Rites of passage


As humanist weddings aren’t legally recognised (though the British Humanist Association is campaigning for a change in the law), you have total freedom to have them however and wherever you like. You’ll need to go to a register office to make your marriage legal but most couples treat this as a formality, with just a couple of witnesses. There’s no legal obligation to exchange rings during a civil ceremony.

An accredited celebrant isn’t necessary for your humanist wedding. DIY ceremonies can be wonderful, personal occasions, with family and friends contributing to make it a day like no other. A friend or relative can act as your celebrant, or you can do it between you. Unless you use a microphone (which can be intrusive and distracting), everyone involved needs to be heard clearly.

Humanists UK have published a book of guidance for humanist weddings called ‘Sharing the Future’. It was written by Jayne Wynne Willson as a resource for couples who want to organise their own weddings, as well as for trainee celebrants, and includes suggested formats and readings. However, we advise that it’s only used to give you ideas, not as a strict template for your ceremony.