Humanist wedding ceremonies are becoming increasingly popular here in Ireland with couples advised to book their celebrants as far in advance as they possibly can. This type of wedding ceremony provides a very intimate and personalised approach to celebrating a couples love for one another in the company of their close friends and family.
The humanist ceremony is legally binding. Couples still have to register their marriage with the HSE Registrar’s Office up to 3 months before the wedding. In fact, the registrar’s office is so busy that they advise to contact them as far back as 9 months in advance of your wedding date. Humanist ceremonies can be conducted at any time of day and any day of the week provided the celebrant is available.
Humanist ceremonies are a lovely way to celebrate the marriage of a couple who might not have the same belief systems – everyone feels included. They are secular and non-religious occasions. Once the celebrant has been chosen, the couple will work closely with them to create their ceremony with the words, songs and readings that mean most to them. The duration of the ceremony is really up to the couple and the number of readings and songs that they choose to have.
A Typical Humanist Ceremony:
In most circumstances, the bride will walk down the aisle to her husband to be. The celebrant will then speak a few words and welcome the bride and groom along with their friends and family. After this, there will be a mixture of readings and songs along with words from the celebrant where appropriate. Vows are then made and rings are exchanged before the celebrant says their closing words and guests are invited to applause for the newly married couple.
Depending on the couple, there might be a lighting of the candles or some form of a symbolic gesture to mark the occasion. Again it really is up to the couple. All that is asked is that the ceremony is secular and dignified. Quite a well known and beautiful tradition performed at humanist ceremonies is Handfasting. Handfasting is an old pagan custom. Originally, handfasting was used to confirm a couple’s engagement, where two people would declare their binding union for one year and a day. Today handfasting is undertaken at the wedding ceremony. It can take place before, after or during the couple’s exchange of vows. Their hands are clasped together with a cord which is then wrapped to form an infinity symbol. The knot that is tied symbolises two becoming one and them been bound together.
– Make enquiries about celebrants in your area and contact them as soon as possible to arrange an appointment.
– Meet your chosen celebrant and don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you have to gain clarity and to be sure that this is what you and your partner want.
– Talk to your partner about the kind of humanist ceremony that you both want. Do you want to involve some traditional gestures such as the lighting of the candles or do you want the ceremony to be quite informal? From there your celebrant will be able to guide you.
– Register for your intent to marry.
-Invest in an order of service booklet for your wedding guests. For guests who have never been to a humanist ceremony before, it’ll give them an idea of what to expect. It is also a lovely souvenir for wedding guests to take away with them.
The images above were taken from one of our favourite styles shoot.