What is a humanist celebrant and is a celebrant different?
A humanist celebrant conducts non-religious ceremonies i.e. Weddings in Scotland, Naming Days, Civil Ceremonies and Vow Renewals.
The term ‘celebrant’ means someone who performs ceremonies, so anyone who conducts ceremonies, can be referred to as a Celebrant, not just humanists.
Would a couple choose a humanist celebrant for a religious or a non-religious ceremony?
The majority of couples who book a humanist celebrant, are themselves, non-religious. A humanist ceremony is non-religious but if the couple wish to incorporate a religious reading, hymn or any literature with religious content, this can be recited after the legal vows, the legal declaration and the signing of the schedule, has taken place.
Is the ceremony legally binding?
In Scotland, wedding ceremonies are legally binding if they are conducted by a humanist that is registered with the Register General of Scotland. I am a humanist celebrant with Fuze Ceremonies and I am legally registered with the Fuze Foundation; the body that is authorised with the Register General of Scotland. All legal weddings that are conducted in Scotland, are recognised in all countries.
How do I choose the right person for me, to carry out my ceremony?
The majority of humanist celebrants are more than happy to meet or Skype before you decide to book. I have a lot of enquiries from couples who know they want a non-religious ceremony but haven’t been to many weddings. I am on hand to answer any questions and explain all the different choices the couple have. Couples must feel comfortable with their celebrant, as it is one of the biggest days of their lives and build a rapport that is more like a friendship. I always check in with my couples to make sure they are on track with their plans and to reassure them.
Are you restricted as to where you can marry a couple?
As long as the place of marriage is safe and dignified, there are no restrictions as to where you can hold your wedding. As a humanist celebrant, I can conduct ceremonies in hotels, in the family home, on a Loch side, anywhere in Scotland and you are only bound by your imagination!
On average, what would the cost of a humanist be and what does that include?
Fuze Ceremonies charge £450, regardless of the day of the week, the month or the time of your ceremony. The fee includes: a consultation meeting; travel within the Celebrant’s working area; composing and conducting your ceremony. A 25% deposit is required to secure your date and the remaining fee is due 6 weeks before your celebration.
I am always available via Facebook, Instagram and email to answer any questions my couples have and to just have a chat and keep their nerves at bay.
Is the ceremony generic or is it personalised to every couple?
Every ceremony I conduct, has been written for the couple. I get to know them and their journey together. I find out about their adventures, their highs and lows, if they have a family and we also discuss all the symbolic gestures and readings they can include, if they so wish.
The bespoke aspect really is one of the best things about a humanist ceremony and the couples really appreciate the time and effort that is put in to their special day.
Who writes the vows?
The only vows every humanist ceremony must include, are the legal vows and there are 4 options for the couple to choose.
Most couples like to include personal vows, which they can write themselves or they can use any of the Fuze examples. They can also include ring exchange vows, which again can be written by the couple or they can use Fuze examples or even have a look online for ideas.
Do you carry out same sex marriages?
I have and continue to conduct same sex marriages and in Scotland, same sex marriages are recognised and legally binding…remember…love has no limits J
How many times will you meet with a couple before their wedding day?
I normally only meet my couples once face to face, unless they have organised a pre-book meeting before securing their date. I hold my meetings approximately 5 months before their big day and the meeting lasts between 1-2 hours. After the meeting, I send the ceremony script to the couple and I am always available for calls and to answer questions on the lead up to their big day. I always send wee reminders for things like their legal paperwork, bringing the schedule on the day and making sure they have any symbolic gesture content for their ceremony.
How do you put a ceremony together and what might a ceremony look like?
All legal wedding ceremonies I conduct, must include a short paragraph about humanism, as I am legally registered as a humanist celebrant. The ceremony script will have all prompts i.e. music, order of entrance and the role of the wedding party. I always include a welcome and thanks at the start and then go on to any readings or symbolic gestures. The couples story and proposal plays a big part in the ceremony and some couples like to include 3 Reasons; 2 reasons why they love each other and 1 that drives them a bit bonkers, but they keep this secret from each other!
All vows are written in to the ceremony in the same format that they will be spoken, so the couple know exactly what they have to say on the day. The signing of the schedule is written in to the ceremony and a closing speech, which may include a thanks or guidance for the guests to follow the newlyweds for a group photo.
Then everyone is asked to be upstanding to bid well wishes for the newly married pair!
Do you allow for the ceremony to be photographed/videoed?
I always ask my couples at our meeting, who they have booked for photos and videos and how they feel about guests taking pictures and recordings. I always mention switching phones to silent or off and refraining from taking photos or keeping these to a minimum, whatever the couples preference, before the ceremony starts.
What happens if you (the humanist) are poorly on the day, do you have people that can cover you?
Fuze have a full back up procedure, so if I was unable to conduct a ceremony due to poor health, another celebrant would be on hand. We upload our ceremony scripts to a database that can be accessed by the Fuze team in case of emergencies.
How soon do they need to book you?
Once the couple have secured a date and venue/ location, I would advise them to book their celebrant. I book up quickly and already have bookings in to the end of 2022, as I only conduct 1 daytime ceremony per day. I don’t like turning people away but this year I have had to pass a lot of bookings over so I always advise couples to book their venue, celebrant and band/dj ASAP, once they know their date.
I always advise newly engaged couples to have a look at social media for blogs, pictures and videos so they can get an idea of how I work, my rapport with couples, feedback and to give them an idea about what a humanist ceremony can include.
I am there to guide and advise my couples but all the choices they make for their wedding ceremony, are theirs. I am a confidant, a friend and of course a celebrant and I take great pride in my work, ensuring that every script is written to perfection and every ceremony is conducted to the highest standard.
Remember, your wedding day is one of the biggest days of your lives, it is YOUR day so make sure all the choices are YOURS and have fun planning it all. There will be stressful days but when it all comes together, you will look back and think wow, we did that!
Wedding ceremonies, Affirmation of Vows, Naming Days and This is Your Life.