With summer weddings back in full swing many couples are putting more emphasis on the ceremony than ever before. Discover how having a humanist wedding can make sure your big day hits all the emotional high notes.

Credit: Greg Milner (@gregmilnerphotography)

Over the past two years many couples have seen their big day cancelled or postponed, but this summer we are seeing weddings back in full swing and humanist celebrants are busier than ever.

Now the trends for post-Covid weddings are becoming clear. It’s all about having a ceremony that gives you all the feels. So, what is a humanist ceremony and why should you have one?

A humanist ceremony is non-religious, creative, meaningful, and extraordinarily memorable. It is different from a civil or register office ceremony in that it’s entirely personalised to the couple and it can take place anywhere that is significant to them. A humanist wedding is entirely focused on you, your love, and your story.

1. Make the ceremony the heart of your day

When planning a wedding we can all get carried away with the seemingly endless choices and decisions to make. What sort of venue do we want? What’s our colour palette going to be? Should we have favours? Sometimes, it can feel like the meaning of the day can get a bit lost. Not with a humanist ceremony.

Focusing the entire wedding day on the celebration of a couple’s love, humanist wedding ceremonies are truly special. We’ve seen many tears of joy and lots of laughter over the years as we deliver ceremonies which are heartfelt, sincere and full of depth.

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Choosing a humanist celebrant means getting to shape a ceremony that really suits you as a couple and that ends up being one of the most memorable parts of your day.

2. Tell your story

Credit: Emma Kenny (@EmmaKennyWeddings)

Another lovely thing about opting for a Humanists UK celebrant is that, at heart, they are storytellers. And they will work closely with you to tell your love story. Each script for a humanist ceremony is totally bespoke and based on real conversations between you and your celebrant. They will get to know you and your partner and will find out what makes you tick and what makes your relationship work.

When they tell your story – your past, present and hopes for the future – your friends and family will get to know more about you as a couple too. Many of our couples tell us that the time they spend talking with the celebrant is one of the most enjoyable parts of planning their wedding.

It even helps prepare them, making them reflect on the meaning of marriage and why they are choosing to spend their lives together.

3. Have it when you want

You might not have thought much about timing yet. But, as they say about comedy, timing is everything. We are seeing more couples opting for twilight ceremonies and sunset ceremonies.

The beauty of a celebrant-led wedding is that you can choose when you say “I Do”, picking the ideal time to make your day extra special.

4. Have it where you want

Credit: Darren Wheeler, That Cameraman (@thatcameraman)

Always dreamed of having your wedding in an apple orchard? No problem. Thinking of having an intimate ceremony in the garden? That’s a yes from us. Want to get married on the beach and lead your wedding party in a conga? We can do that!

The beauty of a humanist wedding is that it can take place anywhere. You can find the most romantic spot possible, or pick a location that is meaningful to you – and your celebrant will marry you right there. It gives you a great deal of flexibility in deciding where to get wed, which gives you greater choice when it comes to theme and budget.

Plus, the Humanists UK network of trained and accredited celebrants covers England, Wales and Northern Ireland, so you’re sure to find a celebrant in the area you want. Finding the perfect location is a great start to making sure your wedding is full of emotion and a day to remember.

5. You make the rules

Often there are a lot of competing voices in the mix when planning your big day. In-laws and parents can often have different views to the happy couple when it comes to what makes a perfect wedding.

Choosing a ceremony led by a humanist celebrant means you can set the rules and you’ll have their support in making it happen. Their wealth of knowledge and experience means they can offer guidance and reassurance to family members that you’re in a safe and trusted pair of hands. Which leaves you free to get creative!

6. Have your say on traditions

Credit: Nikki van der Molen (@nikkivandermolen)

Weddings mark the moment of deep commitment between two people. The traditions involved can offer a connection to the history and significance of this ritual. They can also sometimes feel a bit out-dated.

We see couples nowadays taking ownership of traditions in their wedding, deciding which ones are meaningful to them and which ones have had their day. In a humanist ceremony nothing is fixed, allowing you the flexibility to create unique special moments that give everyone goosebumps.

7. Bring in different cultures

Although humanist ceremonies are non-religious, they are incredibly inclusive and welcoming of all people. We live in a wonderfully diverse world of religions, beliefs, traditions, and cultures. A humanist wedding can celebrate that, weaving elements of your heritage and background through the day.

Humanist celebrants bring everyone together, in the name of supporting and celebrating two people in love. Your celebrant won’t deliver religious content, but they can create space in the ceremony for it if required, such as a reading.

8. Friends and family can take part

Credit: David Ashton

At humanist weddings there are so many ways you can get your nearest and dearest involved in the ceremony. We’ve seen the whole gathering singing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and have heard rousing choruses of “We DO!” when guests are asked if they vow to support the happy twosome.

Symbolic acts are another way in which you can make space for your closest circle in your wedding. These can include handfasting, flower ceremonies, candle-lighting, tree planting, sand blending and more. As well as being a lovely – and emotional – moment where friends and family can take part, they make wonderful photographs.

9. Have a day that matches your values

Humanist weddings are underpinned by humanist values. You might not know if you are a humanist, but many people discover they have a shared outlook without having realised it. It is a worldview inspired by kindness and rationalism that celebrates being human.

If you are non-religious and look to science, reason, empathy, and compassion in order to live an ethical and meaningful life, then a humanist wedding can offer a sincere and memorable ceremony that matches your values.

10. Get your pets involved

Credit: Humanists UK

Yes, we said it…Your fur baby can be part of your humanist ceremony! And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a dog at a wedding? Celebrants can find ways to carefully and thoughtfully bring your cat or dog (or guinea pig, bird, horse!) into your ceremony.

So whether you’ve a dashing dachshund or a cute kitty, they can be at your wedding and in your pics.

We hope we’ve given you a much better idea of what is involved in a humanist wedding. To find your local celebrants, or to get more inspired, head over to the Humanist Ceremonies website.

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