FAQs

Getting Started

We love the idea of a personal wedding but we don’t know where to start.


That’s very common and not a problem at all. I will lead the process and can give you as much help and guidance as you would like. I can advise on readings, music, promises and a whole series of big and small issues that will help the day to go well.




We want to make sure we are comfortable with the Celebrant before we decide to book them. Can we meet in person?


Yes, of course. It’s important you have a chance to check that I am a good match for you. I am always happy to meet up without obligation for a chat and a cup of coffee. If you’re further afield, an initial phone call or a chat on Skype/ Facetime works well.




How far in advance do we need to book our Celebrant?


There’s no rule but I do get booked up quite a while in advance, especially on Saturdays during the summer. If I am busy I will always be happy to recommend someone else.




What do we talk about when we first meet?


Feel free to ask me whatever you want to know. We can talk about how I put a ceremony together and you can let me know your initial thoughts about what you want from the occasion, plus venue ideas and dates. I will naturally want to get to know about you as a couple, and hear any thoughts and ideas that you may have for your ceremony. If you don’t have any ideas at this stage, don’t worry – we can create a wonderful ceremony together.




Where can I get married?


Wherever you like, as long as it is safe to do so, and you have the permission of the landowner. See my section on Humanist Wedding Venue Ideas




What happens at a Humanist wedding ceremony?


Each ceremony is written specifically for the couple; there is no set format. But as a guide, a typical wedding might include readings or poems, music, the “Story’ of the couple so far and why they are choosing to marry. The couple will make vows or commitments to each other and often exchange rings.




Do you offer same-sex weddings?


Yes I certainly do. Indeed, Humanists UK celebrants have been conducting ceremonies for same sex couples for at least two decades and were instrumental in successfully campaigning for legal same-sex marriage.





Considerations

Does having a Humanist ceremony involve a lot of work?


It definitely takes more time and thought to arrange a Humanist ceremony than a standard church or civil wedding, but it’s well worth the effort. You will end up with a ceremony that reflects the two of you, what you value and your hopes for the future, and an occasion that is truly unique and personal.




How long does a Humanist ceremony last?


It depends on what you want to include, but as a guide around 20-30 minutes works well.




We’re not actually Humanists – or at least we don’t think we are. Can we still have a Humanist wedding ceremony?


Yes you can. Indeed many people discover they are actually Humanist in outlook without having realised it. Surveys show that about one in five people in the UK are non-religious and hold Humanist beliefs. One fun thing you can do to explore this more is take our ‘How humanist are you?’ quiz.




Some of my relatives are religious and I don’t want them to be offended. Will a Humanist wedding be okay?


I recognise that nearly every ceremony is attended by guests of different faiths and of none, and I feel passionately that everyone present should feel comfortable and involved. The focus of your Humanist wedding will be on the two of you and your relationship and what you value. Underpinning it all will be the Humanist view of long-term partnerships as being strongest when built upon the support of family and friends.




Do you have any rules about the ceremony being photographed?


No, it is important that you get the pictures you want. In fact, most photographers love Humanist weddings as there is a lot of interaction for them to capture, particularly since couples often face their guests during the ceremony.




Can we have music during the ceremony?


Yes. There is real poignancy in music, whether it’s a live performance, listening to a recording, or perhaps having something for everyone to sing along to. I can suggest some choices for you to consider if you would like some inspiration.




Can we write our own vows?


Personal vows are often one of the highlights of a Humanist weddings. So yes, I absolutely encourage you to write or choose your own words, and will give whatever help and support you need to do so.




We’d like to involve our guests in some way. Can we do this?


Yes please! It’s great when guests are really involved in a marriage ceremony rather than simply witnessing it. I will be happy to suggest ideas as to how this can be done successfully.




Can we involve children in the ceremony?


Definitely, if that is what you would like. They often add a real sense of family and fun to a wedding ceremony.





Costs

How much does a Humanist wedding ceremony cost?


I charge £550 for a wedding ceremony.




What does the fee include?


- A planning meeting to discuss the ceremony in depth - Drafting and editing a personal script - Attendance at a rehearsal at your chosen venue - Delivery of the ceremony on the day itself - A presentation copy of the script - Local travel costs are included, but if the ceremony is a long distance away or overseas a separate quote will be provided.





Getting married overseas

We want to get married abroad. Can we take you with us?


Yes please! I will guide you through the process for this.




We got married abroad and want another ceremony for friends and family here. Can you do this?


Yes, I’d be happy to create such an occasion for you – in fact many wedding ceremonies take place under similar circumstances. I can make the Humanist ceremony a wedding in itself or you can think of it as a celebration of your marriage – whatever suits you best.





Legalities

Will we be legally married after a Humanist wedding ceremony?


If you’re getting married in Scotland, Northern Ireland, or Jersey, the answer is yes! Humanist weddings in England, Wales, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man do not currently have legal status but this is being campaigned for at the moment. However, many couples take care of the legalities at a local register office and consider their Humanist wedding to be their real wedding ceremony.




When do couples get married legally if they are having a Humanist wedding?


This depends from couple to couple. Many will have taken care of the paperwork at the Register Office in the days before their Humanist ceremony, perhaps just taking a couple of people along as witnesses. Others do this on the same day as their Humanist wedding, making it all part of the celebration, whilst others leave the legalities until after they have had their ‘proper’ (i.e. Humanist) ceremony - the choice is yours.




I love the idea of a Humanist wedding but don’t want the hassle of getting married twice.


This is a common concern, and I look forward to the time (hopefully in the near future) when Humanist weddings are legally binding throughout the UK. That said, to legally register your marriage at a local Register Office doesn’t have to take long or be expensive and you can do this without making a big deal of it if you choose.




If we have to get married legally at a different time and place, will a Humanist ceremony actually feel like a wedding?


A lot of people are understandably concerned about this. In fact, most couples say that their Humanist ceremony felt like their ‘real’ wedding, as what mattered most to them was being surrounded by those they love as they make public commitments to each other.





Jan Halliday

Wedding Celebrant - accredited by Humanists UK

       janhalliday6@icloud.com

       07801 697 926

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