Is a Humanist Wedding Ceremony Right for You?

Photo: Alex Miller Photography

If you are reading Rock n Roll Bride then its highly likely that you’re dreaming having of an alternative wedding and if so, a humanist ceremony could be perfect for you. With a humanist wedding, each ceremony is created from scratch, so you know yours will be tailor-made to fit your style and personality.

What is a Humanist Ceremony?

Humanist wedding ceremonies are non-religious wedding ceremonies led by celebrants accredited by Humanists UK, who we are delighted to have partnered with on this article! If you don’t want a religious or register office ceremony, then this is going to be a great option for you.

The great thing about a humanist ceremony is that they can be totally personalised and feel very authentic to the couple getting married. There’s are no ‘must haves’ to consider which means you can make it as personal as you like, with your own vows and promises, poems, songs or even a spot of crowd-surfing! There’s also no time limit on the length of the ceremony which means you can incorporate all the traditions and symbolic acts that are meaningful to you.

Photo by Alexander Crane

In England and Wales, humanist weddings are not yet legally recognised which means you will need to also go and sign the bit of paper at the register office, but this can be done quickly and with very little fuss.

Humanist Ceremonies™ celebrants are full of creative ideas and your celebrant will be happy to work with you to put together a ceremony that is inclusive, unique, and unforgettable. The sky’s the limit! Their celebrants have overseen Chinese tea ceremonies, German ‘heart races’, ‘tying the knot’, ‘jumping the broom’, ‘warming the rings’, and much more.

Here are some unique ceremony ideas which you might want to consider for your own day…

1.      Tying the Knot

Photo by Creative Flux

If you’d like to tie the knot at your wedding, your celebrant will teach you how to tie a fisherman’s knot – one of the strongest knots which, under pressure, grows stronger. The knot symbolises the strong bond you share as a couple.

2.      Heart Race

Photo by Alex Miller Photography

The heart race is an old German wedding tradition that involves a race to cut out half a heart shape which has been drawn on a bed sheet by your friends. Some people say that the winner then gets to be the maker of the large decisions in the marriage. Dare you risk it?

3.      Handfasting

Photo by Duncan McCall Photography

Handfasting ceremonies date back over 2,000 years and so, unsurprisingly, there are many variations to the binding together of hands as a symbolic act of unity. The celebrant and/or a range of friends and family members can conduct your handfasting. You could have coloured ribbons, cord, or rope. Whatever you choose, it makes a lovely keepsake.

4.      Sharing a Quaich

Photo by Nikki van der Molen

Another popular symbolic act is drinking from a Quaich — a two-handled loving cup. In this Scottish tradition, whisky and water is mixed, but you can have anything you like. Any two different liquids can be blended to symbolise the joining together of two people — gin and tonic, a cocktail, or even a blended tea.

5.      Ignoring the rules

Photo by Creative Flux

If you’re a Rock n Roll bride then you already know that rules are made to be broken! So, if you’d like children or animals to be involved in the ceremony — no problem!

With a humanist ceremony, a child can be more than just a ring-bearer, bridesmaid, or pageboy. Your ceremony can have an inclusive symbolic act such as a handfasting, candle-lighting, or sand-blending ceremony which can involve the whole family. And, you can make promises or vows to your children as part of the ceremony.

Your four-legged friends can be a ring-bearer or ‘best boy’. And, if you have more than one dog, yes, they can all attend!

6.      Socially distanced and online weddings

Photo by Sira Studio

Humanist celebrants got pretty adept at conducting Zoom weddings during the first wave of the pandemic so, if you need a socially distanced or live streamed wedding, your celebrant can make that happen for you.

Photo by Sira Studio

With a humanist wedding from Humanist CeremoniesTM you can have your wedding ceremony wherever you choose. As humanist weddings are not (yet!) legally recognised in England and Wales, you are also not bound by the need for a licensed venue. You can celebrate a humanist wedding wherever you like – on a beach, in a woodland glade, on a clifftop, or at home in the garden.

Couples who want the freedom, flexibility, and personalisation that a humanist ceremony provides tend to have a simple register office signing a few days before their humanist ceremony to get the legalities out of the way, before enjoying their uniquely tailored wedding at the location of their choice.

In Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey, and Guernsey, humanist weddings are legally recognised, so there’s no need for a separate register office ceremony – and you can still marry wherever you like, indoors or out.

Photo by Sawyer and Sawyer

Find out more…

You can find out more about humanist weddings on the Humanist Ceremonies website and wedding blog.

For wedding ideas and inspiration follow Humanist Ceremonies on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.