Humanist Ceremonies

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.

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

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.)

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.

Covid-19 legal update

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

The Prime Minister announced on Monday 15 June:

WEDDINGS

‘From 21 June, there will no longer be a maximum number cap for attendees set out in law. Instead, the number of attendees at weddings, civil partnerships and receptions will be determined by how many people the venue or space can safely accommodate with social distancing measures in place. This will be based on the COVID-19 risk assessment of the venue or outdoor space, and the measures put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In a COVID-secure venue, where the premises are operated or used by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body, your venue manager will need to tell you the maximum number of people who will be able to attend.

For events taking place in other venues, (such as a garden of a private home or on private land), organisers will need to make the space as safe as possible. A marquee or other structure in a private garden must have at least 50% of its walled area open at any time for it to be classed as ‘outdoors’ and for the limit based on safe capacity to apply.

If you plan on having more than 30 people in your chosen venue or outdoor space, you must do this by completing a COVID-19 risk assessment to determine how many attendees will be able to attend, and following this guidance to make the event as safe as possible. Please see here what a risk assessment is and how to complete one.

These events must not happen indoors at private dwellings, unless they are urgent marriages where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover. These can take place in private dwellings with up to 30 people. This includes enclosed structures in gardens of private homes.

FUNERALS

The number of people able to attend a funeral will be determined by the number that can be safely accommodated in the venue with social distancing in place.’

Wakes and post-funeral gatherings must adhere to the same guidelines as Weddings.  This also include Ash Interments and Scatterings, and Celebrations of Life and Memorials.

NAMING CEREMONIES  and VOW RENEWAL CEREMONIES are permitted only with up to 30 people present. These can take place outdoors or at any indoor Covid secure venue that is permitted to open. The total of 30 people includes the children and infants, but not the celebrant or any other people working at the event.

A further announcement is anticipated during the week of  12 July, regarding changes from 19 July.

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