Spiritual or Humanist Ceremonies
A church ceremony does not suit with everyone. So, some couples go for a humanist or spiritual wedding. In fact, humanist weddings have become very popular in the UK. Over 1,000 happen in England and Wales every year. Lots of couples now see these types of ceremony as an alternative to a civil ceremony. But what exactly is a humanist wedding?
What is a Humanist?
A ‘humanist’ is someone who chooses to live a good life without religious beliefs. Humanists believe that moral values should come from human nature and experience rather than from a set of religious rules.
Why a Humanist Wedding?
Of course, if you don’t want a church wedding, the other option is a civil ceremony. However, these are a standard structure which limits the content of the ceremony. Also, there are restrictions on the time and place of ceremonies. So, you have to get married at a registry office or licensed venue, often during day time.
However, a humanist wedding can take place anywhere and is designed specifically for you. It can still be sincere and significant, but religious elements are replaced by words and music that are meaningful for the couple. So, humanist weddings are perfect for couples who would like to create a bespoke ceremony that is unique them. Also, humanists celebrants have been conducting ceremonies for same sex couples for at least two decades, so they are an option for everyone!
No two ceremonies are the same – they can be as traditional or as unusual as you wish. Also, humanist ceremonies have been held in gardens, marquees, on boats, in castles and on beaches! They are also an excellent choice for interfaith weddings, where two families want to combine the traditions of both their cultures. So, a humanist wedding ceremony gives you the opportunity to marry where you want, when you want and how you want.
The Legalities of a Humanist Wedding
However, a humanist wedding is not legally binding. Therefore, most couples also attend a registry office, sometimes a day or two before the humanist ceremony. There, you can simply and quickly deal with the legal formalities and obtain a marriage certificate. It is not necessary to exchange rings or even have a long ceremony at the registry office.
Humanists UK is currently campaigning to legalise humanist weddings in England and Wales. But, they are already legal in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Regardless, couples see the humanist ceremony as what truly makes them husband and wife.
Organising a Humanist Wedding
The celebrant meets with the couple several times before ceremony. First, to discuss ideas and answer questions, then to plan and rehearse every aspect of the ceremony. Humanist celebrants are friendly, experienced people who can help prepare everything. This includes advice on readings and music, and assisting with any and every detail to help make your big day special.
Humanist celebrants offer secular ceremonies only, as they have no-religious beliefs. So, you cannot include any religious elements in your ceremonies. However, you can include religious content if it occurs in readings, hymns or music originally written for praise.
You don’t have to be a humanist to have a humanist wedding. However, couples often select a humanist ceremony after discovering an affinity with the humanist philosophy.
Celebrants will also discuss fees at the first meeting. The amount varies depending on time but you will typically pay between £300 – £650.
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