A wedding day is one of the most important days in a person’s life so I try to create a ceremony that expresses the depth of a couple’s feelings for one another and the seriousness of their commitment. That doesn’t mean these ceremonies aren’t joyous and fun occasions too. Whatever a couple wants in their ceremony I will try and make possible.

I’ve conducted wedding ceremonies on a boat, in a field in France, at a disused monastery in Spain, in the grounds and rooms of Cambridge colleges, in gardens and orchards. Because humanist weddings don’t require a licence you can marry wherever you want, within reason, and have whatever you want in the ceremony. You may consider, for example, handfasting as part of your ceremony (an ancient tradition signifying the mutual bonds of love between two people in which their hands are bound together with ribbons – it’s where the phrase ‘tying the knot’ originates!), or inviting a musical friend or relative to perform. It really is up to you. It can be as adventurous or conservative as you wish.

The usual procedure for a wedding is that, after the initial contact, I will send the couple some examples of past ceremonies that I’ve conducted. These can act as a good starting point for discussion as well as perhaps prompting their own ideas.

We’ll then meet and discuss what they would like in their ceremony. This meeting usually takes about an hour and a half and we’ll talk through any ideas or concerns they might have. At this stage it’s not unusual for both of them to have not fully agreed on, for example, the number of readings, the readers, the readings themselves. That’s fine and not a problem. Ideas may even come to them as we talk.

After our meeting, and based on what we’ve discussed, I’ll go away and write a first draft of the ceremony script. This will usually have quite a lot of gaps in it, areas that the couple are undecided on or not sure about. I then email it to them with a list of points that they need to consider and then we begin the dialogue of working towards producing a final script.

I like to have the final script agreed a month before the wedding date (I think this is helpful for the couple and gives them one less thing to worry about as the big day draws near) but if there are last minute changes or decisions that can only be made nearer the time that’s not a problem either.

I prefer not to read out the script at the rehearsal – save it for the wedding day itself – so we concentrate on movement, where people want to stand/sit etc. It saves a lot of nervous shuffling around on the day and helps things run smoothly.

On the day itself I arrive early to meet any readers, performers etc and just settle in to the environment and atmosphere. Afterwards, I’m happy to stay around if people want to talk about the ceremony or humanism, which they frequently do.

I’m glad to say that I’m still in touch with many of the couples I have married, but this is not obligatory!

I charge £800 for a wedding. This covers the initial meeting to discuss the script, writing/editing the script, attendance at the rehearsal and, of course, attendance on the day itself.

If you want any further information about wedding ceremonies or humanism in general then do contact me.