Wedding Planning Tips for Newly Engaged Couples

Did you know that more couples get engaged between  Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day than any other time?  That means, at the start of the year, popular licensed wedding venues quickly get booked up. To enjoy the ultimate freedom and flexibility when planning your wedding, think about having a humanist ceremony.

© Igor Demba

Competition For Dates

This year, it might be difficult  to find the venue of your choice on the date you want. Newly engaged couples will be competing with those who postponed their weddings because of Covid-19. But with the flexibility a humanist wedding brings, you can have your wedding, your way.


A Weekday Wedding

If you have your heart set on a particular venue, but find it’s booked up every weekend of the year, consider having a weekday wedding. By being more flexible about the day of the week, you’re much more likely to find a venue that will be available. Some venues are more affordable on a weekday than on a Saturday, which is good news if you’re planning a wedding on a budget.

Humanist Ceremonies celebrants are members of the oldest celebrant network in the world. They have been conducting inclusive, love-filled weddings since 1896. With more than 300 wedding celebrants nationwide, there should be a celebrant available for your chosen date.

© Sally Elvin Photography

Any time, Any place, Anywhere

You can avoid the hassle of booking a venue altogether by having a humanist wedding. The flexibility of a humanist ceremony means that you can get married on a specific date, because you’re not reliant on the availability of a venue.

The location of your wedding doesn’t need to be a licensed wedding venue, or a ‘venue’ in the traditional sense at all. Getting married outdoors in a humanist ceremony gives you so many more possibilities. Think ‘beautiful beach’, ‘gorgeous garden’, or ‘wonderful woodland’ wedding. Then all you have to do is choose a date and book your celebrant.

© Alexander Crane Photography
© Roo Stain Photography

You can get hitched at home or in Mum and Dad’s garden for the ultimate in an affordable, hassle-free wedding.

© The Humble Photography Company

What’s the Difference Between a Civil and a Humanist Wedding Ceremony?

Both civil and humanist wedding ceremonies are non-religious. But there the similarities end.

Civil ceremonies are conducted by registrars who are employed by the local council. Registrars follow a set script covering the basic wedding vows. Civil ceremonies take place either in a register office or licensed venue such as a hotel. You might not get to meet the registrar before your wedding day.

Will and Katie’s register office wedding. © Stewart Girven

Humanist weddings couldn’t be more different! For a start, they can be held anywhere and are not bound by convention. Every aspect of your ceremony can be personalised. You choose everything including the vows, readings, music, the theme – and the length of the ceremony. Your celebrant will work closely with you both during the months before the ceremony to make sure it is the wedding you desire.

Will and Katie’s humanist wedding. © Stewart Girven.

A humanist wedding is customisable. This makes them a popular choice for fusion weddings. Your ceremony can include rituals and symbolic actions from your different cultures.  For example,  drinking from a quaich (a loving cup) if you are Scottish, or a ‘cut-out heart race’ if you’re German. Your celebrant can create a ceremony that emphasises unity whilst also celebrating diversity.

© Nikki van del Molen
© Alex Miller

Marriage law varies across the UK. In Scotland, Northern Ireland, Jersey and Guernsey humanist marriages enjoy legal recognition. Couples who want to have a humanist wedding in England or Wales will also need to have a register office service for the marriage to be legally recognised. You can choose the basic ceremony option with just two witnesses present. 

Inclusion and Participation

Humanist ceremonies are welcoming and inclusive, and they can also be participative. There are lots of ways to include children, friends and relatives – singing, dancing, reciting poetry. They can help with handfasting or get involved in a sand-blending ceremony – both of which symbolise the joining together of two families.

© Debs Alexander Photography
© Sawyer and Sawyer Photography

At your humanist wedding, you can walk down the aisle together. Your dog can be your ringbearer. Or all your dogs can be guests! There really are no limits.

© Jackson & Co.
© Jen Shell
© Sira Studios

Humanist Ceremonies

The Little Book of Humanist Weddings is full of inspirational quotes and poetry perfect for a humanist wedding.


You can find out more about humanist weddings and find your ideal celebrant on the Humanists UK website.

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