FAQ & Legalities

Photo Caroline Alexander

Handfasting MAD Ceremonies Isle of Skye.jpg

What’s included in a Humanist wedding ceremony?

There are many common elements in Humanist ceremonies but they also offer a lot of freedom too.

Popular content includes...

  • What love and marriage mean to you.

  • Music and readings.

  • Your story — perhaps how you met, your shared values and interests, your dynamic.

  • Secrets — words from your partner, that you won’t hear until the day.

  • Vows reinvented — personal vows, promises or aspirations.

  • Symbolic acts — such as ring/gift exchanges or my favourite, handfasting.

  • The participation of friends and family.

The starting point is your imagination and the exploration of ideas that will have significance to you.

And when it comes to traditions, embrace those with real meaning to you and exclude those that don't. Make your own rules! But if the idea of full creative freedom sounds too daunting, don’t worry. I will be there to share ideas, make suggestions, and guide you through the process.


Are Humanist wedding ceremonies legally binding?

Make no mistake, Humanist wedding ceremonies are the real deal — heartfelt, authentic and true. They allow couples to make commitments, in their chosen way, amongst the family and friends they hold dearest.

However, Humanist weddings/partnerships are not recognised in law yet outside Scotland, Jersey and the Republic of Ireland. So, most couples go to a registry office in the days before or after their humanist ceremony to take care of the legal formalities — the paperwork.

My wife Caroline and I, did exactly this. A few days before our humanist wedding, we visited the registry office with a couple of friends as witnesses. We kept things simple, and the legal words short and sweet. It cost around £45; registry offices legally have to offer this basic option.

Our real wedding was our Humanist one —  a true celebration, authentic to us and our beliefs.

Hopefully within a couple of years Humanist ceremonies will be recognised by law. Humanist UK are campaigning for this change, and a positive result doesn’t seem far off!


Where can a Humanist ceremony be held?

Anywhere. You are not limited to licensed venues. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities, including the great outdoors.


What it the role of a Humanist celebrant?

In the months before the event, a celebrant collaborates with you to craft a bespoke, personal ceremony. The celebrant writes a script for you to review and give feedback on. When the big day comes, they typically also conduct the ceremony.

I’ll be sharing more about my own creative process soon. Keep your eyes peeled!


How long is a Humanist ceremony?

Typically around 20 to 40 minutes, but it’s really down to you. I find 30 mins a good sweet spot. It’s enough time to create the right atmosphere and make something truly meaningful and memorable, for you and your guests.


Do you conduct same-sex ceremonies?

Of course :) 


How much does a humanist wedding ceremony cost?

My prices vary depending on the location and details of your ceremony. Drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.

Have more questions? No problem.

If you are still learning about the wonder of Humanist ceremonies, I recommend reading Humanist UK’s FAQ section and also exploring their site.


If you have a specific question for me, get in touch. I’d love to chat :)


Let's Chat!

Photograph Ross Harvey