What is a humanist wedding?
A humanist wedding is a non-religious wedding ceremony that gives you the opportunity to marry where you want, when you want and how you want.
The true intimacy of a wedding shines through with a humanist ceremony, as there is no set script and it is up to the couple to decide what form their nuptials take.
You do not have to be a humanist
to have a humanist ceremony, a humanist ceremony is focused on the couple and and their relationship and what they value. Humanists view long-term partnerships as strongest when built upon support, equality and honesty. It is up to the wedding party to set the tone that’s right for their special day and choose their own words representative of their relationship. A humanist ceremony allows people to have an unique and meaningful ceremony that is designed by the couple, and one that is not religious. It gives people the freedom to get married outdoors, or wherever they would like, in particular, places that are not licensed for civil weddings.
There is flexibility with a humanist ceremony
to build the occasion around the couple, and get to know the person conducting the ceremony, like the priest or registrar but called a celebrant. Some people who have carried out marriage formalities but have not celebrated it with their family and friends may opt for a humanist wedding. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland humanist weddings are not legally recognised in law so couples have to go to a registers office to take care of that in the days before or after their humanist wedding. In Scotland humanist ceremonies are recognised in law.
To have a humanist wedding
one would need to find a celebrant, and liaise with them about what way you want in your ceremony. A humanist ceremony can take place anywhere; on a beach, in the woods, in your parent’s house, in a castle, be it a private or a public area, indoors or outdoors. Humanist weddings can follow a typical format or something different, it is completely the decision of the wedding party.
Example structure of a humanist wedding ceremony
Arrival of the couple (individually or together)
Introductions and welcomes
Words about love and commitment from a non-religious perspective
Reading or poem
The couple’s story – how they met, their shared values, hopes for the future
What marriage means to the couple
Reading, poem or song
The couple’s promises / vows
Meaningful symbolic act
Exchange of rings
Pronouncement as married
Words of well-wishing
Closing and departure
A humanist ceremony can take more time
and work than a traditional church or civil ceremony. The fee for a humanist ceremony depends on the celebrant that you chose, this fee would include paying the celebrant for the planning and discussing of your ceremony, drafting and editing the personal script, attendance at rehearsals, the pay for the day itself and for a copy of the ceremony script.
Humanist weddings are available for same sex marriages. You can write your own vows or the celebrant can provide you with some sample vows.
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