Frequently Asked Questions
What is the role of a humanist wedding celebrant and how do you work?
My role includes working with people from all walks of life who are in love and looking for a creative and personal way to tie the knot!
My service begins with an informal chat for us to get to know each other – it is after this initial meeting that a retainer fee is placed to secure the date of your special day. We have a planning meeting and then I go away and begin writing the script for your ceremony which will eventually become a written presentation copy for you to keep.
On your special day, I arrive at the venue in plenty of time, especially if you choose to have a rehearsal. I make sure any readers/guests that are included in the ceremony are present and comfortable in their roles – and then I marry you! Ta dah!
Once the ceremony part is over, I leave you to enjoy the rest of your day with your guests and contact you around a week later with your presentation copy of the script.
How much do you charge for a wedding ceremony or vow-renewal ceremony?
I ask for an initial retainer fee on securing your booking. This is included in the fees above and is non-refundable but can be transferred to another date if you have to postpone due to illness or other significant reason. For 2021 the retainer fee is £200 and for 2022 it is £250. When we save your date in the diary, this is your day. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, I only conduct one wedding per day to ensure you have my whole attention.
A second payment is required after our first planning meeting, before I begin to write the script for your ceremony.
The balance is payable at least one month before the ceremony and usually coincides with your receipt of the final script.
The total fee includes planning meetings, writing the script for the ceremony, all administration, rehearsal, conducting the wedding ceremony, travel and a personal presentation copy as a keepsake.
Are humanist weddings legally recognised?
Although the UK parliament voted to give government the power of legal recognition for humanist marriages back in 2013, no government has ever used it. Humanist ceremonies are currently only recognised by law in Scotland, Jersey and the Republic of Ireland. Humanist UK is working towards legal recognition in England and Wales.
In July 2020, six couples took a case to the High Court, seeking parity for couples in England and Wales. Their lawyers did a brilliant job, arguing a case of discrimination and arguing that every couple regardless of religion or belief deserves the right to get married in a way that represents their life-choices. The judgement, was that although it could be argued there was discrimination, the government had not acted unlawfully as there is a review of weddings underway by the Law Commission. The judge ruled that the discrimination should be addressed in this review. A good sign is that during the Covid pandemic, government guidelines regarding numbers able to attend a religious or belief ceremony are including humanist ceremonies, as humanism is considered a belief and a protected characteristic.
So we are hopeful that it is a matter of when, not if, Humanist Weddings are legally recognised in England and Wales, but for now, most couples visit a registry office a few days before or after their humanist ceremony to deal with the formalities. The simplest and cheapest option is 2+2 (the couple and two witnesses). My husband and I did this, and classed the humanist ceremony as our ‘real marriage’ – we had a wonderful day and we’re still madly in love 27 years later!
How much do you charge for a funeral ceremony or memorial?
I charge £275 if it falls within my region of the South West. However, I am open to discussion and agreements can be made with low income households.
If you’d like me to travel further, there is usually an additional fee.
All children’s ceremonies are free.
I’ve heard that humanists refuse to have any religious hymns at a ceremony?
Although I don’t lead any acts of worship, I will include religious or spiritual readings, hymns and poems if you feel these are significant or important. A humanist ceremony is unique and as individual as the person who died, this is reflected in the personal tributes, music and readings or poems.
What do other people say?
“Karen is organised, professional and kind” – Nic & Fi, Bristol
See my website for more testimonials https://www.sustainablyeverafter.co.uk or follow me on Instagram @_sustainablyeverafter_