The Essential Guide to Humanist Weddings in England & Wales

Couple exchanging vows during humanist wedding ceremony at Brook Farm Cuffley

Humanist Wedding Ceremonies

Humanist weddings are becoming an increasingly popular choice in England and Wales for couples looking to create a ceremony that is more meaningful and personal. They provide an alternative to traditional religious ceremonies and allow couples to create a ceremony that reflects their own beliefs and values. In this blog post, we’ll explore what makes a humanist wedding so special.

Humanist Wedding photographer

Hi, I’m Gabi and I’m a humanist wedding photographer based in Sussex with a documentary approach to weddings. I believe that marriage is a beautiful and special thing and it should be celebrated in the most meaningful way. That’s why I love capturing humanist weddings; they are incredibly personal and intimate ceremonies, which makes them so perfect to photograph.

I understand that every couple has their own unique story, beliefs and values. That’s why I take my time to get to know you and understand what your dream wedding looks like. I’m here to capture all the special moments, from the joyous vows to the lighthearted laughter during the reception. My goal is to make sure that each photo you receive captures not only the emotion of the day, but also reflects your unique story as a couple.

What is a Humanist Wedding?

A humanist wedding is a non-religious ceremony that focuses on celebrating the love between two people instead of any particular faith. It’s a personal wedding ceremony that is tailored to the beliefs and values of the couple and the importance of human relationships.

Melodie & Guillaume holding hands during their humanist wedding ceremony in Provence, France

Humanist weddings are incredibly meaningful. The focus is on the couple’s love for each other, and not on religious dogma. The couple can choose to write their own vows or include readings, music, and other elements that are special to them. This makes the ceremony incredibly special and meaningful and it’s also a great way to include friends and family members who may not be religious.

Lastly, humanist wedding ceremonies are also incredibly beautiful. The ceremony is often held outdoors, surrounded by nature. This creates a stunning and peaceful setting for the wedding.

Who can conduct a humanist wedding in England and Wales?

Humanist weddings in England and Wales must be conducted by a humanist wedding celebrant, who is a trained professional who specializes in creating and conducting personalized, non-religious ceremonies. These celebrants who are registered will have the necessary qualifications to legally conduct your wedding. Humanist Ceremonies is the growing network of over 500 celebrants qualified and accredited by Humanists UK. They work across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

Is a Humanist Wedding Legally Recognised in England and Wales?

Humanist weddings don’t have legal recognition in England and Wales. While couples can exchange vows and make a commitment to each other in a humanist ceremony, they must also complete a legal marriage ceremony at a register office in order for their marriage to be recognized by the government. This can be done either before or after the humanist ceremony and can take the form of a civil ceremony or a Church of England wedding.

Elise & Alfie exchange vows during their wedding ceremony at Brook Farm Cuffley in Hertfordshire

What’s The Difference Between a Humanist Wedding and a Civil Wedding?

A humanist wedding is conducted by a humanist celebrant, who is a trained professional who specialises in creating and conducting personalized, non-religious ceremonies.

A civil wedding, on the other hand, is a legal marriage ceremony that is conducted by a civil celebrant, such as a registrar. Civil weddings are typically more formal and structured than humanist weddings and follow a prescribed set of rules and regulations.

One of the key differences between a humanist wedding and a civil wedding is the level of personalization and customization that is possible. Humanist weddings are highly personalized and allow the couple to create a ceremony that is meaningful to them, while civil weddings are more formal and follow a set format.

Another difference is the focus of the ceremony. Humanist weddings are centered around the values of humanism and the relationship between the couple, while civil weddings are focused on the legal aspects of marriage and the formation of a civil partnership.

How Do I Plan a Humanist Wedding in England and Wales?

If you are considering having a humanist wedding in England or Wales, the first step is to find a wedding celebrant who is licensed to perform humanist ceremonies in your area. You can search for celebrants in your area or on the humanists UK website.

Once you have found a celebrant, you will need to work with them to plan the details of your wedding ceremony. This will involve discussing your values, beliefs, and preferences, and deciding on the elements you want to include in your wedding ceremony. You may also need to consider the location of your ceremony, as well as any other logistical details such as music, readings, or symbolic gestures.

What are The Costs Associated with a Humanist Wedding in England and Wales?

The cost of a humanist wedding will depend on a number of factors, including the location of your ceremony, the length of the ceremony, and the number of guests you are planning to invite. Humanist celebrants typically charge a fee for their services, which can vary depending on their experience and the complexity of the ceremony. You may also need to budget for any additional costs associated with your ceremony, such as venue hire, catering, or travel expenses.

Is a humanist wedding right for me?

A humanist wedding is a great choice for couples who want to create an intimate ceremony that focuses on the connection between the couple, rather than the legal aspects of the wedding. Humanists UK has a team of licensed celebrants who can help you create a unique ceremony that meets your needs. If you are considering having a humanist wedding in England.

Humanist wedding photography

Humanist wedding photography aims to capture the authentic, personal, and intimate moments of a humanist wedding ceremony, rather than focusing on traditional formalities.

A humanist wedding photographer will work closely with the couple to understand their desires, and to create a set of photographs that reflects the unique character of their ceremony. Humanist wedding photographers will aim to capture the emotions and moments of the ceremony, from joyful laughter to tearful embraces as well as:

  • The unique location and setting of the ceremony, whether it be outdoors in a natural setting, in a more formal venue, or in the couple’s own home
  • The meaningful interactions and emotional moments between the couple and their family and friends
  • Any symbolic gestures or cultural elements that are important to the couple

Overall, humanist wedding photography is about capturing genuine, authentic, and meaningful moments of in a way that reflects the values and personalities of the couple. It is an art that requires a sensitive, creative, and intuitive approach, and is an excellent way for couples to preserve the memories of their special day.

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer to capture your non-religious wedding ceremony, please get in touch to check my availability, I’d love to hear from you!