What’s happens at a humanist wedding?

What happens at a humanist wedding ceremony?

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First of all – the good news!  A non-religious humanist wedding ceremony, although not having the legal status of marriage, can be exactly what you want it to be.  There are no rules.  The ceremony is for no-one else but you, your fiance, your family and your friends.

Where do we hold the ceremony?

Unlike a legal marriage, which has to be held in licensed venue, you can hold your wedding ceremony pretty much wherever takes your fancy.

In Scotland, Northern Ireland and Jersey (with Guernsey soon to follow), humanist weddings are recognised in law.  Although England and Wales aren’t be far behind, for now, couples go to the registry office to take care of the legal formalities in the days before or after their humanist wedding.

So – where will you be holding your humanist wedding ceremony?  How about on the same cliff-top where your proposal took place?  Or what about in woodland glade or on a beach?  Perhaps at a local wedding venue, hotel or pub?  There’s nothing to stop you holding your wedding ceremony at home – in your back garden or your living room.  It’s up to you.  Of course, if you go for an outdoor venue, you’ll want to bear the weather in mind.  You’ll need to decide upon a plan B, just in case of a downpour.

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Who takes part in a humanist wedding?

Pretty much whoever you want to.  Usually the ceremony begins with your celebrant welcoming your guests.  They’ll say a few words to explain what a humanist wedding ceremony is all about and what will happen during the course of your ceremony.

You might have a best man or woman, or both.  You could have bridesmaids and pages.  You might wish to have special friends or relatives making a reading.  You may also want to make your own vows or ‘promises’.  These could be written by yourselves or you might ask your celebrant to write them for you.

Can we have a ritual at our wedding?

Of course you can!

There are so many ways of holding a brief ceremony-within-a-ceremony that can be fun as well as meaningful.
You could consider –

  • Hand-fasting
  • Candle-lighting
  • Sand-blending
  • Ring-warming
  • Tree planting

and many others.
You may of course have your own ideas – or you can ask your celebrant for guidance.

Is religion barred from a humanist wedding ceremony?

A key aspect of humanism is that it’s not anti-religion.  It’s simply non-religious.  If there are guests who are religious, you can allow for a moment of reflection – perhaps while a piece of music is playing – so that those who have a religious belief, can make their own private prayer.  You see, humanism is ‘inclusive’ – it’s for everyone.

… and here’s just one example of how you might like to structure your humanist wedding

  • Introductions and welcomes
  • A few words about humanism
  • A mention of those unable to attend – perhaps elderly or recently-deceased relatives
  • Your story – a description of how you met, your courtship, your characters and how you envisage married life
  • Reading or poem
  • Exchange of vows or promises
  • A piece of music
  • Exchange of rings
  • Pronouncement of being now ‘husband and wife’
  • Concluding words

Find out more …

I’d love to hear from you.