A subject I’m so passionate about is doing things your own way, and humanist wedding ceremonies are the way forward for anyone with this mindset! It might surprise you to know that one of my favourite bits of a wedding to shoot time and time again is the ceremony. Obviously, I love all of the incredible aesthetic details you’ve so carefully planned and prepped – talk to me about that stunning boho backdrop, show me the way your dress shimmers as you move, give me aaaaaall the gorgeous and thoughtful place settings for each guest – but there’s something incomparably magical about a ceremony. As a documentary wedding photographer, the ceremony is where your raw emotions really come out to play, and where I’m lucky enough to capture your romance in its most honest form. It gives me shivers just to think about! And an emotional wedding ceremony doesn’t necessarily mean a cry-fest pulling on your heartstrings (although I do love those) – an emotional wedding ceremony can be chockfull of laughter, energy, and celebration. Which leads me perfectly onto Humanist ceremonies…
Humanist ceremonies are those conducted by celebrants who are accredited by Humanists UK, and in my experience, they’re always the most incredible to shoot. Because they’re not legally binding (yet!), you get the total freedom to make your ceremony as personal to you as you like. Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland are ahead of the game by already legalising humanist ceremonies, for weddings in boring behind-the-trend England – £48 down the ol’ registry office the week before and you’re all set. If it’s not something you’ve even heard of, much less considered before, here’s my top 5 reasons you should consider a humanist wedding ceremony:
1. Humanist wedding ceremonies allow you to have really, really fun ceremonies.
Humanist ceremonies allow you the freedom to create and curate a wedding ceremony completely your way. That means you can have a modern ceremony with no restrictions*, but loads of fun: I’m talking singing, dancing, bingo, dog ring-bearing, a live game of Guess Who, a flash mob, drinking games…you name it and it can pretty much go. (*Obviously, restrictions do apply, but they’re pretty basic stuff: nothing illegal, don’t be a dick, you know the drill.)
2. Humanist wedding ceremonies are completely personal to you
Another bonus of a Humanist wedding ceremony is that they’re totally personal to you. They’re whatever the opposite of cookie-cutter weddings are: the crème de la crème of seven-tier hand-painted buttercream wedding cakes of the HIGHEST degree, topped with handcrafted swan figurines. Humanist ceremonies allow your personalities and your love story to shine in every single aspect. From the songs you enter to, the symbolic rituals you perform (or don’t – contrary to popular opinion, it’s not all about hand-fasting), and the vows you utter, it’s all created with you in mind.
Humanist wedding celebrant QUEEN, Katie Matthews, adds: ‘Your wedding ceremony is the heart of your day, the whole reason everyone you love is gathered in one place – to watch you make your lifetime promises to each other. So why WOULDN’T you make your wedding ceremony ALL ABOUT YOU and create an unrepeatable experience for you and your guests??? Working with a humanist celebrant means having someone by your side, totally invested in you and your relationship, and spinning your one-of-a-kind love story into an absolute ball-breaker of a ceremony that no one in the room will ever forget. THEY REALLY ARE MAGIC!’
Photo by Lina + Tom
3. Humanist wedding ceremonies mean that you have no outdated traditions at your modern AF wedding
Humanist weddings being completely personal to you also mean that you can say boy, bye to outdated wedding traditions that don’t resonate with you. When you’re planning an effortlessly cool, exceptionally modern wedding, don’t forget to bring your ceremony into the 20th century too.
4. Humanist weddings can be held anywhere
Yep, you read that right – anywhere! Unlike legal and religious ceremonies, humanist wedding ceremonies can be wherever the hell you please. This includes outdoors spaces, too, which brings me such joy as I love a UK outdoor wedding! (If you want to view my top outdoor wedding venues in Essex, I’ve gotchu – click here…) This means you can go wild with your venue choices – is there a venue that plays a big part in your love story? A building that means a lot to you? An open space that you’ve always lusted after and thought “One day…”? Even the goddamn beach!
5. By choosing a humanist wedding ceremony, you’re helping important causes
Humanist ceremonies are different from independent, non-religious ceremonies because the celebrants are accredited by Humanists UK. Humanists UK are an organisation campaigning for a better life for humans and the world, and they’ve been a key player in loads of seminal campaigns such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage. By choosing to spend that part of your allocated wedding budget on a humanist celebrant, you can rest easy in the knowledge that you’re helping this mega important work continue. You having the best day of your life can facilitate someone else working towards having theirs – and I think that’s pretty bloody special.
Hope these reasons have helped clear up any confusion you had about humanist weddings in the UK and encouraged you towards having a kick ass, totally personalised and bloody awesome humanist wedding ceremony of your own!