Humanist Ceremonies

Covid-19 legal update, 27 February 2021

Ceremonies provided by Humanists UK are still permitted across the UK.

In Northern Ireland a maximum of 25 people may attend funerals or weddings, and 15 may attend namings, although individual venues may set a lower number depending on their capacity.

In Wales, at alert level four, the number of people who may attend funerals will be set by the venue, however for weddings the maximum in a venue allowed is 15. From 1 March, all approved wedding venues in Wales will be able to reopen.

England

In England, the Prime Minister announced on Monday 22 February 2021 the roadmap to ease out of full lockdown. More details below.

The following is an indication of intended steps and suggested dates, but the decision to move to the next step will be ‘driven by data, not dates’ and so is liable to change.

Changes on 8 March, step 1

‘Rules around funerals will not change; these can proceed with 30 attendees and wakes with 6 attendees, though not in private homes. Weddings will still be able to proceed with 6 attendees only but will no longer be limited to exceptional circumstances [e.g. deathbed weddings]’. No changes for naming ceremonies, i.e. they may not take place except online.

From 12 April, if all is going well, step 2

‘Funerals can continue to proceed with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).’

From 17 May, if all is going well, step 3

‘Weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes can proceed with up to 30 attendees. A broader range of stand-alone life events will also be permitted at this step, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.’Humanist namings will be allowed in-person from here (as opposed to just online).

From 21 June, if all is going well, step 4

‘Remove all limits on weddings and other life events, subject to the outcome of the scientific Events Research Programme.’

For more information, please visit the Government Covid 19 Response website.

Imagine a ceremony that marks a major life event in a way that is personal, sincere, and honest…

  • Perhaps welcoming a much-loved baby to the world with a bespoke naming ceremony.
  • Or celebrating a couple’s marriage in a way that is warm and genuine, that’s about the two of them and their relationship, and is full laughter and perhaps a few tears too.
  • Or a funeral  or memorial ceremony that focuses on the person who had died and the life they led – not on the idea of an afterlife – and provides a dignified and sincere way of saying goodbye.

Humanist Ceremonies™ is the growing network of over 500 celebrants qualified and accredited by Humanists UK. We work across England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands. (In Scotland celebrants are trained by the Humanist Society Scotland.)

Our celebrants create, write and conduct a range of ceremonies to mark the big moments in life, mostly (but not exclusively) baby naming ceremonies, weddings and funerals.

What we do isn’t new: we’re proud of our history and know that Humanists UK members were conducting humanist funerals as long ago as the 1890s. Humanist ceremonies are not unusual either – we take many thousands each year but perhaps this isn’t surprising since half of Britain’s population say they are not religious, and indeed only a third of marriages in England are held in a church, for example.

Providing high-quality, personal, non-religious ceremonies is something we take very seriously. Our celebrants are thoroughly trained and quality-assured. They are passionate about their work and providing people with an appropriate way to mark the most important moments in their lives.

From here you can find out what a humanist ceremony is, or read more about our three main types of ceremony: namingsweddings and funerals. You can also find out more about celebrants – the people who write and conduct our ceremonies – and see who is available in your area.