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Humanist wedding ceremonies


Dream of celebrating your wedding the way you want, without following tradition? A humanist wedding could be the solution. Discover more about this alternative style of ceremony.

Humanist weddings are non-religious, meaningful ceremonies that allow you to be as creative as you like, in order to have a unique and personal day. If you opt for a humanist wedding, it is important to know that they are not legally recognised in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, but they are in Scotland. Therefore, you must go to a registry office to take care of the legalities before or after the humanist ceremony to ensure that the marriage is certified.

If you like the sound of a humanist wedding ceremony, read on for more information.

For non religious couples, a humanist wedding can be the solution to defining their relationship. It is an honest, authentic and fitting service that allows couples to avoid following a traditional, religious wedding ceremony.

Getting married is an important and life changing decision and humanist ceremonies understand the importance of creating a bespoke service that enables couples to conduct their wedding in a way that suits them. This type of ceremony encourages couples to have total freedom and control over their special day.

Couples are able to choose who they would like to conduct their ceremony and are able to meet with this person prior to their wedding. The celebrants they choose will understand the couples’ needs, passions and approach to life and will tailor their wedding to these personal requirements. Celebrants work with couples and offer guidance, support and wisdom throughout the entire process to ensure the ceremony is completely exclusive.

Partners are able to choose their own words and promises to say to one another during the service. This adds a really  invaluable touch to the wedding, ensuring they incorporate all the elements that are important to them. Some couples like to include symbolic actions, such as: hand fasting, which is a very spirtual act that was the old Pagan ritual of marriage, where couple’s hands are tied together with cords or ribbons, representing their union. Sand blending is another pagan ritual and is the act of pouring two different coloured sands together to symbolize the joining of the bride and groom. Lastly, lighting a unity candle is a fairly recent addition to the traditional wedding ceremony, that represents the love of both families brought together, it also shows the union of two individuals becoming one in commitment. Couples are able to set the tone to whatever is right for them and create a day that will always be remembered.

Humanist weddings became legal in Scotland alone in 2005 and by 2011, there had been 2,486 humanist ceremonies out of 29,000 civil weddings. However, in England, there are just 600 to 800 humanist weddings each year. Perhaps this is because couples have to go to a registry office to certify their marriage? Interestingly around 20% of those couples who have a humanist wedding in England choose not to go on to  have a legally valid civil ceremony.

With the number of humanist weddings in Scotland being three times that in England despite the Scottish population being a tenth of the size it would suggest that the demand for this type of alternative marriage ceremony could be huge. Watch this space to see if the law changes soon.

For more information on humanism in general or to find a celebrant for your humanist ceremony visit The British Humanist Association’s website.

Check out just some of the stunning wedding venues that cater for humanist ceremonies.

Rufflets Country House Hotel

This beautiful wedding venue is one of Scotland’s oldest established hotels. Located in St Andrews, Fife this venue caters for humanist wedding ceremonies and offers a tranquil setting. For an outdoor venue, Rufflets Country House Hotel offers a Garden Suite which is an impressive, purpose built extension that caters for up to 150 guests in exclusive, private surroundings. The weather in Scotland can be shall we say, unreliable, therefore an indoor alternative is offered if the conditions aren’t warm and dry.


Selsdon Park and Golf Club

This Neo-Jacobean venue in Surrey welcomes humanist ceremonies and has a friendly team on board who work together to provide outstanding service. 

If you are planning a large wedding, this hotel could be the perfect option as there is accommodation for up to 350 guests, so you won’t have to worry about alternative sleeping arrangements!

If you do decide to get married at Selsdon Park and Golf Club, be sure to check out the Cedar tree which was planted in the 1500’s by Queen Elizabeth I.


Buckettsland Farm

This Grade II listed barn in Hertfordshire was built in the 16th century and is an idyllic location to hold humanist ceremonies.

At Buckettsland Farm, you can get married in a marquee with a blank canvas; giving you total freedom to design the experience of your dreams. This outdoor venue holds up to 250 guests and can be great to use for a summer time ceremony. There is beautiful accommodation available for the newlyweds, which includes an indoor heated swimming pool and outdoor secluded hot-tub!


Let us know your thoughts on this alternative way of tying the knot and if you’ve been convinced to have a humanist ceremony!




Amy French
Amy French

Retro and quirky Amy's outlook on life is reflected through her blogs. If you're looking for an alternative look to your wedding have a read of Amy's blogs for inspiration.