Recently I’ve read a ‘spot-on’ article by Louise Ridley in the Huffington Post about having a Humanist wedding. We too had a Humanist celebrant lead our wedding ceremony which meant we could choose what we said and did. We are not practising Humanists – although if you read more about them, they make quite a lot of sense! These are the key ideas of what Humanists subscribe to which made us think they might be quite good at leading a wedding for an essentially atheist/agnostic couple:
– Think for ourselves about what is right and wrong, based on reason and respect for others.
– Look to science and philosophy instead of religion as the best way to discover and understand the world.
– Believe people can use empathy and compassion to make the world a better place for everyone.
As soon as we started talking with our celebrant Michael Imison, we were quickly reassured we had made the right decision. We wrote our own vows, wrote letters (to be read out at our actual ceremony) to one another about how we met and fell in love, we chose music and asked friends and relatives to speak or play music and very importantly to us it didn’t go on and on for hours! To quote my friend Mim the ceremony was “oozing with romance”! It was also really fun to know that we would hear each others letters which we had written stealthily in the months leading up to the day.
Unlike in Scotland – England, Wales and Northern Ireland Humanist weddings are not yet recognised in law but we were told by our celebrant that one day this might change. A dash to the registry office the day before was quite exciting and only charged the wedding vibe more. Also more excuse for bubbly!
In Louise Ridley’s article in the Huffington Post, the thing that struck me the most was her observation that the the thing religious weddings offer is reflection and preparation. Couples often get a form of marriage counselling before the day from the Priest or Rabbi etc etc.
“Pre-marriage counselling involves thinking about the seriousness of your commitment, your expectations of each other and your future together. You even look at practical things like whether you want to try to have kids, what you will do when you argue and how you will handle money and family. It’s something civil weddings don’t even touch on.”
This is where a Humanist wedding can help you find the ceremony right for you, but more than that, your celebrant encourages you to contemplate how you came together and gives you tools to nourish your relationship moving forward. So there is something out there for all of us! Hooray to that 🙂
To find out more about having a Humanist wedding have a look here https://humanism.org.uk/ceremonies/non-religious-weddings/
Photos by Ben Dowden