What is humanism?
Humanism is based on ethical values of caring about people, animals and our planet and making decisions to benefit everyone. Humanists live without religion and believe we have just one life. We want to make the best of the one life we have. Many people live to these values without calling themselves a humanist and that’s why they choose humanist ceremonies. Learn more at humanism.org.uk.
What do humanist ceremonies look like?
Firstly, you don’t have to be a humanist to choose a humanist wedding ceremony or naming ceremony. The joy of humanist ceremonies is that your celebrant (hopefully me!) will create a bespoke ceremony that is truly personal to you, in the place of your choice. There are no limitations. Visit my Weddings page and Namings page to see example ceremony plans.
You can find out more from the following short film.
Will our wedding ceremony legally binding?
Currently in England humanist wedding ceremonies are not legally binding, but we’re working on it! They have recently been made legal in Jersey and Northern Ireland, and I’m happy to travel if you are.
For now in England if you would like your marriage to be legally recognised you’ll need to make arrangements with a registrar to register this for you. This simple service costing around £50 will involve you exchanging a few words in front of two witnesses. But you don’t need to say your vows or exchange rings at this time – save this for your special day! People often do the legal bit a day or two before their ‘main’ ceremony.
Can we appoint ‘god parents’ at our naming ceremony?
We like to call them Guide Parents or Supporting Adults but the principles are just the same – except your Guide Parents will make promises that mean something to your family rather than religious commitments as you would at a christening.
Can we create our own wedding ceremony?
Absolutely, I can give as much guidance as you like and between us we can create the perfect ceremony. If you would prefer me to offer a range of options for vows, poems, music and promises for naming ceremonies I am more than happy to do this for you.
How do we decide what to say in our wedding or naming ceremony?
I’ll meet with you and gather lots of information about you so I can suggest the sort of ceremony and words that would suit your personality as a couple and as a family for namings. I can also let you have a host of different style vows and symbolic elements to pick from which I will personalise for you. We will then work on the script until you are completely happy with it. If you have ideas of what you would like to say, or not say, then I will work with this to create a unique ceremony just for you.
Are naming ceremonies just for babies?
No no no, you can choose to have a naming ceremony at any age! They can be a great way to welcome an adopted child into your family or to celebrate two existing families coming together. If you are recently divorced or trans gender and are changing your name you can celebrate this moment with a naming ceremony too.
Where do humanist funerals take place?
Funerals can take place anywhere you choose such as your local crematorium or cemetery, a natural burial ground. Or you can choose somewhere personal to your loved one such as a day centre or golf club. You’ll just need the agreement of the venue for those personal locations. I conduct most of my humanist ceremonies at Randalls Park Crematorium, Guildford and Woking Crematoriums and Clandon Wood Natural Burial Ground.
Can we include any religious elements in the funeral?
Yes, if you wish to sing hymns or for someone to say a prayer that’s absolutely fine. Sometimes people find this comforting even if they are not religious.
How much do you charge?
My fee in 2023 is £700 for weddings. This includes script writing, all meetings, a rehearsal, travel and my undivided attention on the day to make sure your ceremony is perfect plus much more. Full details of what’s included are on my Weddings page.
For namings I charge £300. This includes script writing, all meetings, travel and my undivided attention on the day to make sure your ceremony goes just the way you want it to. Full details of what’s included are on my Namings page.
My fee for funerals is £240. This includes script writing, all meetings, travel and my undivided attention for the ceremony to celebrate the life of your loved one. Full details of what’s included are on my Funerals page.
What happens if you’re ill on the day of our ceremony?
If for any reason I am unable to deliver your ceremony as planned on the day, which is highly unlikely, I will arrange for another fully qualified Humanists UK celebrant to lead your ceremony in my place without any cost to you.
Do you have a privacy statement for your humanist ceremonies?
Yes, I carefully retain your data for specific purposes relating to writing and delivering ceremonies. This is stored using encryption and anonymised after a certain period of time. Please contact me for a copy of my Privacy Statement.