We are seeing more and more Humanist ceremonies here at Maunsel House but not everyone understands what that means exactly.
Our lovely couple Pip & Andy chose a Humanist ceremony, let us share their beautiful images captured by Joanna Brown Photography while we take you through what exactly Humanism is and what to expect from a ceremony.
Humanism is a philosophical and ethical stance of rationalism over dogma or superstition, it is not a religion; it is something that represents the views of millions of people around the world. Humanism is a positive attitude to the world, centred on human experience, thought, and hopes.
There are lots of definitions out there about what being a Humanist means, but one of the best descriptions I have heard has to be:
“Humanism is an approach to life based on reason and our common humanity, recognising that moral values are properly founded on human nature and experience alone”
Now, you don’t need to be a Humanist to have a Humanist ceremony, with a lot of couples they choose this route because they can relate to the values of Humanism.
A Humanist wedding is perfect for couples who would like a meaningful ceremony that isn’t religious, to have the freedom all couples desire when choosing a location as no there are no licencing restrictions.
The freedom & flexibility you have when planning a Humanist ceremony is extremely refreshing. You can create a truly personal ceremony with their story told, how they met, their hopes for the future and their shared values. Of course there are the options of readings, poems & songs, all to celebrate the union with absolutely no restrictions or certain requirements that other ceremonies outline as part of the union process.
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If you are undecided on whether or not you want a church ceremony, or perhaps a civil ceremony; then perhaps a Humanist ceremony is the perfect one for you. It is however important to note that Humanist ceremonies are not legally binding, it is more of an opportunity for you to celebrate your marriage with the ones you love based on your shared values in a completely personal ceremony.
After reading a lot about the different types of ceremonies it is clear why more couples are choosing to hold a Humanist ceremony, and it’s all down to the freedom in which you can plan your day and where you can celebrate with your nearest and dearest. Holding a Humanist ceremony may be in conjunction with a legally binding ceremony or those wishing to renew their vows for whatever the reason!
- Married abroad
- Celebrating an anniversary mile stone
- The inclusion of children into the vows
- Wanting to celebrate in a certain location
- Finally getting the opportunity to celebrate
Now, regardless of faith or lack thereof, there tends to be one aspect that all weddings ceremonies offer – reflection and preparation. This is no different with a Humanist ceremony as the whole is to focus the reflection of the couple’s journey together and their preparation for their life together.
An example of a Humanist ceremony is:
- Arrival of the couple (individually or together)
- Introductions and welcomes
- Words about love and commitment from a non-religious perspective
- Reading or poem
- The couple’s story – how they met, their shared values, hopes for the future
- What marriage means to the couple
- Reading, poem or song
- The couple’s promises / vows
- Meaningful symbolic act (e.g. hand fasting)
- Exchange of rings
- Pronouncement as married
- Words of well-wishing
- Closing and departure
There are a number of meaningful symbolic acts that you can choose to do at a Humanist wedding, hand fasting being one where someone (a family member, child, friend or the celebrant) ties a ribbon around the couple hands to signify their marriage.
When choosing the person who officiates the ceremony, it can be a Humanist Celebrant or it can quite simply be someone close to you both. I think that the idea of someone you love and care for being the one officiating your ceremony is something that would be cherished forever. Completely changing the feel of the whole ceremony (perhaps calming those wedding nerves!)
If you are someone who likes to plan ahead and organise things down to a ‘T’ then a Humanist ceremony is going to be something that appeals to you. This type of ceremony allows you the ability to plan it from start to finish, hence why they tend to take a bit longer to plan. You’re able to imbue it with your own personalities. The thing to remember about Humanist ceremonies is that there are no rules about what you can, can’t, should or shouldn’t do!