I'm not a Humanist, can I still Have a Humanist wedding?
When they look at humanism, many people discover they are actually humanist in outlook without having realised it.
If you are non-religious and look to science, reason, empathy, and compassion in order to live an ethical and meaningful life, then you’re in the right place: you’re amongst those with a humanist outlook, and my wedding ceremonies offer you a non-religious, personal, and meaningful way to celebrate your marriage.
It has to be non-religious? Can't my mum read a passage from the bible? I don't want to offend or upset her.
It's common that nearly every ceremony is attended by guests of different faiths, beliefs and of none, and feel passionately that everyone present should feel comfortable and involved. This is really important. Humanist ceremonies are non-religious by nature so let me know what reading she likes and lets discuss if we can find something comparable that can echo the same sentiment. It's all about us keeping an open conversation.
The focus of your humanist wedding will be on the two of you and your relationship and what you value. Underpinning it all will be the humanist view of long-term partnerships as being strongest when built upon support, equality and honesty.
It’s difficult to imagine anyone would have a problem with that!
Do you perform ceremonies for same sex couples?
Of course!! Love is love.
Every couple should be able to celebrate the love they have for each other and I'm happy to work with any and all couples.
Humanists UK celebrants have been conducting ceremonies for same sex couples for at least two decades and were instrumental in successfully campaigning for legal same-sex marriage in Great Britain and most recently Northern Ireland.
Happily same sex marriage in Northern Ireland is now legal also! This means I can legally marry more lovely humans here in NI. Also brilliant is the fact that I can perform a Civil Ceremony transition to full Marriage License meaning you can go from Civil Partners to Mr & Mr, Mrs & Mrs or however you prefer to name yourselves. I'll say it again - brilliant!
If you are in England, because of the current laws you would need a registrar to perform the legal element but we could still organise an epic celebration ceremony together.
So will my wedding be legal?
Yes! It can be if that's what you need.
As long I marry you in Northern Ireland the ceremony will have legal standing, this also applies for same sex couples. This does have to take place at a venue registered for civil ceremonies however so if your dream is to have your wedding ceremony in a field for example under current legislation you would have to perform the legal element at a registry office before or after. This in no way takes away from your ceremony which many couples feel is the 'real ceremony' anyway. that's certainly how I felt about my own. You can apply for a temporary license to get married elsewhere eg. at your home and I have been involved in some fantastic home weddings.
I could marry you in Scotland as Humanist weddings are legal there, we just need to apply for me to do it there but I can help with that.
It doesn't have to be a legal ceremony though. Humanist wedding ceremonies are about the celebration of the couple, the legal bit is a bonus if you need that as well but not having it in no way lessens or changes the way we put together your ceremony.
Also, if you are doing the legal bit first there's no reason I can't perform the ceremony for you elsewhere. I love to travel so I'm more than happy to hop on a plane, train or automobile to your destination. I work between London and Belfast in NI so both options work for me.
Still have questions about this? Drop me an email and I'll be happy to help clarify for you.
So I can get married anywhere?!
Yes! Essentially a ceremony can be anywhere, especially if it's non-legal.
If it's a legal ceremony the only restrictions I have on my license are that I can't marry you in a place of worship or a Registry Office (the definition of this can be a bit of a grey area so always best to double check with the Registrar in your venue council area on this point). Essentially that leaves a huge number of exciting options to consider both indoor and outdoor so get exploring the best of NI.
That's the beauty of a Humanist wedding ceremony. You can get married absolutely anywhere you like from your gran's backyard, to your friends restaurant or a beach somewhere in the sun (hint*).
There are no restrictions allowing this to be entirely personal to you. Exciting isn't it?
Putting together a whole ceremony seems a bit daunting and a lot of work...
That's where I come in.
There is of course more work involved than attending a civil ceremony or church wedding where there is an established script that is used all the time but don't you want your wedding to be more than just 'insert name here'?
It's absolutely worth the effort and is actually an enjoyable and eye opening journey for many couples. Remember this is all about what you like and your story which is something you are the absolute experts on so, with my guidance you'll find you have loads of ideas and input.
It's great to include friends and family in the ceremony if this works for you but again if not, you don't have to.
You can write your own vows if you wish, incorporate ones from a civil ceremony or we can adapt more traditional ones.
If you don't know where to start don't worry! I'm here to help with all the options. A Humanist ceremony is all about the personal, so there's no way it will be like anyone else's celebration.
How long does the ceremony last?
How long do you want it?
Again, it's individual to you but 20-40 minutes is a good amount of time to ensure you and your guests have said what you want to say and gives a good shape to the celebration.
Can I include symbolic rituals though if the ceremony is non-religious?
Symbolic gestures or rituals if you like can provide an incredibly strong physical & visual representation of your intentions for each other as a couple. Theres lots to choose from or we can create one of your own. Also, I love performing them as there is a bit of theatre about them and that's totally my thing.
Can you marry us if we live in the Republic Of Ireland?
Sadly, at present there is an agreement between Humanists UK and Humanism Ireland that celebrants from NI will not perform weddings in the Republic. So, even though we may be geographically close it's not possible at this time.