WEDDINGS & VOW RENEWALS
“Come live with me and be my love,
And we shall all the pleasures prove"
- Christopher Marlowe
What's it all about?
Humanist weddings are ceremonies focused on expressing the wishes, the sentiments, the essence or dare I say, the 'spirit' of the couple who are declaring their life-long commitment to each other. They are non-religious ceremonies but inclusive; they are warm and personal moments of meaning that can incorporate traditional or cultural ritual elements too - they are, simply, just very human.
Watch the Humanists UK video for a taste of what could be for you too...
Here, There and Everywhere...
Unlike civil ceremonies that must take place at registered venues, humanist weddings can be conducted anywhere; indoors, outdoors, in your garden, in a field, on a hill, somewhere that is special to you (and, if it happens to belong to someone else, with their permission of course!)
I have conducted weddings in grand stately homes and historic buildings, in parent's back gardens, in hotels, in town halls, in beautiful barns, in a pub garden, in purpose built wedding venues, in a marquee, on an airfield, next to a river, on a jetty on a lake, in a university and in a woodland. Ceremonies can be as formal or as a casual as you want them to be, as they are reflections of the personalities involved and, as such, completely unique - no two ceremonies are the same
Making it Personal...
All this is achieved by gladly investing time. I make it my mission to get to know and understand each couple, listening and working with them to create a custom-written ceremony that fits like a beautifully-tailored dress! There will be plenty of opportunities for a few 'tweaks' too.
Friends and family can be involved with readings, poetry, wedding blessings, music, and whatever else they can think of, adding another level of personalisation. Vows and promises can be written to each other and is, in my opinion, the most moving part and often the big finale of the ceremony.
Wrestling it all Together...
It can be quite overwhelming to imagine everything in the ceremony all at once. Thankfully, this is not how it works in reality, as ceremonies take time and care to develop. They grow and evolve and take a life of their own; your wishes and ideas are explored fully and I can help to make the best use of these ideas in the context of a ceremony. There really are no rules. I've had weddings with singing, dancing, live music, llamas*, children performing, friends reading their own poetry, multi-lingual translations, meaningful rituals, surprises, funny moments, poignant moments and vow-giving moments where you can hear a pin drop! There are as many ways to celebrate a wedding as there are people to marry - each one is so different - and this, for me, is the joy of being a celebrant.
The final touches to making it very special could be to keep some of the ceremony a secret from the couple, so the day itself has some surprises to bear. This could be coordinated between friends and family and myself, or maybe the couple's story (that I would give some special treatment to) and be heard by the couple for the first time during the ceremony. I tend to attract couples who are open to good-natured fun, but as I tell my couples: if you are not comfortable with this and want to read it all before, don't panic, that's also fine! I can provide some examples of my writing style upon request, just get in touch and we can start a conversation.
* Yes, really.
“We had the most perfect day and the ceremony was just right. I had most the guests coming up to me over the rest of the evening to tell me how lovely and ‘us’ it had been and how great you were. It was wonderful to have you be part of our day. I hope you enjoyed the day too!”
Laura & Will
“From the first Skype meeting to lunch at the pub and up to the wedding day, you couldn’t have made the experience more enjoyable for us both. All of our guests absolutely raved about your service and how perfect it was for us. You really did set the tone for the most amazing wedding!”
Ellie & Ben
“Our ceremony was totally perfect and exactly as we had envisioned. It was the perfect mix of engaging, funny, serious, sentimental and it set the tone perfectly for the rest of the day.”
Josie & Frans
“Barry was a great celebrant – from the initial Skype chat through to meeting and developing the script he made us feel completely at ease and was very keen to shape the ceremony around what we wanted. This was no small task since we had very little idea of what we wanted our ceremony to include!”
Helen & Arun
“The most beautiful ceremony, more than I could have hoped for. Barry really captured our personalities, lives and our expectations for the day and created something magical and perfectly judged. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Marianna & Richard