ALL YOUR HUMANIST

CEREMONY QUESTIONS ANSWERED ...

WORKING WITH ME

“Where are you based?”


I live in St Albans. Although a large portion of my weddings are in London and the South East, I also conduct weddings across the UK and I am happy to travel abroad (OK you twisted my arm!) Whilst it is great to catch up over a coffee and a cake many of the couples I work with live abroad and may not be back in England until their big day so there is plenty that can be done over skype and facetime too!




“What do you charge for a wedding ceremony and what is included?”


I charge £600 and this includes all discussions, preparations and delivery, I do not set limits to meetings or calls – whatever is needed to get to the best end result! My fee also includes a rehearsal if you would like one and all reasonable travel costs (roughly within 2 hours of Hertfordshire), we can chat through any additions if you intend to get married farther afield.





HUMANISM... SAY WHAT?

“What is a humanist ceremony?”


A unique celebration of you and your relationship, free from religion or convention. You can create a totally personal and bespoke ceremony that is right for you. But non-religious doesn’t have to mean non-traditional and many couples still enjoy bringing in traditional elements of a wedding ceremony but the main thing is – it is totally up to you!




“What is humanism and do you talk about it a lot in the ceremony?”


To me, Humanism is about celebrating our relationships with family, friends and our partners. It is about treating all those that we encounter with dignity, respect and kindness regardless of their perspective, background or beliefs. A friend once said it very clearly… “so basically humanism is just not being a d**k??!” and yes…. I suppose it is! In terms of talking about humanism in your ceremony, I believe that the day is a celebration of you and your relationship and whilst it is important to explain the type of ceremony you have chosen to have I do not personally feel a need to go into significant detail about humanism itself. I hope that if your guests enjoy the ceremony they will be naturally inquisitive about what it is all about!




“We’re not actually humanists – or at least we don’t think we are. Can we still have a humanist wedding ceremony?”


Of course! Humanism is about inclusivity. Besides, 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 amongst those with a humanist outlook without even realising it!




“My grandmother / aunt / dad etc. is religious and I don’t want them to be offended. Will a humanist wedding be okay?”


Nearly every ceremony is attended by guests of different faiths and of none, and we feel passionately that everyone present should feel comfortable and involved. I always say at the beginning of each ceremony “they have chosen to celebrate their commitment to one another through a humanist wedding ceremony which is not anchored in religion but instead allows for them to reflect their own personalities, their beliefs and their aspirations for a marriage together, I do hope that whatever your background you will find this an enjoyable and significant occasion.”




“What happens at a wedding ceremony?”


Each ceremony is written specifically for the couple; there is no set format. But as a guide, a typical wedding might include readings or poems, information about the couple and why they are choosing to marry and perhaps some music. The couple will make vows or commitments to each other and often exchange rings.




“How long does a humanist wedding last?”


It depends on what you want to include, but as a guide around 30-45 minutes.




“All sounds great but I have a wedding to plan…..does having a humanist ceremony involve a lot of work?”


I’m not going to lie to you….because humanist weddings are so personal they do take a little more time to plan than a church or registry wedding. I need to get to know you and hear all about your adventures so far in order to create something totally unique and authentic to you, but it’s well worth the effort. In terms of what exactly is involved – usually a couple of meetings with me and some time going through some questions by yourselves - most couples crack open the vino and have a blast reminiscing so it really isn’t work at all! Promise!





THE LEGAL BIT

“Will we be legally married after a humanist wedding?”


Unlike in Scotland and Northern Ireland, humanist weddings in England do not currently have legal status (I know…it is bonkers… believe me we are working on it!) However, it is really easy to take care of the legalities at a local registery office and use your humanist wedding as your ‘real’ wedding. All couples I marry comment on the fact that they did not feel any differently about their ceremony, it still has all the gravitas, the only difference is you don't need to sign any paperwork (who likes paperwork anyway right??) In fact… there really are some advantages to humanist weddings not having legal status yet. For example, there is no restriction about what can or cannot be included and most importantly there is no restriction as to where you can get married…. A forest, the beach or the side of a cliff – it opens up so many possibilities! We continue to campaign hard for humanist weddings to be legally recognised in England and in July 2020 a case was taken to the High Court. The ruling from the judge was that not recognising humanist marriages as legal IS discrimination. However, frustratingly, she then said that as the Government are currently carrying out a review of marriage more generally that she would not go as far as to say they the Government are actining unlawfully and so we are now waiting for the outcome of the Government's commission on marriage which we hope will now include humanist weddings.... it is a case of when rather than if!




“When do couples get married legally if they are having a humanist wedding?”


This depends from couple to couple. Many will have taken care of the paperwork at the register office in the days before their humanist ceremony, perhaps just taking a couple of people along as witnesses. Others do this on the same day as their humanist wedding, making it all part of the celebration, whilst others leave the legalities until after.




“Do we have to be get legally married if we want a humanist wedding?”


No. There are various reasons why people might want the public statement of commitment and celebration without legally registering their partnership as a marriage and humanist celebrations allow for this.




“If we have to get married legally at a different time and place, will a humanist ceremony actually feel like a wedding?”


YES I PROMISE! A lot of people are understandably concerned about this but every couple that I have married have all felt that their humanist ceremony was the real deal as what mattered most to them is being surrounded by those they love as they make public commitments to each other.




“Will guests feel like they are at our ‘real’ wedding if it isn’t legally binding?”


Absolutely. Indeed, guests often comment afterwards that the occasion was much more moving and meaningful than other weddings they’ve been to, because it was so personal.




“Do we have to tell people that the wedding isn’t legal?”


It is up to you. I can talk to you about how you want to manage this. Nothing needs to be said publicly, however, it’s perfectly possible to explain the legal situation in a positive way.





WORKING WITH ME

“Where are you based?”


I live in St Albans. Although a large portion of my weddings are in London and the South East, I also conduct weddings across the UK and I am happy to travel abroad (OK you twisted my arm!) Whilst it is great to catch up over a coffee and a cake many of the couples I work with live abroad and may not be back in England until their big day so there is plenty that can be done over skype and facetime too!




“What do you charge for a wedding ceremony and what is included?”


I charge £600 and this includes all discussions, preparations and delivery, I do not set limits to meetings or calls – whatever is needed to get to the best end result! My fee also includes a rehearsal if you would like one and all reasonable travel costs (roughly within 2 hours of Hertfordshire), we can chat through any additions if you intend to get married farther afield.





WHAT NEXT?

“We are interested in finding out more… what now?”


GREAT – get in touch with me and lets have a chat! There is no obligation to book, just an opportunity for us to get to know each other and for me to find out more about the type of wedding ceremony you want. Email me or send me a query using the form at the bottom of my homepage.





LET'S TALK WEDDINGS