Your questions about humanist wedding ceremonies – let’s dive in!
Q. Would you marry us in a plane? On a steam train? Or in the spooky depths of the London Dungeon?
Yes! Anywhere that you would like to hold your humanist wedding ceremony gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up from me. Your only limit is your imagination (safety permitting!).
Q. Do you officiate LGBTQIA+ weddings?
Of course! A core reason why I do what I do is because I believe everyone should feel safe, loved and celebrated exactly as they are. If you ever have any questions about this, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.
Q. How far afield would you travel to marry us?
I would be very happy to lead your wedding in any country that you would like. I love my packing cubes!
Q. Are humanist ceremonies legal?
At this time of writing, humanist ceremonies are sadly not legally recognised in England or Wales. They have been legally recognised in Scotland since 2005 (and are by some margin the most chosen form of non-civil ceremony there), and have been recently recognised in Jersey , Northern Ireland, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark.
England and Wales will follow suit soon! – and that’s not just me hoping, there’s been a whole legal case on it – but in the meantime, this is not a barrier to choosing a humanist ceremony. One can purchase statutory legal registration from your local register office for as little as £57 (I can advise you how to get the statutory price), and this can be done days before your humanist ceremony, or even on the day itself. It is not a legal requirement to exchange rings in a civil ceremony, so you can leave that special moment for your humanist ceremony: you can make different memories out of that extra ceremony too. Nothing wrong with making lemonade out of lemons!
Q. Is a humanist ceremony a real wedding then?
Well, I suppose the question “what makes a wedding real?” is the nub of the matter…! Think of it this way: you register a birth, but you don’t have a huge party and celebrate that happening – it is just a formality. You also register a death, but it isn’t the funeral or wake. The legal requirements of a wedding, although of course necessary, are not rooted in emotion. The Real Wedding is the ceremony in which you declare your love and commitment in the way that means most to you, in front of everyone who loves you. This will be the ceremony that resonates, that matters: this will be the ceremony that you and your friends and family will talk fondly of, and hold in your hearts.
Q. We would like to honour our families’ religious heritage, even though we personally are not religious. Is that a problem?
No problem at all. There are ways in which space for religious reflection can be built into a humanist ceremony without compromising its humanist viewpoint. Cultural rituals that are often performed in religious ceremonies can be incorporated, such as breaking the glass, the Var-mala (garland) exchange, jumping the broom, or the silat. I will work closely with you to fully intuit any cultural gestures you would like to include, and show what they mean to you and your guests. Together we can work out a way to make your ceremony generous to those with religious beliefs but also authentic to your humanist values.
Q. My mum is nervous about public speaking, but she really wants to make a speech at our wedding. Do you ever help with speeches?
Yes! I love this! I believe that everyone has a stonking wedding speech within them: sometimes you just need a guiding hand. I am happy to advise any speechmakers in your wedding party who need a cheerleader in their corner as part of my ceremony creation fee. I do not offer this service as a standalone package.
Q. What do you cost?
My fee to create and lead your UK wedding ceremony is £1,600, plus any necessary travel or accommodation expenses outside of London. I take public transport whenever possible for environmental reasons.
Please do contact me for a bespoke quote for your international wedding.
Q. I am a trainee wedding celebrant. Would you mentor me?
I am a weddings celebrant mentor for Humanists UK, but I do not “freelance” mentor. If you are training to be a wedding celebrant with Humanists UK I would be thrilled to mentor you. Just mention my name when you are accepted onto the course!