• Meg Senior

How will my family feel about a humanist wedding ceremony?

This blog post is a deep dive into what is so great about a humanist wedding ceremony. In my humble opinion, even the most traditional of family members can get on board with this alternative wedding choice, once they see it in action.


Read on to put your mind at rest about whether your family will enjoy your humanist wedding. You might even get some ammunition for any tricky conversations that do crop up with your loved ones.



Will my family like our non-traditional wedding?


Everyone says “it’s your special day” and of course they are right but as you are making choices about the what and the when of your wedding day it’s only natural to think about your friends’ and family’s take on things. If you've been wondering "How will my family feel about my non-traditional wedding?" it's probably because you love them and want them to have a great time.


I could tell you to forget what anyone else thinks, and just focus on you as a couple, but I suspect you already know that. Choosing to have an alternative wedding, or even choosing elements which aren't wholly traditional, can make you question yourself.


It's partly because you're going against the grain, and don't have loads of examples of weddings that have gone before to copy and feel confident will go well. It might also be because your family expectations are based on what their own weddings were like, and you know yours is going to be very different.


Questions like: Will guests be comfortable at our venue? Will they like our music choices? And what will they make of our ceremony? are completely valid.


It’s true that if your guests are happy and enjoying your wedding day, you in turn are more able to relax and likely to enjoy the celebrations too; so how can planning a humanist wedding ceremony actually help you?



How is choosing a humanist celebrant the key to creating the best wedding day?


It’s kind of mad how lots of couples put so attention into all the intricate details of their wedding day from the colour scheme to the seating plan, from the timings to stationery and then leave it totally up to chance to who will lead the actual wedding ceremony. The wedding celebrant, religious leader or registrar will set the tone for the first (and arguably the most important) part of your wedding day. They lead you and your friends and families through the ceremony but it is only with a humanist wedding celebrant that you personally choose who that individual is, even though they play such a major role in your big day.


As a wedding celebrant I host chemistry calls with all my potential couples. We chat, giving my couples time to decide if I’m the person they want to help them tie the knot. It gives us chance to decide if we’re a good match. A wedding celebrant isn’t forced upon you because you want to have your wedding ceremony on a certain date or at a specific venue. It’s an active and personal choice.


Once you’ve chosen your wedding celebrant you’ve got another member in your wedding team. An expert in everything relating to wedding ceremonies (and usually weddings in general!) who can help and guide you every step of the way. And because you have chosen this person you’re likely to have clicked, shared a few laughs, have a vibe.


In the months before your wedding ceremony you will work together meeting face to face or via zoom to collaborate and devise your wedding script, therefore by the time the big day arrives your wedding celebrant knows you well and you know them.


It’s like having another mate to share your happy day with and often your family can’t wait to meet them too, to hear your personal story and to see what a humanist wedding ceremony is really like. Trust that you’re a great judge of character, because you like your wedding celebrant, your family will like them too.



Is a humanist wedding ceremony for me?


In short the answer to, "Is a humanist wedding ceremony for everyone?" is: no. However a humanist wedding is right for a lot of folk! If you want a non religious personalised wedding ceremony, yes a humanist wedding ceremony is perfect for you.


Some couples worry that when choosing a humanist wedding ceremony they will alienate people that are more familiar with a traditional wedding, like say your elderly relatives and especially grandparents.


In fact, because a humanist wedding ceremony can take on any form there's no need to worry. Humanist wedding ceremonies can include traditional elements which guests might be expecting to see. The freedom to pick which parts of a traditional wedding to include (and bin what you don't like!), a humanist ceremony is relevant not outdated.


It is possible to include words and promises that are utterly individual and true to you AND tick the big wedding boxes at the same time! Want to walk up the aisle, wear white, exchange vows, wear rings, throw confetti? No problem. Hate all these ideas? That's fine too.



Alternative couples love celebrant weddings because they offer freedom


Lots of people don’t know that they can have the type of ownership of their wedding ceremony that a humanist wedding offers. They know they can make any decision they like about what they wear, where they party and what everyone eats. But the actual wedding ceremony, the main event of the big day, is often overlooked and left to chance or tradition.


As a humanist wedding celebrant I work with my couples before their big day to build their unique ceremony block by block. We draw on traditions and formats that the couple love and skip any they do not.


The very best thing about a humanist wedding ceremony is that anything goes. The couple are the creators of their own personal wedding ceremony therefore it completely reflects them, as individuals and of course as a couple.


You want to have a relatively traditional wedding ceremony but don’t feel at home in a church or other religious building? Fine. In fact more than fine - that is exactly what a humanist wedding ceremony can be. You want something out there, quirky and distinct, one of kind? Also absolutely fine. Very fine and very exciting for a wedding celebrant who will be thrilled to get creative and plan the bespoke wedding ceremony you want. There is no rule book, you can’t get it wrong, you don’t have apologise for having things that are important and special to you.


One of the other unique things about a humanist wedding ceremony is that it can take place anywhere. Your venue doesn’t need to have a license. From an old theatre to a bluebell wood, a family member’s garden to a quite hillside; I’ve led humanist wedding ceremonies in a range of tiny and gigantic, indoor and outdoor, traditional and unexpected venues.


Family members often love this unique experience, visiting a new place or seeing a familiar place used for such a special celebration.


If you’re not a details person and the thought of having your own love story written fills you with dread, that’s okay too. To be fair there are lots of decisions to be made for the big day and as a wedding celebrant I can ease the load. Wedding celebrants have inspiration they can draw on and lots of suggestions if needed. The ceremony can be as straightforward or sentimental as each couple wants.



Involving your family in your humanist wedding ceremony


What’s truly special about humanist wedding ceremonies is that they are bespoke to each individual couple. The focus is on them, their love story, not the sanctity of marriage or legalities.


So families love humanist wedding ceremonies because they are all about the people they love. Like flicking through an old family photo album and unlocking happy memories while making new ones.


As a humanist wedding celebrant it is my job to find out all about my couples, how they met, what’s important to them in life and in their relationship. Then I facilitate the making of choices for what will be included in their wedding ceremony. I write a physical script that forms the basis for the ceremony. My couples can edit and tweak this as much as they like.


When it comes to the wedding day, I am not exaggerating when I tell you after every humanist wedding ceremony I’ve conducted family members and friends seek me out to tell me how much they loved the personalised wedding ceremony. They know at least one half of the couple really well and so relish the opportunity to hear personal anecdotes and to share their own.


Often old family friends, loving aunties and especially doting Nan’s become number one fans of their loved one’s humanist wedding ceremony saying “oh you got them just right, the ceremony was so perfect for them!” or “all those stories and memories, how wonderful to hear them again!”



Is a humanist wedding right for you (and your guests)?


Do you want a personal ceremony that’s individual to you?

Do you want to make vows that are personal and meaningful to you as a couple?

Do you want to include your children, your family or friends?

Have you found a wonderful venue that’s not a religious building?

Do you want to get married outdoors or in a unique place?


Whatever your reasons for choosing a humanist wedding, your family will love your ceremony because it will be unique and special. Get in touch via the contact page and we can start planning your AWESOME humanist wedding ceremony together. I can't wait to hear your Nan's opinion of the script we create together.