilities – indoors, outdoors, on a boat, in a barn, in your own garden, in a stately home or a local  club.  The only limitations are budget, and practicalities like access and the weather.  I am very happy to advise and assist.

What Happens at a Humanist Wedding?

Each ceremony is unique, and reflects the personalities of those involved.  It can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish.  Walk up the aisle in a cosy room above a pub, or fly in by helicopter onto a manicured lawn in an exotic garden on Midsummer’s Day – the choice is yours.  You may choose a very short ceremony with simply the promises you wish to make to one another, or a longer one involving family members, children, or friends, with readings, music and other symbolic acts.   Whatever you decide, this is the ceremony in which you will make the promises, vows or commitments you have chosen to make, in front of the people who are important to you.

A typical Wedding might include some or all of the following:

  • Procession in
  • Introduction and welcome
  • Readings of poetry
  • Vows and promises between the couple
  • Symbolic Acts
  • Exchange of rings, or other tokens
  • Music/Songs
  • Procession out

But that’s only a starting point.  In reality, the possibilities are endless.

What Kind of Symbolic Acts Might be Involved?

Humanist Weddings can draw on traditions and rituals from all around the world, from all of history, or entirely from your own imagination.  What matters is that it is meaningful for you.  Click here to see some example of Wedding Rituals and Symbolic Acts.

How Will You Work With Us?

A delightful handfasting for Mac and Sam

Once we have agreed to work together, I will send you some preliminary information and suggestions to help you start thinking about what you might like.

We will arrange a meeting where I will find out as much as I can about who you are, how your relationship came about, what hopes and aspirations you have, what ideas you have for your ceremony, and who else might be involved.

I will help you to think about music, readings, participation by your family and friends, symbolic acts.  I will also encourage you to write your own vows, though of course I will provide advice and guidance.  I will liaise with others who may be involved with reading, singing, playing etc.

I will write a first draft and email it to you.  We will then go through a process of honing and editing until you are entirely happy with the ceremony we are planning.  It is important that you feel complete ownership of every element.

If possible we will hold a rehearsal close to the day, so we can make sure everyone involved knows where to stand, sit or walk, and when they might be called on to participate.

On the day itself, I will be there early to confirm that everything is ready, and to liaise with venue staff as required.  I will try and ensure that the ceremony starts punctually, and that all runs smoothly.  My aim is to make your day a perfect memory.

After the ceremony, I will prepare a well-produced copy of your wedding script for you to have as a keepsake, helping you to remember your wonderful day.

Are Humanist Weddings Legal?

Huanhao and Yujun in a fabulous stately home. Photo by JR Studio

We find that couples look on the Humanist ceremony as the moment when they are truly married. It is the real celebration when your friends and family can be with you and when your deepest feelings can be expressed.  However, unlike Scotland, Guernsey and Northern Ireland, the only legal weddings in England and Wales are Church Weddings, Synagogue Weddings, Quaker Weddings, and those taken by a Registrar in a Licenced Premises.   If you want your wedding or civil partnership to be legally recognised you will also need to have it formalised by a Registrar.

(We hope this will change in the near future.  The All-Party Humanist Group has just published a report indicating that there is no impediment to legalising Humanist Marriage, and urging the government to act soon. Humanists UK and others continue to pursue the issue every way they can.)

How Much Do You Charge?

My fee for weddings is £500.  This covers all the activities detailed above – an extensive planning meeting, drafting and editing the script as often as needed, a rehearsal if required, liaising with venue staff, attending early on the day to ensure all is running smoothly, leading and delivering the actual ceremony, and all local travel.  I am happy to travel further afield, including overseas, for an additional charge.

I ask for a £200 non-refundable deposit to book the date and the balance is payable before the big day.  Like all accredited Humanists UK celebrants, I pay a portion of my fees to the organisation, which helps maintain the quality of our training and support.

What Training Do You Have?

I have been trained and accredited by Humanists UK to conduct Weddings and Partnerships (also namings and funerals).  I am covered by their Commitment to Quality and Code of Conduct.  I am fully covered by Humanists UK for public liability and professional indemnity insurance.

How Do We Get In Touch With You?

I am happy to have a no-obligation meeting with you to help you decide if I am the celebrant for you.

Landline Phone: 0121 684 1053

Mobile Phone: 07977 216824