Humanist weddings are increasingly popular, as non-religious or multi-faith couples wish to celebrate their wedding somewhere other than a religious building or a simple registry office. But what exactly is a humanist wedding? Simply put, humanist weddings are non-religious, or secular. There aren’t any rules per se, so couples can tailor their wedding to their exact specifications!
Are Humanist Weddings Legally Binding?
As of 2018, humanist weddings are not legally binding in England and Wales and couples require a civil ceremony as well as or alongside their humanist ceremony. Humanist weddings are legally binding in Scotland and Northern Ireland, and activists are pressing the UK government for change in England and Wales.
Are Wedding Vows Allowed? Is Music Allowed? What is Allowed at a Humanist Wedding?
Anything is allowed! You can have poetry readings, live music, a speech from a friend or loved one. You can write your own vows, incorporating your favourite music or poetry, or even incorporating something from a religious text that you do like. You can include elements of ‘traditional’ weddings - the white dress, bridesmaids, a bouquet… or not! It’s really up to you and what you want: a big appeal of humanist weddings is the bespoke element. Whether you’re an LGBT couple, a multi-faith couple or simply looking for something that isn’t ‘a church wedding’ or ‘a ceremony at a registry office’, you can tailor your wedding to you, as a couple.
What is a Celebrant?
Although popular in countries like Australia, the term ‘celebrant’ isn’t very well known in the UK. A celebrant is the person who conducts the ceremony, often writing or creating the ceremony. You can find a celebrant using Humanist.org.uk’s interactive map. You can also learn more about what celebrants are with Humanist.org.uk’s guide.
Can a Humanist Wedding Take Place Outside?
Yes! As we said, humanist weddings are not legally binding in England so you will have to have a civil ceremony as well.
Where Can I Have a Humanist Wedding in Essex?
Pretty much anywhere! Some people choose the beach, some choose their front room, some choose a traditional wedding venue. At the Arlington Ballroom, we’re always happy to host a humanist wedding! We’re also licensed for civil ceremonies, so you can always have a registrar conduct your legally-binding ceremony alongside all your preferred ‘humanist’ elements. We also host wedding receptions, so you can hold your wedding underneath one roof! You can learn about our wedding packages and what we offer on our Weddings page.