FREQUENTLY ASKED

QUESTIONS

WTF IS THIS HUMANISM THING?
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DO WE NEED TO BE HUMANISTS, FOR A HUMANIST CEREMONY?
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WHERE CAN WE HOLD A HUMANIST CEREMONY?
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SOME OF OUR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE QUITE RELIGIOUS.  WILL A HUMANIST CEREMONY OFFEND THEM?
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CAN WE STILL INCLUDE TRADITIONAL ELEMENTS?
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CAN WE INCLUDE RELIGIOUS/ CULTURAL ELEMENTS?
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WE WANT SOMETHING SUPER CREATIVE AND PERSONALISED.  CAN YOU HELP?
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DO YOU DO SAME-SEX WEDDINGS?
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CAN WE HAVE GODPARENTS?
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DO WE HAVE TO WRITE OUR OWN VOWS?
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HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?
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WHAT ARE YOUR FEES?
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WHAT ABOUT THE LEGAL STUFF?
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WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU’RE SICK/ GET HIT BY A BUS?
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WHAT IF COVID MESSES UP OUR PLANS?
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HOW FAR DO YOU TRAVEL?
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WE WANT TO HAVE A THEMED WEDDING.  DO YOU DO FANCY DRESS?
WTF IS THIS HUMANISM THING?

Humanism is a non-religious approach to life, looking to science and reason to understand the universe.

Our focus is on living the one life we have in the best way possible, and treating those around us with warmth, respect and compassion, whatever their beliefs and backgrounds.

To find out more, visit www.humanists.uk

 

DO WE NEED TO BE HUMANISTS, FOR A HUMANIST CEREMONY?

People choose humanist ceremonies for all kinds of different reasons.  Some already define themselves as humanists; others for more pragmatic reasons such as wanting to get married outdoors or in a particular venue you love (did I mention you can do it ANYWHERE?)

Reason, tolerance, equality, respect, compassion - these are universal human values we share.

All are welcome! 

 

WHERE CAN WE HOLD A HUMANIST CEREMONY?

The short answer is:  Pretty much ANYWHERE you like!

You DON'T need to choose an officially licensed wedding venue, as long as you do the 'paperwork bit' (costing as little as £46) separately at a registry office.

This means you are completely FREE of boring constraints when choosing your venue

Wanna do it outdoors? Maybe a beautiful woodland, your local park, a farm, campsite, mountaintop or beach? Go for it!

An intimate ceremony in your own garden at home? Yep!

Your favourite sports club, restaurant or pub, the dancefloor where you met, a boat, a double decker bus, a theatre? Go wherever your imagination takes you!

As well as the freedom to find something perfect for you, you'll often save loads of money too!

 

SOME OF OUR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE QUITE RELIGIOUS.  WILL A HUMANIST CEREMONY OFFEND THEM?

Humanist ceremonies are non-religious but NOT anti-religious.  All are welcome, of all faiths and none.

Everyone's family background is different, and during the ceremony planning process we'll discuss the best ways of making everyone feel acknowledged and included.  This is always handled with sensitivity.

Many people find a humanist ceremony a perfect way to 'bridge the gap' in a multi-faith family/community.

 

CAN WE STILL INCLUDE TRADITIONAL ELEMENTS?

Absolutely! There are many timeless traditions that add a feeling of gravitas and 'specialness' for many. For instance, the exchange of wedding rings, traditional vows, readings, appointing guideparents for a naming ceremony, etc. It's YOUR ceremony - it can be as traditional or modern as you like (or usually a beautiful mash-up of both)

 

CAN WE INCLUDE RELIGIOUS/ CULTURAL ELEMENTS?

Being a humanist, I don't usually include any deeply religious stuff (e.g. I would decline to read out any prayers or Bible passages, although your family members are welcome to).

But happy to discuss if you have cultural elements that are meaningful to your family. For example, I have incorporated a glass smashing into a recent 'Jewmanist' wedding, drinking from a quaich for a Scottish couple, or the sharing of symbolic foods is often a popular moment in many cultures.

When it comes to symbolic rituals, we can also create our own! You can take inspiration from, e.g:

  • Any family traditions you’d like to continue,

  • Relevant ideas from your cultural heritage,

  • Your surroundings, e.g. natural materials, objects or crafts from the local area (woods, beach pebbles, local industry, food & drink etc)

  • Significant heirlooms/objects that have been passed down in your family

All of my couples and families have access to my library of inspo, and we will work together to come up with the perfect symbolic moments for you.

 

WE WANT SOMETHING SUPER CREATIVE AND PERSONALISED.  CAN YOU HELP?

YES YES YES! This is totally my vibe. Give me a shout to discuss your ideas!

 

DO YOU DO SAME-SEX WEDDINGS?

Are you human? Are you in love? Then YES OF COURSE!

 

CAN WE HAVE GODPARENTS?

(TLDR: Yes!)

The role of ‘supporting adults’ in a child’s life is common across many cultures and faiths. The idea of nominating adults outside your immediate family who will have a positive influence on your child as they grow up, be there as an objective voice, a shoulder to cry on, a coach/mentor in a particular area of life (food, music, travel…) or just someone that you know has got their back.

The most commonly recognised term in the UK would be ‘Godparents’ – and it’s fine for you to use this traditional option if you wish, although for some non-religious people it can feel uncomfortable. Luckily there are many alternatives...

Guideparents, mentors, Wayfinders, Guardians, Navigators, Superheroes, Sparents, or my personal favourite – ‘Oddparents’. Call them whatever you like! As long as it’s meaningful to you and your family.

Guideparents are officially ‘appointed’ by the parents, and usually would affirm their role by making promises to the child during the ceremony, witnessed by family & friends.

 

DO WE HAVE TO WRITE OUR OWN VOWS?

The short answer is no, but I will totally twist your arm!

The beauty of a humanist ceremony is that it’s completely personal to you. The vows/promises are one of the most important part of the wedding ceremony, as you make firm commitments to each other in the presence of witnesses. This is always a deeply emotional moment, particularly if you keep them a surprise for the day. You can of course use traditional/ standard vows if you’d like to, or a combination of both. I will of course be on hand to support you every step of the way.

All of my lovely couples have access to my library of examples, as well as a 30min personalised vow creation workshop (via Zoom) if you want that extra little bit of support and inspo.

 

HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?
  • We always start with a free no-obligation chat on phone or Zoom for you to share your plans, ask any questions and decide if we 'click'.

  • If you decide I'm the celebrant for you, we seal the deal with a booking form and deposit, and get planning!

  • Yes, a humanist ceremony does take a little more prep and headspace than a typical 'insert names here' ceremony. There will be homework... but I promise you it is SO worth it!

  • The planning process involves a personalised questionnaire I ask you to complete in advance, and for wedding couples my 'Date Night' card game.

  • Then we meet for a discovery session in which we start shaping this into your uniquely fabulous ceremony.

  • I send you a draft script, and include as many edits as you want until you are happy. Your utterly perfect script will be finalised at least 2 weeks before the big day.

  • I'll turn up on the day to lead your ceremony, then all you have to do is relax and enjoy.

WHAT ARE YOUR FEES?

 

Everyone's different, so contact me to confirm a quote. I sometimes offer discounts at less busy times, particularly if you are local to the Surbiton area.

My fees are usually:

WEDDINGS: from £750

VOW RENEWALS: From £475-750

This includes:

  • Intro chat by phone/Zoom

  • Personalised questionnaire to help me bring to life your story as a couple.

  • ‘Date night’ game for you to complete together

  • A discovery meeting with you both, usually around 2hrs, at agreed venue <10 miles from KT6, Central London, or via Zoom.

  • Access to my library of readings, music, symbolic rituals and vows

  • Crafting and agreeing a bespoke script for your ceremony, based on our conversations

  • Unlimited edits

  • Full support in creating your vows

  • Finalised script delivered at least 2 weeks before ceremony

  • Leading your ceremony on the day. I only ever take one wedding per day, so I’m yours for as long as you need me.

  • First 30 miles travel

  • Keepsake copy of the ceremony script (PDF and printed)

  • A commemorative certificate if you’d like one

  • Full public liability insurance

  • A year’s free membership to Humanists UK.

It does not include:

  • Travel over 30 miles from KT6

  • Overnight accommodation if needed (depending on location)

  • Any additional face to face meetings if required

  • Any props required as part of the ceremony (to be provided by the couple)

 

NAMING AND WELCOMING CEREMONIES:

Sunday-Friday £300

Saturday £475

 

TRANS RENAMING CEREMONIES FOR ADULTS:

£250 (£50 of which will be donated to Stonewall or GIRES)

 

This includes:

  • Intro chat by phone/Zoom

  • Discovery meeting, usually around 60-90 mins, at agreed venue <10 miles from KT6, or via Zoom

  • Access to my library of readings, music, symbolic rituals and vows

  • Development of your bespoke ceremony script based on our conversation

  • Unlimited edits

  • Full support in creating parental and guideparent promises if needed

  • Finalised script delivered 2 weeks before ceremony

  • Leading your ceremony on the day

  • First 10 miles of travel

  • Keepsake copy of the ceremony script (PDF and printed)

  • A commemorative certificate if you'd like one

  • Full public liability insurance

  • A year's free membership to Humanists UK.

It does not include:

  • Travel over 10 miles from KT6.

  • Overnight accommodation if needed (depending on location)

  • Any additional face to face meetings if required

  • Any props required as part of the ceremony (to be provided by the family)

WHAT ABOUT THE LEGAL STUFF?

It’s worth mentioning that humanist weddings are not yet legally recognised in England (we’re working on it!) so you’d need to do the ‘paperwork bit’ separately with a registrar. I'm happy to give guidance on this.

This is very straightforward and inexpensive to arrange - currently £46 for the simplest option. Most couples choose to do this in the days or weeks before their big day, saving all the meaningful stuff for their 'proper' wedding.

This also gives you the freedom to choose any location or venue you like for your humanist ceremony, as it doesn’t need to hold a civil marriage licence.

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU’RE SICK/ GET HIT BY A BUS?

If I am unable to perform the ceremony due to circumstances beyond my control (illness, injury, accident etc)...

  • One benefit of being part of the amazing Humanists UK network is that we're often able to find a trusted colleague to step in at short notice, so I would make every effort to do this.

  • If no alternative celebrant can be found, I would provide the script and notes for your friend or family member to read on my behalf, and refund 50% of the fee.

  • All of our scripts and planning notes are stored online in Google docs, with you having access to everything throughout.

  • NB - This situation is extremely rare!

 

WHAT IF COVID MESSES UP OUR PLANS?

It's still an uncertain time for everyone, so I'm offering a free change of date (to any other date I have available) if one of you has COVID, we go into lockdown, or new restrictions on ceremonies are introduced that affect your plans.

 

HOW FAR DO YOU TRAVEL?

I'm based in London/Surrey and mainly work in South East England, but I'm often happy to go further, especially if we can tie it in with a family camping trip in the area. Have teepee, will travel!

Also happy to discuss destination weddings if travel and basic accommodation are covered.

 

WE WANT TO HAVE A THEMED WEDDING.  DO YOU DO FANCY DRESS?

BRING. IT. ON!