Real Weddings

Are You Thinking of Having a Humanist Wedding?

More and more people are secular nowadays and this, combined with the increasing number of inter-faith marriages happening, has led to many couples deciding to have a humanist wedding.

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If you’re interested in a humanist wedding, but don’t know much about it, here’s a list of some FAQs to help you to work out if it’s for you and your beloved.

We want an outdoor wedding, is this possible?

Of course! Many couples choose an outdoor setting for their wedding. We do recommend, however, that you have a Plan B (usually a marquee!) in case you need shelter from the British weather. Outdoor wedding venues in Cheshire are popular and there are quite a few old farms – and their barns – to choose from.

What happens at a humanist wedding?

There’s no format, but usually there’s readings, poems or songs. The couple might explain why they’re marrying, then exchange vows and rings. Humanist weddings are only legally-binding in Scotland, so you may want a registry office wedding too.

Is it complicated?

Humanist weddings are often more personalised than the traditional church or registry office wedding. However, most couples and their families enjoy planning it as it reflects them.

How much does a humanist wedding cost?

Usually between £350 and £1,000, depending on where you are and how long the ceremony is. There may also be travel costs for the celebrant. Most ceremonies last between 20 and 45 minutes, and usually include a planning meeting, writing the ceremony script, attending the rehearsal and then performing the ceremony itself. There should also be a keepsake copy of the script.

Do humanists perform same-sex weddings?

British Humanist Association celebrants have been performing same-sex weddings for at least 20 years and campaigned to make it legal in the UK.

I’m worried about offending the more religious members of my family

Most of our ceremonies are attended by people of different faiths and we have found that when the time comes for the vows, the attendants are moved by the real focus of the ceremony – the relationship between the couple.

We’d like to include a cultural ritual in the ceremony, is this OK?

Absolutely. Although humanist weddings are non-religious, the celebrant will be more than happy to include a ritual from a religion or another culture.

Do we write our own vows?

The vows are one of the highlights of the ceremony, so you can write and say what you want. If you don’t feel confident to do this, your celebrant can help you along.

When do we have to have the “legal” wedding?

Whenever you feel is right. Some people get the “paperwork” out of the way beforehand while others do it on the same day or later. Most couples consider the humanist wedding the “real” one, though. Some couples don’t actually have “legal” weddings at all.

Will our guests see the wedding as “real”?

Many guests (especially older ones) start out sceptically but then say they felt the ceremony was much more meaningful than a traditional wedding, so yes.

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