Weddings & Partnerships

If you are not religious and wish to be legally married in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you are currently obliged to have a marriage or a civil partnership ceremony in a register office or an approved venue.

But like many couples, you might want a ceremony which means something more. You’ll probably not want to feel rushed. You might want to express your vows to each other in your own words. You might want to be formal, or thoroughly informal. You might want the special part of the ceremony to be shared by more friends and family than a register office can accommodate. You’d probably prefer not to be limited to a licensed venue, but to hold your ceremony in a place which is special to you – on a boat, in a garden, on a beach, in your favourite restaurant, in your own home. You might want people close to you to have particular roles. You’ll probably want to choose readings and music which mean something to you, as a couple. Having a Humanist ceremony, celebrating your commitment to each other exactly where, when, with whom and how you want it to be enables you to do all these.

In England and Wales, most couples who choose to have a Humanist wedding or partnership ceremony complete the legal formalities and obtain a civil marriage certificate at a Register Office first. But they regard their Humanist wedding or partnership ceremony as the one which truly marks their life-long commitment to each other. This is the ceremony which is special to them and their guests, at which they make their vows and during which they choose to exchange rings.


Celebrants in the BHA’s Humanist Ceremonies™ network are friendly, trained and experienced. They meet with the couple before the ceremony, to consult, answer questions, discuss ideas and to prepare a script especially tailored for the couple. They can advise on ways of handling small details that help to make such occasions a big success.

They can help prepare words to be spoken, link other people’s contributions and suggest readings and music. They will then plan and rehearse every aspect of the ceremony with the couple so they feel relaxed, confident and ready to really enjoy their special day.

Sharing the FutureSharing the Future: This BHA publication, includes a range of sample ceremonies, practical tips, ideas and selections of poetry and prose which many non-religious couples have found useful.Related links


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Remembrance Sunday Campaign

The Chichester Observer made a video and wrote an article covering the laying of a Humanist wreath after the main religious ceremony. A transcript of the speech can be downloaded here.

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